16th February 24
Report from H.M. Planning Inspectorate re building on Greenbelt etc., received by GMCA on Wednesday 14th Feb.
18th Jan 24
We scrutinise all upcoming and potential planning applications which will affect Littleborough as a whole. In addition to the Littleborough Station SPD Masterplan, we have:
Taylor Wimpey (Smithybridge) = 200.
Vistry (AKZO) = 127 (under construction)
Bloor Homes (Land above AKZO) = 300
Russell Homes (Stubley) = 64. (passed)
RBH (Brown St) = 40.
Wildhouse Lane = 47. (under construction)
Chestnut Way = 9
If we don’t take action collectively [but more importantly, individually] developers will run roughshod over Littleborough and create a concrete urban jungle.
Potential developers are in it for nothing more than big fat profits, and the Council will relish the idea of greatly increased council tax revenue. We must take their intentions seriously and ultimately and hopefully, make our voice heard.
It is the residents that matter; not the individual opinions of the planning committee councillors.
14th October 22
*****UPDATE FORMER AKZO SITE PLANNING APPLICATION 21/01146/FUL*****
The application is due to be considered by Rochdale Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee, which will be held in public, on 20 October 2022 commencing at 6.00 p.m. at Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, OL16 1XU.
There is an opportunity at the meeting for the applicant and objectors to address the Committee before a decision is reached. Please note that there is a maximum time of 5 minutes allotted for each side to put its case at the meeting. In cases where there are a number of objectors, it will be appropriate for a spokesperson to be agreed in advance to represent the common views of the interested parties.
We, [Littleborough Civic Trust] are willing to do this, pointing out flaws in the application. Albeit that it is a ‘brownfield’ site, we also draw your attention to ‘Highways Technical Note 3 Response’ within this application, where TfGM clearly state that Littleborough is already operating well over capacity. The agenda reports pack on the Council’s website dedicates 49 pages relating to this application and if you intend to attend the meeting, we suggest that you read those pages. If you would like to register to speak or attend, please email Committee.Services@Rochdale.Gov.UK no later than noon, Wednesday 19th October 2022 and specify: - your name; your interests in the application; your email address.
11th October 22
Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control our monthly meetings, which are held on the 2nd Monday of each month in the Communty Room at Littleborough Boxing Club, will now start at the new time of 7.15pm
19th August 22
Several members of the Civic Trust attended the Red Lion yesterday afternoon [Thursday] to raise a glass, along with many others, to the Landlord Mr David Cocker who sadly passed away 03/08/22.
David was an old school legend and a Littleborough institution in his own right and given the fact that we attempt to conserve the village we currently have, there is no denying that David was a huge part of that village life; contributing in his own way.
Unfortunately, that part of village life has sadly slipped from our grasp.
The Red Lion has been the venue for many a fringe meeting and it just won’t be the same without him.
R.I.P. David; you’ll never be forgotten.
11th August 22
On Thursday 11th August we met with Bloor Homes; the developers proposing to build around 300 dwellings on ‘land at Hollingworth Rd’., i.e., between the former AKZO site and Lake Bank. Ward Cllr. Peter Reed also attended as an observer.
From our monthly meeting of 8th, we took away questions from the membership, which they wanted us to ask.
However, when Bloor Homes arrived and we sat around the table (for some 90 minutes) they stated that at this stage they were only prepared to discuss design concepts with us, thus we had to channel the questions to that end.
We managed to incorporate discussions about most of the proposed developments for Littleborough; certainly, the major ones, and the overall consequences and impacts on the village. Not least traffic and other infrastructure.
They stressed the fact that it was very early days and that they would include us in several more discussions before reaching a final draft plan.
This will take a very considerable amount of time, given the fact that they have to wait for the PfE to be approved or otherwise [which is due for a final decision Spring 2023]. Then, and only then if PfE is approved, can they submit their proposals to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities due to the fact it is designated Greenbelt land.
As such it will receive far, far more rigorous scrutiny than an application not involving Greenbelt, and ultimately, that will then go to Rochdale Council with decisions and recommendations. At that point there are other processes which can be submitted by any member of the public. More on that at a later date.
The meeting though overall was a successful and productive one, resulting in them taking away our comments and they were far more enlightened with the concerns of residents than when they arrived.
In addition, they promised to keep us [LCT] involved all along the way.
With regard to the aforementioned ‘considerable amount of time’ the whole process will take, the general public should act as they think fit, without delay, given the fact that one major development could potentially influence another; despite the seemingly current 'lull' in developers progressing their active or proposed planning applications.
5th July 22
Yesterday, 4th, we met representatives (consultants) for Taylor Wimpey via a Zoom type meeting.
We had many questions for them but here is the basics of the meeting.
They stated that the scheme for ‘Land at Smithybridge has been ‘positively received’ by Rochdale Council and that they are continuing with meetings with the various departments.
Let’s remember that the land is designated, even in their own Screening Opinion document, as Greenspace Corridor. A point to note is when questioned about it, they said their surveys of the land considered it ‘of limited ecological value’.
Throughout the meeting they referred to the road, which is intended to adjoin Smithybridge Road, as a “relief road”, but when challenged on that point they admitted that it was actually their ‘access road’ to allow construction and eventually form part of the development; further stating that the rest was down to RMBC to make it a relief road.
Staying with the topic of roads/traffic they repeatedly stated and insisted that RMBC had made no adverse comments or challenged any traffic count figures put to them and that they [T.W] were sticking with previous counts. Additionally, they accepted figures/comparisons from the TRICS database, which is ‘Trip Rate Information Computer System’, run by a limited company and paid for by ‘club’ members with a vested interest.
One absurd statement by them was that “anyone walking from Halifax Rd. to the railway station would have a more pleasant walk through the development, rather than walking along the ‘urbanised’ Smithybridge Road”. A detour, for sure!
Several potentially misleading statements within the document were put to them and they admitted that certain parts/paragraphs could have been better written. We pointed out that these anomalies could sway or mislead anyone considering the planning application, which they are hoping to submit by the end of July.
When asked about any percentage of ‘affordable housing’ they categorically stated that there would not be any whatsoever., but conversely, talked about Rochdale’s housing needs.
Furthermore, when challenged as to what type of sustainable heating systems were planned, i.e., ground or air source heat pumps, or solar panels, they could not answer that question.
From the original webinar that they held on the evening of 24th May, they admitted that they are experiencing ‘technical difficulties’ and cannot yet put the recorded webinar on the website.
Their mission; “this development would contribute to Rochdale Borough Council’s target of building around 500 homes every year to meet local demand”.
Throughout, we got the impression that everything was being led by RMBC, or that was what they wanted us to believe.
We urge you to again inform your friends, family and neighbours etc., and anyone else interested, to attend our monthly meeting for further information, details of which are on our website; 7pm on 11th July.
***TAYLOR WIMPEY DETERMINED TO PRESS AHEAD***
Last Friday 17th, Taylor Wimpey submitted a request for a screening opinion for Land at Smithy Bridge.
A request has to be accompanied by outline plans and so the Council will be aware of what is proposed. The request reads;
"Request for screening opinion in respect of residential development of up to 199 residential dwellings with associated infrastructure and landscaping | Land Off Smithy Bridge Road, Littleborough". Application number: 22/00828/SO on the Council's planning portal.
A 'screening opinion' is described as:
'Before submitting a planning application, potential applicants can apply for an opinion on whether a development should be subject to environmental impact assessment. This is called a screening opinion. Requests should be made in writing and be accompanied by: a plan sufficient to identify the land'.
We [the Trust] are still awaiting further contact from them with a promise to meet and discuss.
We will remind you again that the recent webinar they held should not be accepted as 'consultation'.
Please monitor the application and spread the word.
Further updates to follow.
9th June 22
If you're reading this you will be aware of our efforts regarding the two proposed major developments. AKZO site and Taylor Wimpey proposals.
Something we probably don't need to explain, but these, if they reach fruition will have a massive and detrimental effect on Littleborough and its infrastructure.
Over the past few days we have been in contact with Vistry (AKZO) and Taylor Wimpey also and have gained more information. Far too much to put in this brief Facebook post to explain what we want to explain.
As such. we are proposing that at our next meeting of 13th June at 7pm, we intend to have a PowerPoint presentation to get the information over in a much more comprehensive way.
We have asked certain council officers to attend, along with Taylor Wimpey. None have yet confirmed but that does not detract from our aim to get the information out there.
As such, we urge you to attend and request that you inform your friends, family and neighbours who may be affected by these developments; all of who will be welcome to attend.
On the last attempt by T.W. there were 609 objections. Admirable, but pretty poor if you consider the population of Littleborough; circa 13.5k.
Click on 'meetings' tab for details of meetings.
It's looking like a busy few months ahead of us.
26th May 22
Just as we are faced with the Taylor Wimpey proposals, the AKZO planning application (ref: 21/01146/FUL) appears to be gathering momentum again, as we expected.
Two documents have appeared on the Council's Planning section of their website. The last two documents dated 20/05/22.
*HIGHWAYS TECHNICAL NOTE 1
*HIGHWAYS TECHNICAL NOTE 2
We have had our [the Trust's] comments referred to in Note 1.
However, note the arrogance of the Chief Planning Officer on page 2 of that document.
We suggest you peruse both documents though.
It is not technically possible to insert a link in this post, so as suggested go to the planning section of the Council's Planning section of their website and insert the ref number referred to above. Then Documents > view associated documents.
This is all about traffic assessments.
But, we were contacted on Monday 23rd by the developers Vistry, following concerns we raised regarding compliance with climate change matters. More on that at a later date.
25th May 22
During a webinar event held by Taylor Wimpey held Tuesday 24th May we asked them directly if they were prepared to meet us 'in person' to discuss their 'controversial' proposals for a development of around 200 dwelling on land to the west of Smithybridge Rd. They agreed that they would meet us. Watch this space; but in the meantime, keep an eye on the counci's planning portal for the application being submitted.
During their last submission of 2019, there were 609 objections, which speaks volumes. However it has to be said; 609 out of a population of circa 13.5k is pretty poor.
We encourage you to speak to your friends and family to make them aware of the potential consequences of such a development.
22nd May 22
As a Littleborough resident you may by now, no doubt be aware of the latest development proposals from Taylor Wimpey for ‘land at Smithybridge’
You may or may not have received a flyer through your letterbox. If you haven’t, or if you require further information, visit their website via Google search ‘Rochdale’.
Lots of corporate blurb about “creating jobs and opportunities”, etc., etc. In reality it is just a lot of sales pitch.
What is interesting is that it quotes they are meeting Rochdale Council’s need for new homes. It reads as though the Council are actively pressing ahead with ‘Places for Everyone (Burnham’s GMSF)
Even so, all the spiel at the end of the day is all about Taylor Wimpey’s fat cat profits, so don’t be fooled.
When Taylor Wimpey, in 2019, put a planning application in (ref:19/00881/FUL), there were 609 objections which speaks volumes, no one can read them as RMBC don't publish them on the planning portal, but the Trust has all the redacted comments and anyone can request to see them. There were 6 supporters!
The Civic Trust have been watching this development very closely and if TW submit their new planning application without addressing the numerous flaws within the original one, we will highlight the incorrect information and most certainly object accordingly and publish our comments.
WE MUST EMPHASISE TO ANY ONE READING THIS, THAT ALL THE PREVIOUS 609 OBJECTIONS WILL NOT BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.
The Trust has confirmed with the Council's Chief Planner that this will be a new application and will be consulted upon. Whether or not TW comply with the National Model Design Code on Community Engagement remains to be seen but, to date, it seems that they have not read the latest Government Guidance which must be read in conjunction with the National Planning Policy Framework.
TW previously argued that the site would not be viable if affordable housing was provided on site so perhaps the additional requirements regarding Climate Change and the new Building Regulations, which come into force on the 15th June, 2022, will make them think again. The Government's Chief Planner, Joanna Avery, recently stated, in a webinar at which the Trust and RMBC's Chief Planner participated, that developers must "engage with and reach out to Communities and build affordable housing ON SITE". A leaflet drop and a webinar are not sufficient as outlined in the Government publication.
Remember the recent election pledges from local councillors regarding green spaces etc? We suggest that you lobby all our local councillors on the issue (including the Smallbridge and Firgrove ones), who’s ward it will run into.
No wonder a certain Cllr. Blundell recently stated he wants a rail station at Albert Royds St. He was obviously one step ahead of the game with prior knowledge of the forthcoming proposals.
21st April 22
We, [the Trust] have attempted now on several occasions since January to seek an appointment with our M.P. Sir Tony Lloyd at one of his surgeries.
The process is tight; understandably, following the tragic and needless murder of Sir David Amess MP in October 2021.
However, despite numerous emails and phone calls to/from his office, we have still not succeeded in confirming an appointment, where we intended to discuss, naturally, all things Littleborough.
For instance; the Littleborough SPD. Infrastructure, Greenbelt, AKZO site contamination, Calder Valley Community Rail Partnership and all other matters that currently hang over Littleborough threatening its ‘village’ ambience.
Despite promises from his staff, who have already admitted their own incompetence, we have got no further along the process. This is not helped by local councillors aligned with his party, who refuse to directly and positively engage with us; and who seek to re-define Littleborough’s village centre.
Whilst the Trust remains strictly non-political, most of our actions and involvement in matters are as a consequence of political intentions or decisions.
We remain committed to continuing with the theme of protecting Littleborough’s heritage and history by working with other groups/agencies in an attempt to conserve the village we currently have, in a state of equilibrium amenable to all concerned.
You can also visit our website and Facebook page.
15th March 22
Re the below meeting of 3rd March, the agenda item was 'pulled' by Council Leader Neil Emmott at 11am Monday 28th February, with no explanation given. We can confirm that it was indeed not incuded at the meeting and also that Cllr. John Blundell did not attend.
As several projects (developments) are in the pipeline around Littleborough, we continue to watch the situation very carefully. As a result our membership is significantly gathering pace also, with local [concerned] residents and business owners joining the Trust.
26th Feb 22
Rochdale Council’s Cabinet are holding a meeting at 6pm Thursday 3rd March at Riverside offices, with Cllr. John Blundell updating them on the ‘so called’ consultation events that they held. It is worthy of note also that the name has been changed from ‘Littleborough Station Area Supplementary Planning Document’ to Littleborough Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document.
We encourage anyone with an interest in this matter to attend the meeting to hear the latest, as the Council have to date, failed to hold any Q & A sessions as requested/suggested.
Similarly, they have not adhered to several national principles on consultation and community engagement; far too complex to enter into on this post.
We strongly urge you to attend this meeting if you have a passion for Littleborough’s heritage.
15th Dec 21
The last few months have seen much activity in the form of, mainly actions by Rochdale Council and their aspirations to change the look and feel of our village.
Firstly, the former AKZO site was recently found to be still heavily contaminated, despite the Council accepting that it was cleared of asbestos and chemical contamination in a report of 7th January 2015.
Homes England (H.M. Govt’s Housing and Communities Agency) purchased the site at the request of Rochdale Council in 2015, at a cost of £10million+ of public money.
We have worked closely with them; and their now preferred developers Vistry, for some time, mainly providing local knowledge and information.
However, since the disclosure that the site is still heavily contaminated and our protestations to that effect, their engagement with us seems to have dwindled to almost nothing. One can only assume that they have had to ‘go back to the drawing board’. Ironically, following further investigations by us, the Birchingley Manor site of another potential 40+ dwellings has been found to contain the exact identical AKZO contamination of, Amosite and Chrysotile asbestos, along with the very alarming discovery of Dibenz-a-h-anthracene! Watch this space.
No-one disagrees that Littleborough needs affordable housing but Rochdale Boroughwide Housing seem to be having an onslaught of invading Littleborough, with the newly revived planning application for the Brown St. development of 47 dwellings (apartments) on the site of a current business which has now been blighted by the application and RBH reneging on a non-disclosure agreement, by going public with their intentions.
Added to that, they [RBH] intend to build 20 dwellings on land at Stansfield, currently an open green space and play area. When in October, we held a meeting with local residents (to which we invited RBH, who declined to attend and even suggested that we cancel the meeting) there was furious opposition to the proposal from 100% of the attendees.
To move on; speculative plans have been drawn up by a potential developer for 40+ dwellings on Greenbelt land at Durn, Blackstone Edge Rd. A Freedom of Information request revealed that a ‘pre-application meeting’ has taken place between the Council and a developer.
The development of affordable housing on the former Phoenix Ironworks site, Newall St., is owned by Oldham Council’s equivalent of RBH. We have been advised that a local person has applied for one of the dwellings and have been refused as they are “not an Oldham resident”.
We now come to the highly contentious Littleborough SPD, of which by now, you should be more than aware of.
Rochdale Council held x3 so called ‘consultation’ meetings and having seen the overwhelming opposition to scheme, have now gone away to collate the responses; the results of which are not expected until late January 2022.
Within the scheme, hardly any provision of parking facilities for shoppers visiting local businesses were considered.
Meanwhile, it is possible for the Council to continue to pass individual planning applications, for what may seem insignificant numbers of houses here and there, but not one jot of effort ever goes into improving Littleborough’s already over-capacity infrastructure. Those insignificant numbers all add up. Never mind schools, doctors and dentists, with the overloaded road infrastructure as it currently is, you would never be able to get to those schools, doctors and dentists etc.
We encourage every concerned resident and business owner to lobby the local councillors on the above matters and to also attend all relevant, publicly accessible council meetings at the Council’s Riverside offices.
Each individual objection or concern counts as exactly that; rather than one group effort which will only be counted as one. Please feel free to contact us and/or visit our website and Facebook page.
19th Nov 21
Via local social media we have very recently become aware of a proposal by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, to build 40 apartments at Brown St. in the centre of Littleborough.
If the architects CGI images are to be believed then the project is not in-keeping with other recently built properties in the area; namely, the Hare Hill Rd. development at the former mill site
Similarly, not in-keeping with the Littleborough Town Design Statement; a significant Supplementary Planning Guidance document adopted by Rochdale council which was produced by the Trust many years ago.
Additionally, does this project link up in any way with the Littleborough SPD proposals for the centre of Littleborough?
It would appear that neither Rochdale Council, nor RBH (a separate company) are not adhering to several national principles; The Gunning Principles; and importantly, the National Model Design Codes which forms part of the Government's planning practice guidance and expands on the ten characteristics of good design.
We intend to make representations at appropriate forums to ask these questions, along with attempting to gain clarification on a number of other important issues which the Trust are involved in; one example being:
We have been in touch with the relevant Council departments and ideally, they want questions submitting by email prior to next Friday's SPD consultation meeting to basically attempt to better answer anyone's queries and save the chaotic scenarios of the last two at Hare Hill House. It should work out better that way and to everyone's advantage, by hopefully getting some of the answers. However, the down side to that is that only the individuals will get the answers and will not be heard by all attendees. You can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
6th Nov 21
Cllr. John Blundell, who is a Littleborough resident, but not a Littleborough councillor has taken exception to the Trust's existence in the following form;
** "The trust has acted 'childishly' in ridiculing images it knows are artist's impressions. That to produce Google-Street view realistic images would cost the council thousands of pounds and that Rochdale is one of the few that publishes these sorts of illustrations as part of its consultations.
Littleborough Civic Trust is supposed to be a charitable trust which looks after the built environment of Littleborough but has failed to take the consultation seriously or engage in an appropriate manner with the council. The Trust has no ideas of its own and has effectively become irrelevant.
The Trust is politically motivated and seeks to undermine the council due to its hatred of the Labour Party, which is the controlling group on the council" **
We [The Trust] have taken the SPD consultation very seriously, extensively engaging with council officers on both the 18th and 21st October; even asking for further consultation. We have taken it so seriously that we recently took part in a webinar with the Govt's Chief Planner.
The Trust believe they are entitled to take the council to account on any matter affecting Littleborough irrespective of the council’s political colour. There is no wish or desire within the Trust for political ping-pong.
The inaccurate CGI images and plan drawings will already have cost the council a fortune.
Cllr Blundell was not present at either session at Hare Hill House but was present at two of the three workshops held in 2020 when the Littleborough Station masterplan was being discussed. There was no community engagement at that stage!
Littleborough Civic Trust has been established for 50 years and is made up of former and current very professional people who take their roles extremely seriously, in representing the people of Littleborough.
W/C 1st Nov 21
This week we have formally requested the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (Michael Gove) to begin a process named 'Call In' the AKZO planning application, (21/01146/FUL) due to information contained previously in our Facebook posts and on the council's planning portal.
His department quickly acknowledged our request and have informed Rochdale Council to that effect and will now monitor the progress of the application until such time that if the council are minded to approve the application, it is at that point that the request to 'call it in' will be considered.
W/C 25th Oct 21
On Monday 18th and Thursday 21st October, we attended what RBC called a ‘consultation’ on the Littleborough SPD. The venue was Hare Hill House. The Monday session was extremely busy from the word go. Three council officers were in attendance and supposedly available to ask questions of. However, demand from local residents and business owners was such that not much meaningful information could be gleaned. Two ward councillors attended; one only very briefly, thus Cllr. Hartley was left to field questions and answered them with a genuine concerned heart.
Thursday’s ‘consultation’ was, albeit quite busy, less well attended and as such gave attendees a better opportunity to put questions to the council officers. None of the ward councillors or those involved with the SPD were evident.
If you read the Littleborough SPD Consultation Document, it states that in 2020, three workshops were held. In early 2020, Rochdale Borough Council (RBC) and the GM Stations Alliance commissioned WSP and Broadway Malyan to prepare a masterplan for the Littleborough Station area and identify a vision and priorities in order for the aspirations of the Council to be realised.
Where was the local input into this first so-called workshop held April 2020? When asked on Thurs 21st, the Head of RBC’s Planning Dept stated that it comprised of “people who had visited Littleborough”. Unbelievable! When pressed he confirmed that the bodies mentioned in the above paragraph, were what he was referring to.
So basically, they ‘popped’ into Littleborough; had a quick look around and then commissioned the plan drawings that were on show at Hare Hill House. Supposedly to scale, they made no sense whatsoever, Mickey Mouse cartoonists spring to mind. Yes, they were that laughable.
However, to quote p.5 of the consultation document re the April workshop, “The workshop sought to utilise the extensive local knowledge of the attendees to identify constraints and opportunities”.
How many ‘attendees’, comprised exclusively from: Network Rail; Broadway Malyan; GMCA; LCA Property; WSP and others, including one Cllr. Blundell and council officers doing what they’re told all of whom can essentially be classed as ‘biased’, had that extensive local knowledge?
Computer Generated Images (CGI) showed dwellings that were supposed to be in keeping with Littleborough’s unique identity. They were more like entries to a competition which would win prizes for architects. Superimposing tiny clips of Littleborough onto dreamt-up visions of their own. Other photographic tricks were also evident and those facts were pointed out to the council officers and asked who they were trying to fool.
One council officer from RBC Highways Dept. was asked by us why the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 document contained nothing at all for Littleborough He said that “all this is Littleborough’s part of it”. He was pressed on the matter that if that were the case, then why was it not therefore included at the time of publication? A question he couldn’t answer, and again, he too also was asked who they were trying to fool.
He was also asked if the A58 at Church St., which they propose to narrow, was designated as a Gtr. Manchester arterial route. His answer to that was “definitely”. How then, can they narrow it as in emergency planning circles it forms one of several arterial routes out of Gtr. Manchester, as defined in what is called the ‘Doomsday Scenario’. If a large bomb (of varying types) was to be dropped on Manchester, it provides a route for inhabitants to evacuate to the top of Blackstone Edge for instance; as do other Gtr. Manchester arterial routes; example ~ Peak District.
Other ‘workshops’ were held in May and August 2020, again with no local community involvement, but ‘collaboration’ between the above.
We [The Trust] recently took part in a webinar with Joanna Averley, The Govt's Chief Planner from The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. We were informed that local authorities must now adhere to its National Model Design Codes, which necessitates local community involvement. This document is ‘live’ and in the case of Littleborough SPD, Rochdale Council, by its actions to date, are in breach of it.
Some weeks ago, we attempted to become involved in what is now (re-named) the Calder Valley Community Rail Partnership; and no prizes for guessing how it links into the Littleborough SPD. It stresses that communities should be involved. Have we been? Again, no prizes for guessing the answer.
RBC’s Head of Planning was also asked why the former gas works site had not been considered in the plan as a much-needed car park. His reply “we have to draw a line somewhere”. So those who visited Littleborough with their ‘extensive knowledge’ knew where to draw the line then?
Cllr Emsley said publicly 2/3 years ago that there was no money to remediate, landscape and build a car park there. Well, there must be lots of it swilling about now. We will in the coming weeks and months, continue to strive for transparency, truth and involvement with RBC.
W/c 18th Oct 21
We held our monthly committee meeting on the evening of Monday 11th October. The meeting is normally attended by our trustees and members. However, given the fact that the Littleborough SPD is now out for its consultation period, we welcomed a considerable number of concerned residents and business owners who wished to express their concerns on the matter. The consultation period ends on 21/11/21, so make your views known.
Also discussed was the former AKZO site and Land at Stansfield, the latter of which we held a very well attended public meeting Sat. 16th Oct at St. James’ Church Calderbrook at 1pm. Further details to follow.
We have offered to assist further by raising residents and business owner’s concerns should the Council wish to engage. Please feel free to contact us, should you so wish.
27th Sept 21
We have recently obtained information that both Taylor Wimpey and Rochdale Council both deny that the plans for the so called 'Roch Valley' development are being withdrawn. Taylor Wimpey say that their application remains 'live'. But our sources say otherwise and it will be withdrawn and a new application will be submitted. This accounts for the 'live' status.However, to quote Taylor Wimpey; " We are continuing to work with Rochdale Council planning officers to resolve some issues raised during consultation meetings, but we remain committed to bringing forward much needed housing".
The original planning application [19/00881/FUL] was validated at the time in October 2019 but is now outside the determination deadline. As a result, Taylor Wimpey will not have to pay the application fees again. Enquiries made by Littleborough Civic Trust as to the status is, quote "awaiting decision".
Very recently, 27th August 2021, it has been published that Hollingworth Lake has been awarded by, and to quote TripAdvisor "Hollingworth Lake in Littleborough has been recognised as a 2021 Travellers’ Choice award winner, ranked in the top 10% of attractions worldwide.' A stunning accolade indeed, [and it states 'Littleborough', not Rochdale; Hurrah] but how will Rochdale Council planning officers and [importantly] the planning committee made up of councillors, square that with all the proposed (and ongoing) developments for Littleborough?
Additionally, Vistry; the developers for the AKZO site remain adamant to use historical traffic survey data in their as yet awaited planning application and state that the Taylor Wimpey proposal is a 'committed development' contained within when it is most definitely not.
Your conclusions on the above and your future actions to demand the truth; both collectively and individually, are extremely important for the future of our village.
Some considerable time ago, we emailed the Council’s Chief Planning Officer, along with all the members of the Planning and Licensing Committee regarding our ongoing concern with ‘planning by stealth’’, 10 houses here; 4 there; 15 there; 6 here, 45 there, etc. as this is what the Councill are doing; with their consistent and blatant disregard of the infrastructure impact on local residents. On each and every occassion, he does not reply.
We have contacted the Council with a view to becoming with the Calder Valley Community Rail Partnership; a collaboration between Rochdale and Calderdale Councils, who promote that they wish involvement from Community Groups. Time spent by the council on this projest is limited and will probably take some considerable time to progress.
Our Flood Resilience sub-committee have strengthened links with the Church to provide a refuge in the event of any future major flooding event.
Please click here to view the preface to this document.
Please click here to view the document.
Please click here to view the document.
On Wednesday 9th June we met, in person instead of Zoom, with Vistry, the chosen developers for the former AKZO site.
On site were two architects and their Planning Development Manager and so we took the opportunity to show them around Littleborough, to enable them to get a ‘feel’ for the village and also show them how other recent building developments had been constructed ‘in keeping’ with the surroundings.
We provided them with a hard copy of the Littleborough Town Design Statement, but had previously made them aware of it via the Trust’s website where it can be found in its entirety. It is classed as Supplementary Planning Guidance, adopted by the Council in 2004.
We also imparted our local knowledge of various relevant issues; not least the traffic situation. As we stood at the site, around 11.30am, Hollingworth Rd traffic was extremely busy even at that time, and again we explained in vivid detail what it was like at rush hour.
As mentioned previously, they [Vistry] intend to use the traffic survey done in 2011, which does not really fit the bill. But they state that post-pandemic traffic will be lighter. A fact we do not accept.
It also doesn’t include any weekend tourist traffic to/from Hollingworth Lake; plus, through traffic to/from West Yorkshire, which we stressed both are major factors.
They intend to put in an initial planning application this month and so we informed them that, whilst we have no desire to prevent the brownfield development, it is highly likely we would object on the traffic grounds alone.
Another point of note is that they informed us that, whilst they are willing to build much more, Rochdale Council’s Planning Dept. only want 15% of the development to be ‘affordable housing’, apparently preferring instead, 4/5 bed houses. We were asked to support them in their attempt to increase that percentage.
Therefore, when the new planning application is submitted any member of the public will be able to object/support or make neutral comments on the Council’s planning portal. However, the majority of the public are probably not aware that any comments made will not be available to view online.
This has been the subject of concern previously as the planning file is a public document. The Council quote the General Data Protection Regulations as their reason for not publishing the text of any comments. The Developers were made aware of this and expressed their own concerns stating that other Local Authorities do not take that view. All that is required is redaction of any personal/medical data which could identify the individuals. The Trust have already, and will be making further representations regarding this and suggest that those wishing to comment should do the same.
To conclude, all parties agreed that it had been a very useful and constructive meeting and that more would follow.
Following close working relationships with Homes England (H.M. Govt. Housing & Communities Agency) since April 2018, we today 28th May 2021 we met with the developers and their planning consultants who have been chosen, regarding the future of the former Akzo Nobel site Hollingworth Rd., Littleborough, who informed us that since they began enabling works for the site they clarified that they would be putting in a planning application in June 2021, but due to it having to be a totally new application they would be starting from scratch with renewed Coal Mining Risk Assessments, Traffic Assessments, water courses/sources and an Ecology survey of the site in the next few months.
No work is likely to commence until probably Spring 2022 as they have yet to decide a final design plan and consider the options to comply with the Local Planning Authorities policy on Affordable Housing.
They have committed to continuing to discuss the scheme with Littleborough Civic Trust to ensure community engagement during the planning and delivery process and further meetings with them are scheduled to ensure that as far as reasonably possible, the wishes and concerns of the residents of Littleborough are addressed.
They have taken heed of the Civic Trust’s information and concerns, including the Littleborough Town Design Statement, the link to which is on this page. A very substantial document (28mb), formulated by the Trust in 2004 and adopted by Rochdale Council at the time as 'supplementary planning guidance', hence they are beginning the application process again in its entirety.
We have to recognise the fact that it is actually a brownfield site and does not impinge on any green belt land. We did though stress very thoroughly that the roads and infrastructure are already at over-capacity levels. We suggested that any Section 106 monies offered by them go into improving what can be improved to the benefit of residents, instead of planting tress as a gesture. (A practice often used by some developers). They were acutely aware of the traffic situation due to the feedback they had received following their recent leaflet drop in the locality. We couldn't have stressed any more than we did, regarding the traffic situation
We are looking forward to maintaining a close working relationship with them prior to, and throughout the planning phase through to the construction of the development.