Controversial plans to build homes on beloved green space mysteriously withdrawn

Date published: 25 March 2024

Plans for an affordable housing development that caused a stink in a Middleton housing estate have been withdrawn without clear reasons.

The proposals put forward by Big Help Langley Development CIC would have seen 30 new homes built in the middle of a recreational space on the Langley estate. This caused outcry from locals who claimed it would see their last bit of green space taken away.

According to the developer in their planning papers, the land off Borrowdale Road has become a hotspot for antisocial behaviour, drinking and drug taking – but that was strongly denied by residents.

They said it was actually a nature spot used by dog walkers, children playing as well as big charity events that have raised thousands for good causes. The ‘Commoners Save the Ponderosa Langley’ group, set up via social media have furiously fought against the plans which would see eight homes and three apartment blocks for 22 flats built what they call the Ponderosa.

Campaigners previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the development could bring the anti-social behaviour the developers claim is already happening. They believe added street lighting and benches could bring in unwanted behaviour and impact on the local wildlife.

Although affordable housing (available for up to 80 per cent of market value) is in dire need across the borough, local campaigners believe this is the wrong location.

Now, a latest twist in the tale has come out of the blue with Big Help Project seemingly pulling out of the plans – but locals don’t think they are out of the woods yet. They now fear this project could be brought back under new proposals and new financial backers.


Campaigners fighting to save he Ponderosa in the Langley Estate, Middleton
Campaigners fighting to save he Ponderosa in the Langley Estate, Middleton


A spokesman for the campaign group, Bryan David Johnson, said: “Common sense appears to have prevailed. This will benefit the community by retaining what little green space we have left to enjoy and the array of urban wildlife here allowing it to continue to thrive as indeed it always has.

“With luck the council will allocate a brownfield site for this housing project, and there are enough of them in Middleton and other areas of the borough so at the end of the day everyone benefits. The fight has only just begun as the next stage is to have the local development plan that was inflicted on part of the land some years ago revoked.

“Once that is achieved we intend to get it classified as a local green space designation which will give the Ponderosa the same legal protection as greenbelt land.”

The Big Help Project have been contacted for comment.

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter


Open space off Borrowdale Road, Middleton known as Borrowdale Park
Open space off Borrowdale Road, Middleton known as Borrowdale Park
© Rochdale Council


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