New plans revealed for 200-home neighborhood at controversial site

A developer has revealed controversial plans to build 200 new homes on a greenfield site. Taylor Wimpey wants to create a ‘high-quality residential neighbourhood’ on land to the west of Smithy Bridge Road, in Littleborough.

The 35 acre plot is included as ‘Roch Valley’ in Greater Manchester’s contentious ‘Places for Everyone’ plan – and, while not in the green belt, it is classed as ‘protected open land’. A previous application for 200 homes at the site, lodged in 2019, was met with more than 600 objections from locals.

Now the housebuilder has returned with an ‘updated’ set of proposals, which it claims will bring ‘a number of local benefits for Rochdale residents, alongside the delivery of new high-quality homes’. These are said to include employment opportunities, a major boost to the local economy and extra council tax revenue.

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A fresh planning application is expected to be submitted this summer. However, the local Littleborough Civic Trust has warned that it will again take up the fight if the new proposal does not address ‘the numerous flaws’ in the original.

Taylor Wimpey has put further information about the proposals on its website, including ‘indicative’ images showing how the scheme could look. A spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with the local authority to deliver a number of local benefits for Rochdale residents, in addition to high-quality new homes at the Smithy Bridge site.

How proposed development at Smithy Bridge, Littleborough could look (indicative image).

“Before we submit our full planning application in Summer 2022, we are inviting the wider community to review our proposals online and share feedback, so that we can ensure our development will meet the needs of local people. We also invited residents to provide their feedback by joining a webinar on Tuesday, May 24.”

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The website describes plans for a ‘high-quality residential neighbourhood, respectful of the site’s location on the edge of Littleborough’, noting this would contribute to the council’s annual housing target.

The proposals include:

  • 199 new family homes
  • New landscaping and public open space
  • A new link road to relieve congestion on the A58.

The properties would be ‘a mix of family sized homes up to a maximum of 2.5 storeys in height’ and built with materials ‘reflective of the local character of Littleborough’.

Taylor Wimpey says his plans have been ‘rigorously reviewed’ to ensure the highest quality of development can be delivered’. ‘Expert design review panel’ Places Matter also carried out a further assessment and its recommendations have been incorporated into the proposals.

The developer claims the scheme will bring a host of economic benefits, including an extra £2.5m spent in shops by local residents each year, the creation of 85 new jobs during the construction phase -including youth training opportunities – and more than £420,000 per annum in council tax from higher band homes.

Proposed residential development at Smithy Bridge, Littleborough (indicative image).

Littleborough Civic Trust, a charity dedicated to ‘protecting Littleborough’s heritage and history’ has indicated it will keep a close eye on the new plans. A post on its website, reads: “The Civic Trust have been watching this development very closely and if Taylor Wimpey 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.”

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The trust is also urging residents to ‘lobby all our local councilors on the issue (including the Smallbridge and Firgrove ones), whose ward it will run into’.

People can let Taylor Wimpey know what they think about the updated plans by completing the feedback form online and using the ‘Have your say’ button.

The website address is:

Alternatively locals can send an email to [email protected] or call Freephone 0808 1688 296, by Monday June 6.

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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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