Tameside Council accused of putting ‘gun to the head’ by planning applicant over Ashes Lane house

TAMESIDE Council was accused of ‘putting a gun to the head’ of a development’s agent over plans to build a house close to a ‘jewel in the crown’.

Paul Styler hoped to build a two-storey property on land at Ashes Lane, Stalybridge, close to the Grade II-listed The Ashes, which stands on Mottram Old Road.

Councillors sided with its own officers and objectors, including Cllr Clive Patrick, and turned down the application.

But not before agent John Flynn hit out at the way the authority had handed the application.

Ashes Lane, Stalybridge

He told a meeting of its speakers’ panel (planning) committee: “I submitted the application on December 10, 2019. On March 13, I asked for clarification.

“I was told there were five items of concern, so I withdrew the original application, re-designed it and prepared an additional statement.

“The re-submission was on May 29 and validated June 18 with a target date of August 13. I heard nothing for 11 weeks.

“At the end of August, I emailed Tameside, got no reply. At the end of September, I kept checking the website and said ‘still pending’.

“I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t reply to me to see if there was anything I needed to do. Then – and this is the only way I can put it – I had a gun put to my head on November 12.

“Recommended for refusal on an item that was not previously discussed at all.”

An attempt to develop the site was rejected in 2007.

And a report done by Tameside Council found the plans ‘would not marry successfully with the existing housing stock surrounding the site’.

It added: “This juxtaposed relationship would create a compromised environment. The development would therefore form a discordant intrusive feature which would be materially harmful to the character of the locality and detrimental to the residential amenity of surrounding occupiers.”

Planning officer Caroline Lindsay added: “The site in its current form provides value in its undeveloped and open character.

“While it’s not large, the site nevertheless provides a valuable wildlife area. It provides an open break from the urban area and adds to its character.

“Development would detract from the space’s openness that currently exists and the arrangement would be at odds with the prevailing layout in the immediate area.”

Six neighbours objected to the proposal, with reasons including access and intrusion and overshadowing of other properties – notably a three-and-a-half metre high retaining wall.

One even said: “It has become a living nightmare on this street and it is unfair to expect anyone to put up with all this again.”

And Alan Schofield added: “The drawings showed a building that was too large for the site and lacking adequate outside space.

“The Grade II-listed The Ashes, an early 18th century building, is a jewel in the crown of Stalybridge and as such needs to be carefully looked after, especially in its natural setting.

“The proposed building would have distracted from the open aspect of The Ashes.”

Cllr Patrick said: “We’re talking about a small site. For the size of the plot, there have been a surprising number of attempts to build on it.

“The plot is too small for the proposed house, it would be close to a Grade II-listed building, which would cause direct harm to the setting and heritage of that asset, and because of the area, it would have to be overcome with a three-and-a-half metre high retaining wall.

“If the building of that is not a loss of amenity to houses that would front on to it and would be overshadowed by it, I can’t think what would be.

“Although the design changed since 2007, the land has not. It would not provide sufficient public benefit to outweigh the harm caused.”

Councillors voted unanimously to accept the planning report at the speakers panel meeting.

2 Replies to “Tameside Council accused of putting ‘gun to the head’ by planning applicant over Ashes Lane house”

  1. This shows that there are inconsistences within Tameside Planning Officers and its unqualified Councillors on the Planning panel. A little time spent training does not equate to qualifications. One officer says it is one thing, the other says it is something else.
    Also Planning officers do not give justice to the voice of the residents in their observations with, amongst other reasons being, what is suitable to fit tastefully within an area.
    Yes I know that houses are necessary and there is a long waiting list for Council Houses. Answer me this though, “When did Tameside Council last build a Council house ,and if Councils are not building houses why are they expected to provide a housing stock, when invariably it is for “Not for profit” housing.? Many of these none profit directors earning six figure sums.

  2. If they can allow terrible building like the extension to Earnshaw Clough in Mossley, I don’t understand how they can suddenly become so precious about a site like this. The Mossley development is a simply a disgrace.

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