Land in Droylsden town centre could be sold for £1m for housing

LAND in Droylsden town centre next to the site of the former library could soon be sold for housing by the council for an estimated £1 million 

Tameside chiefs have decided to walk away from an agreement with a developer over a parcel of land known as the Lock Keepers site off Manchester Road in order to sell it off.

The council had signed a development agreement with developer Watkin Jones to deliver a major regeneration scheme in Droylsden back in 2005.

While work has progressed on the ‘major’ mixed use scheme, which saw new housing developments and the completion of the marina, the Lock Keepers site remains undeveloped.

The town hall owns the freehold for the site, and members of the executive cabinet have now voted to withdraw it from the development agreement with Watkin Jones.

Droylsden Library

The site had been planned for commercial rather than residential development, but despite extensive marketing ‘no suitable commercial use has been identified’ for the site.

Officers say that negotiations have taken place with Watkins Jones over the potential for residential development on the site, which the developer offered to pay £400k for.

However the council then commissioned an independent valuation of the scheme which indicated a ‘headline value’ of £1m for the land.

The report to cabinet states: “The site occupies land of approximately two acres in a highly accessible prominent location fronting Manchester Road in close proximity to the town centre and presents an attractive development opportunity for a high quality/density residential development scheme.”

Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Oliver Ryan said: “This just agrees that we can make it subject to surplus to our plans.

“People will be aware that we’ve got some additional investment from Greater Mancehster to go ahead with our regeneration of Droylsden library and as part of that some additional housing.”

Subsequently the council have agreed for the Lock Keepers site to be withdrawn from the development agreement, and to be declared surplus along with the library building which is shortly to be demolished.

This would allow the council to consider a ‘future sale’ of the site in accordance with its disposals policy’.

Jayne Traverse, director of growth added: “This does link in with our other plans for the library building, the move of the library into the pension fund building, and the demolition and release of that site for housing.

“Watkin Jones have offered the council a sum of money for that land but it is much less than the value confirmed by an independent valuer and therefore we’re not proposing to continue with that disposal.”

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