MOSSLEY residents are vowing to keep on fighting, though they fear it is a losing battle against the controversial Brooklands development.
The proposal to build 21 four and five-bedroom family homes on the green lung in the heart of the town is to be determined by Tameside Council’s speakers’ panel (planning) meeting on Wednesday, November 18.
But planning documents reveal the local authority has already agreed to lease land it owns on Stamford Road to developer Clements Court Properties Limited to access the site for the duration of building work.
And planning officers are recommending approval to the panel subject to certain conditions including the developer provides £25,000 to fund improvements at Milton St John’s School.
Tameside Council has received 256 letters of objection to the proposed development, which is also opposed by Mossley’s three councillors, who are demanding an investigation into the case, and MP Jonathan Reynolds.
Stamford Road resident Helen Jamison said: “The latest development regarding the proposed Brookfields development is causing a great deal of upset and anger in the town and is nothing short of scandalous.
“After the meeting we had with other local residents and councillors at the end of October, we uncovered an extremely concerning piece of information that suggests serious bias in the planning process, namely that Tameside Council own the piece of land on the site next to Stamford Road, where the developers are now proposing to put in construction access.“Not only this, but it appears that the council reached an agreement with the developer, prior to any planning decision being made, that the developer could lease this land from them to facilitate access.
“The council has in effect, by offering its land for use by the developer, admitted that sustainable development is not possible within the developer’s current envelope.
“It has already been acknowledged that construction access via Spring, Vernon and Archer Streets is not acceptable. The alternative should therefore be to accept that this land is just not suitable for development, rather than the council colluding with developers in simply moving the access problem and its impact on residents elsewhere.
“However, planning officers have now recommended the application be approved. This is despite it having received more than 250 formal objections.”
“This feels like a done deal that appears to have subverted the normal legal planning process and it will have such a detrimental effect on so many local people.”
Dave Jones, who has been co-ordinating the opposition campaign, posted a message to residents on Protect Our Mossley Facebook page: “We must turn our anger into action
“It is the view of this page and of many, many people in Mossley, that the conduct of TMBC in relation to the Brookfields application is fundamentally wrong and in serious breach of practice.
“We are demanding the immediate rejection and withdrawal of the application, and a judicial review of this matter. We await on a response from senior officers at Tameside Council”.
He has written an objection which is displayed on Protect Our Mossley and he is urging residents to copy and paste and send to Tameside Council’s planning department, council officers, councillors and Mr Reynolds.
Mr Reynolds said: “I very strongly believe this planning application should not be granted. It is too small a space for the houses proposed with no decent access possible. I believe it would create significant problems for Milton St John’s school and for existing residents.
“I also do not like the amended proposal to provide building access from Stamford Road – this for me is not a sensible proposal given how busy the road is”.
Councillor Tafheen Sharif added: “Our inbox is full with residents’ complaints.
“We have asked to meet with the executive members (Cllrs Oliver Ryan and Warren Bray) seeking an investigation.
“As the lead councillor speaker, I am gearing all my efforts and arguments to win this application at speakers’ panel on Wednesday, and to have it rejected.”
A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “The planning officer’s recommendation for approval is based on adopted planning policies and guidance and the planning assessment of the proposed development is comprehensively explained in the report which forms part of the published agenda papers for the speakers’ panel (planning) meeting on Wednesday, November 18.
“The planning application report will be considered and debated by the panel members at the meeting prior to arriving at their decision on the proposals.
“The developer has been in consultation with the Council Estates department separately and those conversations, between the developer and the Council as landowner, are separate to the consideration of the planning merits of the proposals as part of the planning process.
“If planning permission is granted, agreement for any access arrangement involving Council land would therefore require further approval from the Council as the landowner, via a separate process from the planning application.”