‘Improved’ homes plan given go-ahead, but flood fears remain
Date published: 29 November 2019
Site (bordered in red) off New Road in Littleborough, taken from Russell Homes MPSL design and access statement via Rochdale Council website
‘Improved’ plans for a controversial new housing estate in Littleborough have been given the go-ahead – but residents still fear it could put them at greater risk of flooding.
Russell Homes already has planning permission to build 110 new homes off New Street – but has now been granted approval for a scaled down scheme on the same site.
Residents of surrounding streets have long fought against development of the 16-acre site – citing concerns over flooding, traffic and privacy – as well as damage to local flora and fauna.
Russell Homes director Daniel Kershaw told a meeting of Rochdale council’s planning committee that the new 96-home development presented an opportunity for a better scheme.
He said: “We have submitted this planning application because we want to improve on the current scheme we are developing.
“There is an opportunity to improve on the scheme and enhance this development. We are not benefiting in the short-term from this development in terms of the changes proposed.”
He continued: “There’s no gain, there’s more cost, from the scheme proposed this evening, but we hope the improvement will be recognised by future homeowners and it’s this consideration that has informed this application.”
The new scheme involves a ‘cut and fill operation’ that would raise the ground level of a one-acre hollow at the centre of the site, in order to make it less prone to flooding.
Water would drain to a drainage area and attenuation ponds to the south of the site ‘to ensure that flood risk is not increased downstream’.
Mr Kershaw told councillors this would result in 10, rather than 20, homes facing on to a flood area – and these would be ‘clearly separated by embankments and infrastructure’.
He added: “The design of the scheme is better – better in flooding terms and better in design terms, and this is the opportunity to take advantage of a better scheme.”
Local resident Richard Marson told the committee flooding was his ‘major concern’, while other residents had already been affected by traffic, noise and vibration from work at the site.
The removal of trees was also said to have created a ‘significant privacy issue’ – although Mr Kershaw said a replanting scheme would ultimately result in more trees at the site.
Ward councillor Ashley Dearnley said problems he had long warned of had ‘come true’ – but conceded it was an improved scheme and the developer had been responsive to resident’s concerns.
“Whilst I can never say I support development on this site – I fought tooth and nail against any development on the site – we are where we are and have to make the best of the situation,” he said.
“But if this is a better plan – which the (campaign) group I was involved with seems to think it is – and as long as it gets carried out effectively and those concerns are met of people that live there – then it’s for you (the committee) to determine the application.”
The proposed development is made up of a mix of 53 four-bedroom, 35 three-bedroom and eight two-bedroom houses – including 15 affordable homes.
There will also be a play area in the centre of the site.
The meeting of Rochdale council’s planning and licensing committee was held at Number One Riverside on Wednesday 28 November.
Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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