Almost 100 residents object to plans to ‘bulldoze’ green space for housing

Plans to ‘bulldoze’ green space in Salford to make way for housing have been opposed by nearly 100 neighbours.

Residents say the scheme is simply ‘not suitable’ for the site in Walkden.

A total of five terraced houses – all ‘affordable’ – and 12 specialist supported living apartments for adults with learning disabilities are planned.

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Salford council agreed to sell the land between Crosby Avenue and Crompton Street which is ‘well used’ by dog ​​walkers to housing association Great Places.

But residents have raised concerns about the loss of recreational land and a new access road which they claim will cause ‘chaos’ on the narrow street.

Stuart Wharton, who has lived in the area since the 1980s, remembers playing football on the green space – but the grass has grown too long for sports now.

The land between Crosby Avenue and Crompton Street

The 44-year-old who lives with his wife and two young children says private homeowners in the area will be the ‘biggest losers’ from the development.

He said: “We’re in an area where there’s been a lot of housing developments.

“It’s great to have a bit of space.

“If you try to build this in Worsley or Roe Green, there’s plenty of examples where people resist this type of development.

“It does seem Walkden is a bit of an easy target.”

Brian Farrow, an 80-year-old who has lived locally most of his life, dislikes the designs which he says ‘bear no relation’ to other homes in the neighborhood.

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He said the green space has been ‘very, very well used’ by the public since he has lived in the area and it was ‘absolutely fantastic’ during the first lockdown.

The Crosby Avenue resident has also complained about a ‘pathetic’ lack of communication from the council regarding the controversial development.

He rejects suggestions the residents are against the type of homes which are proposed as part of the scheme saying, ‘we’re surrounded by social housing’.

Oliver Spence, a chartered quantity surveyor who purchased his property on Crosby Avenue at the end of 2019, found out about the plans from neighbours.

Oliver Spence, Brian Farrow, Marget Doherty and Stuart Wharton
Oliver Spence, Brian Farrow, Marget Doherty and Stuart Wharton have objected to the plans

He argues that the application ‘goes against every rule in the book’, but believes it will be ‘waved through’ because it is for affordable housing.

He said: “They’ll find every way possible to make this happen as opposed to doing what the community wants.

“It’s very clear that the community doesn’t want this development.”

Spence has prepared a 27-page document objecting to the application, raising concerns about its impact on biodiversity, amenity, traffic and highway safety.

He claims there are other locations in Walkden which would be better suited for this sort of scheme and suggests this land could be used for allotments.

Alternative sites in the area were considered by the council for this scheme.

Land off Holyoake Road was identified as one of two locations for supported housing accommodation, but the idea was scrapped due to ‘site constraints’.

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It comes after around 450 people signed a petition opposing the proposal.

Instead, the local authority agreed it would sell the site in Crompton Street, as well as a second site in Highfield Road, Little Hulton, to a housing association.

Great Places has agreed to pay the council around £50,000 as ‘compensation’ for the loss of recreational land which will be used for sites nearby in the area.

However, this has been offered on the basis of the land being sold for £1.

Oliver Spence, Brian Farrow, Marget Doherty and Stuart Wharton
The green space could be ‘bulldozed’ for housing

A Salford council spokesperson said: “Local residents were consulted by letter, notices were displayed close to the site and a notice was put in the local paper.

“Over 100 comments have been received on the planning portal and all comments for and against will be considered at the planning panel as part of the decision making process.

“Land valuation is not part of the planning process, but the council takes many factors into consideration before coming to a decision on sales of land.

“The terms to sell this council-owned site have been provisionally agreed subject to planning consent being secured.”

The planning panel will meet on Thursday (March 2) to vote on the plans.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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