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Council bats off planning application over greenbelt land and ‘risk of harm’ from golfers

Plans to redevelop a derelict house in Oldham were refused by Oldham Council over greenbelt concerns and a risk of stray golf balls causing harm to the building.

The project  was due to be developed on Holmfirth Road, Greenfield, right next to a private golf course and on greenbelt land. 
Plans submitted by Mr & Mrs Birch and HNA Architects sought to add an additional floor and extensions to an existing bungalow at Hollyville Lodge to create a luxury family home. 

But council officers decided the additions were “disproportionate” and would therefore represent an “inappropriate development in the Green Belt”. 

In a report, planning officer Sophie Leech argued the plans would impact the ‘openness of the Green Belt land’, which has special protections under UK planning legislation. Development of Green Belt land can only take place under ‘very special circumstances’.

Leech wrote: “The very special circumstances provided are not considered in the public benefit and the main circumstance appears to derive from the fact the property is not big enough to be a family home. 

“The council are of a view that the property is liveable and can be occupied by a single person or couple without the need to be extensively altered and extended. As such, the very special circumstances are not considered strong enough to warrant an approval.” 

The report noted the council had also received two objections, which raised ‘concerns over glass balcony and existing golf course’ and ‘risk of golf balls damaging property’. 

A comment claimed the building is currently protected by the ‘surrounding topography’ but that adding an extra storey could put the house within hitting-distance of the golf course. 

They added: “The terrace itself would effectively be directly adjacent to and in close proximity to the 3rd green. This significantly raises the risk to the developers (and any guests) from the golf course.”

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