Godley Green plans to progress without spatial framework sign off

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 9:11am

By Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter @CharGreenLDR

Town hall chiefs are preparing to submit a planning application for the controversial Godley Green garden village without waiting for the spatial framework to be approved, it's been revealed.

At a meeting of the executive cabinet on Monday, councillors agreed to progress to the next stage of the business case for the garden village, which amounts to costs of £2.75m.

The site, which is open green belt land to the north of Mottram Old Road, is proposed for 2,350 homes under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF).

Chiefs agreed in December last year to enter into a grant funding agreement with Homes England to secure £10m for the critical infrastructure required to open up the site for residential development. 

Because of the delays encountered progressing the GMSF and the time restrictions on using funding, Tameside chiefs are now preparing to move ahead with the Godley Green development whether or not the spatial masterplan is approved by the secretary of state.

Consequently, officers are preparing a ‘hybrid’ planning application covering the whole site based on a ‘Very Special Circumstances’ case to support the release from the greenbelt.

The cabinet report states that the costs of pursuing the planning application is likely to be in the region of £2.125m – with £1m coming from council coffers  – and bosses are aiming to submit a planning application for the site by February.

The case for special circumstances will be made citing a number of benefits, including the delivery of new homes to meet housing needs, including affordable housing provision, new physical and social infrastructure provision, proposed sustainability measures and economic benefits. 

Councillor Gerald Cooney cabinet member for housing told councillors: “Green is the key word in the new Godley Green garden village development.

“The exciting housing initiatives which set out the vision of a carbon neutral community with nature at its heart and it offers an inspiring view of the future.

“It doesn’t undermine the green belt because this area was actually restricted going forward. 

“So we are opening up actually and because it’s a garden village and it will keep its own integrity and the feel that you are still in the green belt and still in the countryside. 

“It is a positive development, it embraces our carbon neutral policy. This is a massive investment which will spill over into the Hyde town area.”

Chiefs are now negotiating with the various different landowners across the site, with the aim of entering into land options agreements with each of the landowners.

However documents reveal that a compulsory purchase order strategy is also being developed alongside these talks to secure the necessary land for the garden project. 

Bosses believe the garden village project will offer a chance to build a creative development that can utilise innovative technology to make it energy efficient and resilient to climate change.

There would be older persons housing and plots for custom and self-build featured, with an overall aim of creating ‘aspirational and desirable communities’ on the edge of the countryside.

Godley Brook, which runs south-north through the centre of the site, will effectively divide Godley Green into two villages, with access from Mottram Old Road.

Each village would be served by a local hub offering a range of ‘community and retail facilities’ where it’s planned that residents can meet most of their day-to-day needs.

There may also be the potential to develop a hotel or elderly care facilities as part of the hubs, according to the latest GMSF plans.

Sites of biological importance at Werneth Brook and Brookfold Wood would be protected and enhanced, as would areas of ancient woodland.

Cabinet member for finance, Coun Oliver Ryan added: “We want the public to be with us every step of the way with this revolutionary project helping us shape the vision and turn it into a reality.

“It might make good clickbait on social media websites to bash some of these developments like this but sometimes we have to lead and this is our big solution, coming up with future prosperity and development in the borough.”

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