GODLEY GREEN GARDEN VILLAGE: views from both sides of the debate

EMOTIONS are running high over a plan to build 2,150 homes in the Godley Green Garden Village development in Hyde.

More than 2,700 people have objected to the scheme, with Tameside Council insisting it would benefit the area.

Here, The Correspondent sought the views of influential people on each side of the argument as a neighbour consultation period expired on Thursday, January 27.

Views over the Godley Green land planned for development
A greener way of housing for our children and future generations

By Cllr Jim Fitzpatrick

I HAVE lived my whole life in Hyde – born at 1 Croft Street in a two up, two down terrace and the eighth child to the Fitzpatrick family.

Within four months of being born, the council rehoused the family to a four-bedroomed semi-detached house in Newton.

The property on Croft Street was demolished. Around the same time, similar ones all over Manchester were being demolished and new housing estates were built.

One of these was Hattersley and many families moved into the green open space, that was once farmland.

There was huge opposition to the development from the surrounding areas but planning was approved with housing built, providing much needed homes for people to raise their families.

In the 1970s, the motorway cut Hyde in half, with more terraced properties being demolished even though there was a demand for houses.

In the 1980s, I bought my first house on Vale Avenue, Godley – a two up-two down terrace. I used to walk up Barmhouse Lane to the cricket club, round by the water works and pass the fields off Mottram Road.The review of the green belt changed my walks as the land now has housing on it – Rowanswood Estate, Oaklands, Firethorn and Longlands Drive. These developments became residential homes to many.

I was blessed with three children and sold my terrace house to a young couple who were starting on the property ladder to buy a larger house on Mottram Road, Godley.

Most of the lads I knew at Greenfield Primary School, where Asda now is sited, are granddads and some even bought houses in the areas mentioned.

I have shared their joy when they told me their children had bought their first house and shared their frustration that it was not in Hyde.

I have been a councillor for more than 30 years and seen many changes in Hyde. Families have lived in Hyde, some for a lifetime, but all needing somewhere to call ‘home’.

Factories have been replaced with housing estates or retail units on what we call brownfield sites. There are just not enough brownfield sites to supply the housing needed. We need more housing as the population of Hyde grows and prospers.

I see streets of terraced properties lined with cars and wonder how are we going to get these cars to be clean, green electric cars when they are not going to be able to charge them outside their own properties?

The way we live is changing. We need better infrastructure for the future. Hyde is a town which got its charter in 1881 and went on a huge development spree, building houses, road, schools and factories.

We have rebuilt all our schools and seen almost all our industry disappear, replaced by housing and we do not have enough brownfield sites to provide the housing we require for the future.

The opportunity is NOW, to be innovative and bold to look at a housing strategy fit for the
21st century, for our future generations can be proud of the foresight we had.

Godley Green Village will feature high-quality housing with 15 per cent of it classed as affordable. That is far more than the national target.

The ambition is to be carbon neutral, using a range of innovative sustainability measures. There will be a huge amount of green infrastructure, including heat pumps and vehicle charging points.

In total, we will be building on just 2.5 per cent of the borough’s green belt and whereas only one per cent of Godley Green is currently accessible, 50 per cent would be with delivery of the development.

Godley Green will also be hugely significant in boosting growth and recovery of the local economy, particularly in Hyde Town centre and Hattersley, resulting in the creation of over 550 jobs per year across a range of sectors spanning 15 years.

If the council does not drive this project forward now, significant benefits for the borough would be lost and I am confident that if people take the time to study what we are proposing, they will agree with me.

The Godley Green scheme has been supported with a £10 million grant from Homes England.

Electricity North West is also getting behind the Godley Green project with ambitions for a zero carbon and green new community, providing investment to support projects that drive a green and renewable way forward.

‘Outstanding’ scenery cannot be destroyed

By activist Andrea Colborne

I HAVE lived in Godley, Hyde for most of my life, apart from a move to Hampshire for a few years.

We moved here for the area. The trees, the greenery, the sense of community.

My husband and I had two small children at the time we moved back (now teenagers), and we wanted them to benefit from our surroundings. Going on walks, discovering nature and the area we lived, something I did as a child.

The scenery is outstanding, the wildlife is in abundance and the fact a walk in this area benefits our mental health and wellbeing is more than enough reason to object to plans to build 2,150 houses being built on green belt land.

When the development was proposed back in 2016, I came across a Facebook page called Save Tameside Greenbelt. I joined immediately. As admin and activist, I have helped on stands, delivered leaflets, marched, and spread the word.

Do not get me wrong, we do need housing, I agree and support this, but this development is the wrong housing and it is in the wrong place.

With only a ridiculously small percentage being affordable housing, you will see acres of green belt being crowded with executive homes. I do not agree the council should have the power to make that decision on such a large part of land.

I hear stories saying, “where you live was once fields” – correct, it was, but that was why the green belt policy was put in place. What is one purpose of the green belt? The fundamental aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.

What is a green belt area? ‘Green belt’ is a general term that refers to natural, undeveloped, and/or agricultural lands that surround urban areas.

There are quite a number of brownfield sites that can be used around the whole of Tameside to build the right housing in the right places.

I feel that the council’s approach has been to take easy street. It is so much easier to build on a big piece of undeveloped land. Not taking into consideration people’s livelihoods or the fact most residents in Godley DO NOT want this to go ahead, plus that is notwithstanding the detrimental effect it will have on wildlife in the area.

With the green spaces covered in housing, how would you attract people to come to the area, there would be no selling point at all!

It is such a substantial portion of protected greenspace that they want to rip down, while on the other hand try to implement a Clean Air Zone – it does not make sense at all.

I will continue to fight to help protect this green belt so that I and others can benefit from this for generations to come.

4 Replies to “GODLEY GREEN GARDEN VILLAGE: views from both sides of the debate”

  1. If this goes ahead I hope the councillors are held to account for destruction of our children’s future to the countryside

  2. The future of Godley will be 4000 cars leaving at morning and returning at night.Mottram Road into Hyde will be gridlock.I have no easy answer but covering the grass and soil with houses the government is thinking of stopping hard drives due to flooding risk.All surrounding wildlife will be exterminated but that is tough as animals don’t have a vote or any money

  3. Councillor Fitzpatrick’s comments on his past are totally irrelevant. Are they supposed to present some sort of emotional argument by way of local social history?

    We deal in the present and future and the reality is this development would be a disaster for the local area.
    There are enough Briwnfield sites to supply the land needed for housing it just would be more expensive, take longer and would not be as attractive to developed as the more attractive and sales able Greenfield sites. They would also not produce as much high band Council Tax revenue but would produce more affordable housing in areas we need them – with infrastructure already in place. Isn’t this what we need?

  4. The council are basically a mafia organisation.
    Failure to pay them will result in some heavy knocking at your door making demands.

    They are a company and a shoddy one at that . Their taxes amount to theft . Their courtrooms are illegal . Judges and courts are hired and rigged by the council for citizens to fail.

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