Former Dunlop Cotton Mill site could become new housing estate
Date published: 11 January 2019
Plans for homes on former Dunlop Cotton Mill site, Countryside Properties Design and Access Statement
The site of what was once believed to be the world’s largest cotton mill could be transformed into a new housing estate.
Dunlop Cotton Mill, in Castleton, employed thousands of textile workers during its heyday but was largely demolished by 1979, following the decline of the industry.
The operation wound down all together 14 years ago when Dunlop Textiles went into liquidation.
But the Royle Road site could now be reborn as a modern residential development.
Countryside Properties has submitted planning proposals for 218 houses and a block of 24 two-bedroom apartments to Rochdale Council planning department.
There will be a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses, with 34 available for social or affordable rent, and 38 earmarked for affordable home-ownership.
Some remaining industrial buildings on the site will have to be demolished as part of the scheme.
The housebuilder says the development will create ‘an attractive, high quality’ area to live.
A document accompanying the proposals adds: “This planning application will improve the local area, benefit local people and the wider borough.
“It represents the type of residential development which the government is encouraging and will help to improve people’s lives and economic prosperity in the borough.”
It goes on to say that the new homes would ‘largely benefit the character’ of the area ‘bringing a vacant site back into active use and reducing industrial traffic’
Close to Castleton train station, and the A627(M), the developer also says the site’s ‘highly accessible’ location is another of its advantages.
Castleton ward councillor Billy Sheerin said he was ‘delighted’ plans had been brought forward to build on a brownfield site.
He said: “With the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework consultation being reopened we are focusing on trying to develop brownfield sites to protect our green belt and, in Castleton, at the south end of the village, at Stakehill, we have plans for 900 homes.
“And we would rather see housing on brownfield sites prior to any development in the green belt.”
“The benefits are obviously better housing for people, which is rather important, we have new community coming into the village, which is great.
“The way to regenerate a village is by increasing its population.”
However, Councillor Sheerin also sounds a note of caution, warning improvements to highways and local services will be needed to cope with the influx of new residents.
“We are a bit worried about Royle Road. It’s a very heavily used road and will be the access road into the new housing estate,” he said.
“If there are 240 new homes each one with perhaps one vehicle, that’s another 200-plus vehicles into the mix on that stretch of road.”
He also stressed that new school places and health facilities would be required.
“If you think most of these households will have children, that’s another 200 children coming into the education system, that’s a major problem.
“And Castleton Health Centre has some capacity, but not enough for a massive housing development.
“All these have got to be considered, infrastructure is a massive, massive, issue.”
“One of the problems with the spatial framework is it’s all right creating jobs and housing, but you need doctors’ surgeries, secondary schools, all these sort of things and also the roads have to be able to carry extra traffic – it’s not as easy as it seems.”
Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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