Housing estate in conservation area approved

A NEW housing estate will be built in a Stalybridge conservation area despite concerns it would overshadow the ‘sanctity’ of events at the neighbouring Grade-II listed church.

Tameside Council’s planning committee gave the green light to a new development on land next to St James Church off Huddersfield Road, Millbrook.It was previously the site of the Heritage House nursing home, which was damaged by fire and has now been completely demolished, with just hard standing left behind.

The new scheme would see two, three and four-bedroom homes built on the site, including terrace blocks, semi-detached and detached units.

Committee members were told that the proposed development had reduced by one dwelling after consultation with the applicant Toto Worldwide Properties Ltd to retain a protected tree on the site.

The plans were recommended for approval by the planning department, but four letters of objection had been received from residents.

Addressing the planning meeting, objector Kevin Etchells said: “The proposal constitutes an over-development which is unsympathetic to our protected local historical and green space assets and would have a detrimental impact on the local infrastructure and character of Millbrook.

“The quantity of the units would overshadow the church and the majesty of the church building.

“The overwhelming volume of the units would impact on the sanctity of any event such as weddings and funerals by impacting on privacy.”

He also raised concerns over the new aspect and the dangers of the junction with Huddersfield Road.

Stalybridge South’s Cllr Doreen Dickinson agreed – out of lockdown and with the nearby primary school open – Huddersfield Road was ‘gridlocked’.

“We can’t keep throwing houses out on to Huddersfield Road,” she said.

“I can’t agree that we’re doing enough in that area to make it safe.”However, planning officer Steven Kirkham said the roadworks proposed as part of the application would ‘more than mitigate’ the impact of the development, and highways officers were happy that Huddersfield Road ‘could accommodate a development of this scale’.

“The unoccupied nature of the site is attracting incidences of fly-tipping,” he added.

“The applicant has committed to widening, road surfacing, and creating pedestrian footways. This would serve both the development and users of the church’s car park.

“It is considered that the design responds positively to the conservation area and also the setting of St James’s church which would remain the dominant visual feature within the locality.

“The housing will provide welcome family housing.”

He explained that the developer has agreed to provide three units on an ‘affordable’ basis within the estate and pay a commuted sum of more than £66,000 towards infrastructure requirements.

These would be split between green space contributions of £13,217 to be allocated towards improvements within Stalybridge Country Park including the access to the duck pond at Carrbrook.

Education is to be supported with £32,879 to be allocated to classroom improvements, and £20,568 for highways which would fund additional widening of the footway next to the site entrance, including cycle lanes and traffic safety measures in advance of the junction.

There would be a total of 45 parking spaces on the new estate.

The application was approved by a majority of the committee, with Cllrs Dickinson and Sam Gosling voting against the proposals.

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