Massive housing development and railway extension set to be approved

Date published: 19 June 2024

A massive new housing development that could unlock a new railway extension is set to be approved this week.

Kellen Homes’ proposal would see 191 ‘high quality’ homes built on the 27-acre site off Heywood Road in Rochdale. This new housing site, just 650m from Castleton Station, would provide a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes – all of which would get two parking spaces and an electric car charging point.

A total of 15 percent of the homes are earmarked for affordable housing (up to 80 percent of market value). 

The land once occupied by Baggs Yard Railing Sidings is one allocation of the Places for Everyone plan. PfE aims to bring thousands of new homes and jobs to Greater Manchester by 2039.

As per the agreement, if this development was approved by the planning committee on 20 June, the scheme would unlock the land to the east to facilitate the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) extension. The heritage line is currently just over 12 miles long with seven stations on the route celebrating the area’s railway history dating back to the 1840s.

In its current state, the site comprises a disused railway siding associated with Castleton North, East and South Junction and is surrounded by woodland as well as bordering Castleton Hawk Golf Club. 

Citing the history of the site, remnant sections of railway line will be retained with the space between planted with trees, shrubs, grassland and wildflowers. New footpaths and cycleways would also be created through areas of public open space, following the routes of the railway lines.

A palette of street furniture, lighting, seating, and cycle stands with a railway theme are also touted by the developers. An area of accessible open space would also be created on the land to the west of the site through wildflower meadows and tree planting to be retained as green belt land.

A total of 289 individual letters of objection have been received by Rochdale Council in relation to this application – including a petition containing 135 signatures as well as 14 letters of support. Loss of green space, increased overpopulation, traffic congestion, parking problems and devaluation of homes in the area have all been raised as concerns.

These matters will be addressed by the planning committee when they meet at Number One Riverside on Thursday to decide on the application. Planning officers have recommended the Kellen Homes’ plan for approval.

A request for a tree preservation order to protect an oak tree on Apple Tree Way is the only other matter set to be discussed by the planning committee.

Local democracy reporter: George Lythgoe

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