‘This used to be our view of a beautiful field packed with wildlife – now it has been ruined forever’

Residents say a new development on their doorstep has ‘ruined’ their neighbourhood.

Locals have complained about the flooding, noise and limited access to their homes that construction of the new 77-house Heyside Grove development in Royton has caused.

The estate’s developer, Countryside, says while it is unaware of any recent issues, it takes resident complaints “very seriously” and has moved swiftly to rectify any problems that have been raised in the past.

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Claire Calverley-Smith, 53, lives on Brownlow Avenue overlooking the brand new estate.

Her view used to be a field occupied by wildlife but it has since been replaced by tonnes of scaffolding and bricks since work began on the new estate in early 2021.

She told the MEN that Brownlow Avenue and Hebron Street have suffered the most since development began and that at least one resident has decided to move out, with others thinking of selling.

This is now Claire's view
This is now Claire’s view

speaking to the MEN she said: “We loved the field, it was just so good for your mental health and wellbeing.

“It was a bit of sanctuary and this has caused so much stress because people just haven’t been considered.”

Ms Calverley-Smith said the area had recently been flooded and was surprised the field was deemed suitable to build on.

“The flooding is happening not just up here but down on Hebron Street as well, there are some people there who have had to use step ladders step on their doors because of it.

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“It’s elevated land and historically this field was full of natural springs, it’s marshland that runs down to the River Beal.

“So when they said it was fit for planning on, everybody was shocked.

“The land’s just not suitable, any amount of rain it just flushes down here, and it’s muddy and dirty, you’re trudging through mud just to get to your car.

“Those that are moving in next to us I feel sorry for them, it’s like a swimming pool.”

Residents say flooding has been caused by the development
Residents say flooding has been caused by the development

Mike Ogden, 80, and his wife Eileen, 76, have lived on Brownlow Avenue for 46 years.

They say the new development has ‘ruined’ the area and they feel barricaded in by the homes that have replaced the field full of local wildlife that used to be there.

Eileen said : “ I absolutely hate it. I know people have got homes to live in but it hasn’t been done with any respect.

If you look at it, we’ve been absolutely barricaded in, it’s a crescent of houses and they’re right on our doorstep.

“The roads can’t handle this, the doctor’s surgery, the schools, it’s terrible.”

Mike said: “From the beginning we didn’t want it there. There’s been a lot of water issues from their digging,

“It was a nice open space, there were trees and animals and birds, and now it’s just that.

“They’ve definitely ruined the area.

“But there’s nothing we can do now, they’re not gonna knock it all down, we’re just the little man that’s been pushed around.”

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(L-R) Claire Calverely-Smith, Eileen Ogden and Mike Ogden
(L-R) Claire Calverley-Smith, Eileen Ogden and Mike Ogden

Royton South ward councilor Mark Bashford said while he is on the side of the residents, construction of the estate is completely legal and developers are working with officials to mitigate the issues caused.

I have told the MAN: “The development in itself is a nice modern typical estate but it’s in the wrong place and the access is appallingly bad, but it’s there now and it does meet planning standards.

“What we are trying to do is to mitigate the effects on the roads, we’re waiting for advice from the highways people to see what we can put in place.

“We are doing what we can and we’re on the side of the residents.”

A Countryside spokesperson commented: “Countryside has not been made aware of any recent issues associated with Heyside Grove. We take any complaint raised with us seriously, and when issues have been identified at the site in the past, we have moved to rectify them quickly.

“We are keen to maintain an open dialogue with local residents and would encourage people to contact our dedicated customer service team with any concerns they may have.”


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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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