The section of the canal has been dry since a breach in the 1930s. Credit: via urban planning documents
A proposal from Watson Homes for 255 homes, as well as canal side restoration work in Little Lever, was turned down by the planning committee on the green belt land.
Supported by P4 Planning, TADW Architects and landscape consulting firm Enzygo, Watson had proposed housing plans at two sites
The first was the former land and land of the cream factory off Mytham Road, with associated works including a two-way bridge and walking trails in the woods.
The developer proposed to tackle a 60-meter breach in the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal dating from the 1930s, which means that water could be reintroduced into a currently dry 700-meter stretch of the waterway.
The second plot, described as land south of Hall Lane, was associated with infrastructure work, including canal paths. The sites include a total of 31 acres. This plot was once used for coal mining, the first was a paper mill.
Watson’s plans were recommended for denial on the grounds of green belt protection. In addition, the Hall Lane site is the subject of an application for green village status, to be determined at the start of the year.
On the decision, Cllr Martin McMulkin said North West Square: âThe proposed development has many positive aspects, obviously the long-awaited affordable housing and even the rehabilitation of the canal.
“But if we, as a council, are serious about protecting green spaces, including public parks and in the wider context, committed to the climate strategy adopted by the full council, then we must reject such proposals for the benefit of the city, the planet and future generations. “
Watson had initially developed a program that included 274 units, of which 244 were affordable in one way or another.
With the changes made since submission, the program as described for members in the Planning Officers’ report was presented as 77 Private Sale Houses in Hall Lane, 66 Affordable Houses off Mytham Road, 44 Affordable Apartments and 44 affordable houses on the factory site, and 24 private rental apartments.
One of the changes was the removal of a building in Hall Lane, while viability issues pushed Hall Lane from 100% affordable to 100% marketable.
Both sites are classified as Green Belt, however the Creams Mill site is allocated to housing. Planning was granted for the site previously, with an authorization still in effect, but the development has not been found to be viable, according to the P4 planning statement.
The statement was intended to advocate for “very special circumstances,” highlighting the national housing shortage and acute need for affordable housing in the area, as well as meeting the long-term goals of the council and Canal & River. Confidence in carrying out repairs to the canal.