THE CONTROVERSIAL Godley Green Garden Village development can bring a £50 million boost to the economy of Hyde, Tameside Council claims.
And a school is also part of the plan.
Battle lines are drawn over the scheme, which will see more than 2,300 houses built on what is currently part of the borough’s green belt.
Opponents believe it will choke the Hyde area and flood the town’s current infrastructure.
However, Tameside Council insists that its way of doing it is better than letting private developers do it, as that would mean more than 4,000 homes being put in.
And Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s executive member for housing, planning an employment, spelled out the benefits and took aim at the naysayers.
He said in reply to Hyde Werneth councillor Phil Chadwick: “This actual plan in Godley Green will have an overspill of up to £50 million in the Hyde area. You want to reject it, you don’t think Hyde should benefit.
“That’s the reality of the development and its impact on Hyde town centre. You’ve got to be a fool to say, ‘I don’t want that investment in Hyde.’
“For anyone saying, ‘I don’t want that, we want to stay where we are.’ What do you want, horse and carts?
“Population is growing and the Government is telling us, ‘You’ve got to build houses.’ We’re saying, ‘We also need spaces for jobs. We also need to provide schools when they’re being done. We also need to talk about transport.’”
Many of Godley Green’s opponents have targeted Tameside Council leader Cllr Brenda Warrington as the villain.
Indeed at a full council meeting on Tuesday, July 20, Stalybridge South Conservative Cllr Liam Billington made an address wearing a ‘Brenda the Bulldozer’ t-shirt!
Godley Green is part of the newly-named Places for Everyone scheme, which replaced the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework when Stockport Council pulled out.
In total across Greater Manchester’s other nine boroughs, 3.3 per cent of the green belt will be lost as new houses are being built, as well as areas for new business.
At least 1,900,000 sq m of new office floorspace and 3,330,000 sq m of industrial and warehousing floorspace is also planned.
Tameside’s Conservatives argue brownfield sites and currently unused buildings should be the focus.
But Councillor Cooney countered suggestions it is all about cramming people in, adding: “We can’t keep trying to find some plot of grass that’s four metres squared and build a housing estate on it, it isn’t going to happen.
“I will not support that we build more houses on some bit of grass here.
“The plan itself is not just about housing, never has been and never will be. It’s about transport, it’s about job creation. My grandson’s off to university in Cambridge. I want him to come back here and have a job.”
He also took aim at those who do not want Hyde to be touched by the Places for Everyone scheme.
He continued: “You don’t want it there because it’s just about housing.
“What you’re saying is, ‘I don’t want jobs either in Hyde. I don’t want a new transport system in Hyde.
“’I want to stay where we are, shut some barrier around Hyde and say, ‘Stay out of Hyde everyone, you’re not wanted. I don’t want you to vote for the future of Hyde. I want to draw a line around it and keep everyone out unless they’ve got Hyde stamped on their head or somewhere.’
“It isn’t going to happen. The world moves on.”
The new Places for Everyone plan attracted criticism from Conservative councillor Liam Billington, even because of its name.
He also described the report as ‘utterly humiliating’ for the council, saying: “Places for Everyone is a master stroke in branding from the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.
“By calling it Places for Everyone it turns it into an emotive subject and a simplifies building over our green belt.
“I’ve read the Places for Everyone document and it’s utterly humiliating for Tameside. It states Tameside is predicted to lose yet more jobs in the borough.
“Tameside has the lowest job density of any borough in Greater Manchester. To say that in 20 years’ time this will continue to fall is the abject failure of the cabinet member for finance and growth along with his department to attract the skilled jobs and investment this borough needs.
“In the Places of Everyone Report it states how 71 per cent of people in Tameside travel into work – the highest in Greater Manchester.
“The answer to these problems is to build and regenerate our town centres. Stalybridge as an example has excellent rail links going through towards Leeds and Manchester.
“In 2010 we ranked 320 out of 379 boroughs for prosperity. That’s bad. So how on Earth have we slid further down to 369 – being in the bottom 10 for the entire UK?”