EMOTIONS are running high after a formal application to turn the site of a former power station and railway sidings into 162 homes and a community park was made.
Casey Group, which is behind the Tame Valley Park scheme, lodged its intention with Tameside Council after holding a consultation earlier this year.
But more than 75 people have already lodged objections, with a number of concerns being expressed.
Casey wants to convert what was Hartshead Power Station and Millbrook Sidings in the Millbrook area of Stalybridge in a £7 million project.
Projections estimate it would cost about £2.8 million to even get the site in a suitable enough condition to be built on, and it would be a further £4.3 million to construct the scheme.
Documents name Countryside Properties as the company looking to buy part of the area and develop housing.
And a series of drawings have been produced, even down to how the area is served by utilities and what style of manhole will be used.
But opponents state: “The local communities who live especially from Churchfields Estate, Millbrook, Carrbrook and Huddersfield Road residents will have no new infrastructure to support the extra stretches that would be placed in local schools, utilities, medical services and would only see a strong possibility of more congestion on our local roads and throughout the wider Tameside.
“I’d say Casey’s planning application constitutes to a green belt land grab.”
If approved, the main impact would be the creation of a community park – with a camp site mentioned – as well as the 162 properties. However concerns from people living nearby remain.
Five-and four and three-bedroomed detached and three-bedroomed semi-detached homes would be built if permission is granted.
As well as the homes on part of the sidings and coal storage facility, the rest of the former sidings would become a woodland area, what was the power station would be a community hub and an area close to Printworks Road would be an ecology area.
According to drawings, an area may be designated as a practice zone for nearby Stamford Golf Club.
After a consultation in January, the feedback – which saw a total of 238 responses – surprised those behind the scheme because it was low.
They said: “It was notable that across the course of the consultation there was considerable engagement with the website, but only a fraction of residents who visited the site responded to the consultation.
“Given the number of people who viewed the plans and small number of responders, we can say that there are a significant number of residents who do not feel strongly about the plans or that they are particularly opposed to the proposals and would therefore broadly welcome the proposals as they are.
“From the consultation feedback, we can see that from those people that provided feedback that 54.81 per cent expressed a view that they either supported or did not oppose the principle of regenerating the site of the former Hartshead Power Station and Millbrook Sidings and only 45.19 per cent of the responses received (and 6.35 per cent of people who viewed the consultation) said that they did not support the principle.
“However, it is also important to note that of the 3,035 individuals that visited the website and viewed the consultation, only 238 were motivated enough to provide feedback.
“Responses were generally supportive of the idea of improving the site for better access, the need to remove the dangerous industrial remnants and the opportunity to create community facilities.
“However, there were concerns raised on the affect the proposal would have on traffic, specifically onto Huddersfield Road, the impact of new homes on local infrastructure and concerns for wildlife during any proposed development.
“Of all the topics raised during the consultation, concerns about the green belt were extremely limited with only four respondents commenting on this. Similarly, there were a very few responses that wanted to see either the goods shed or conveyer retained.”
A contaminated land assessment prepared for Brentwood, Essex-based Countryside Properties confirmed the presence of elevated lead, arsenic and asbestos, as well as other materials.
However, it adds: “The risk to chronic human health associated with the elevated concentrations on inorganic heavy metals can be mitigated through the installation of a suitable cover system in all proposed private gardens, landscaping and Public Open Space to remove any potential for direct exposure to impacted soils.”
Hopes to include allotments or food growing areas may also be in doubt as documents add: “At this stage it cannot be ruled out that as part of the outdoor educational centre and proposed coppices fruit and vegetables will be grown, therefore the risk to the consumption of homegrown vegetables has been assessed.
“Within localised areas in which fruit and vegetables may be grown a remediation strategy would be required to ensure the site is prepared in a manner to facilitate the potential for this end use.”
Another survey on behalf of Casey said the area earmarked for the country park is, ‘deemed to be low risk in terms of human health risk assessment.’
Some 40 per cent of the homes would be grant-funded and the application includes more than £398,000 of Section 106 financial contributions towards green space, education and highways contributions in Tameside.
• You can view the plans online at https://tinyurl.com/keu2k8sm