The Council's activity around the businesses and properties on Victoria St., and Littleborough Railway Station are gaining pace and at our last meeting on 11th October a significant number of concerned residents and business owners attenderd and debated the matter. At our next meeting on 8th November it is anticipated that the subject will be discussed at length again, dependant on any action the council take prior to our meeting.
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 now recently classed as a Supplementary Planning Document, 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.
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.
The Council do not publish objections or comments on planning applications and quote the General Data Protection Regulations as their reason for not publishing the text of any comments.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.
Following close working relationships with Homes England (H.M. Govt. Housing & Communities Agency) since April 2018, on 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 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'.
We have to recognise the fact that the majority it is actually a brownfield site but does impinge on a small area of 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.