PEOPLE living close to the site of a proposed controversial £7.5 million Mossley development can finally breathe a sigh of relief after an appeal against a council decision was dismissed.
Tameside Council’s call to refuse permission to build 21 homes on the Brookfields area, close to the town’s railway station and off Stamford Road, was not the end of the matter.
Essex-based developer Clements Court Properties appealed. However, the Planning Inspectorate has still said no and did not even consider the new access as it was not part of the refused application.
But the spectre still remains after news of a new planning application from the same firm to install a residents’ car park on land behind 20 Egerton Street, suspiciously close to the area it wanted to build on.
Despite its appearances, opponents claimed: “The developer is ruthlessly trying to access Brookfields under the pretence of this cynical application for a car park.”
Opposition to the scheme was huge, with the three Mossley Tameside councillors – Tafheen Sharif, Jack and Stephen Homer – Mossley Town Council and MP Jonathan Reynolds all against it.
And Dave Jones, who co-ordinated the residents’ opposition, was delighted but cautious.
He said: “It’s superb news but it’s no more than the justice the community of Mossley deserved.
“Not only did the Government Inspectorate cast doubt on the accuracy of information and figures submitted by the developer, it also categorically stated that Brookfields is totally inaccessible and unsuitable for development because of the severe disruption, damage, risk and danger any attempt would cause.
“But we’re not naive – this ruthless developer will continue to attack Brookfields on all fronts – but the community is ready to fight on all fronts.
“No more aggressive development in Mossley, we’ve had enough.”
Opposition has been gathering since Tameside Council tried to sell off some pieces of land to developers a few years ago.
Residents managed to stop some of those sales, including Cosgrove Gardens on Carrhill Road, but Dave added: “That opened our eyes to how the town is being overdeveloped – putting the shape, nature and the heritage of the town at risk.
“The town council is proposing a town plan in an attempt to manage this, but that will be a way off and we have to respond now and quickly because the threat is constant.
“If we don’t, the town we know and love will disappear – and become little more than a main road going through one massive housing estate.
“It’s not a crusade – I don’t object to all the houses being built in Mossley – but I do passionately and angrily object to examples of aggressive and dangerous attempts to build in places like Brookfields.
“Lots of other Mossley people feel the same – children, adults and older people.
“If we have any power, and I really believe we do, it is in working and joining together as a community to protect and nurture our town. We’ve got plenty in reserve if and when needed.”
Councillors rejected the proposal to build 21 four-and-five-bedroom homes on the grounds of highway safety and loss of residential amenities to existing householders, even though planning officers recommended it be given the go-ahead.
And inspector Paul Cooper in the appeal document backed up that theory, despite the apparent submission of a new access route for construction vehicles.
In his report, he states: “I noted during my site visit that any disruption to the free movement of Stamford Road from vehicles stopping, even temporarily, causes considerable issues.
“I am not convinced the timing of delivery vehicles can be staggered so that vehicles would not be stood on the highway whilst waiting to deliver.
“If even one vehicle was out of synchronisation with the booking system, even by something as innocuous as being held up in traffic on the way to the delivery point, the knock-on effects would be unacceptable in terms of highway safety and could cause considerable severe road network disruption.”
The inspector’s report and decision has been met with delight by Mossley’s three Tameside councillors.
A statement issued on behalf of Cllrs Sharif, Stephen and Jack Homer to The Correspondent said: “The Inspectorate’s decision to dismiss the appeal has been a fantastic outcome for all of us in Mossley.
“As a community, for years, we have fiercely opposed the applications to build on Brookfields, land which is inappropriate and applications which are unreasonable.
“This outcome is brilliant particularly in dealing with further applications on the site, which we can expect.
“The Inspectorate agreed with us and the decision of Tameside’s Planning committee (Speakers Panel) on grounds of highway safety and amenity issues for local residents.
“A big well done to each person that contributed by way of organising, objecting and commenting. Together we can beat these unreasonable and aggressive applications.”