RESIDENTS are mobilising themselves to resume their fight against plans to build almost 200 homes on the site of Hartshead Power Station and Millbrook Sidings.
It comes after surveyors working for The Casey Group have been spotted working on the project that also involves the creation of the Tame Valley Country Park.
But plans to create a country park have been described by local councillor Clive Patrick as a “smokescreen” to build on the green lung between Stalybridge and Mossley.
Casey’s held a public consultation in July 2017 at Stayley Cricket Club which was attended by 238 people with 131 feedback forms received.
Chris Peacock, from Newington on behalf of The Casey Group, attended a Stalybridge Town Council meeting in September 2017 to sell the company’s vision for the scheme.
But in the intervening 12 months, there had been an eerie silence until recently when workmen were spotted surveying the site.
Cllr Patrick said: “It seems the dreaded Hartshead development may have again reared its ugly head.
“The Casey Group’s plan to build 197 houses on greenbelt on the site of the old power station in the Tame Valley between Mossley and Stalybridge is completely wrong.
“The very fact the site lies in a valley bottom between these two towns, is the reason, I believe Tameside chose to make it greenbelt in the first place to stop the two towns running into each other – the whole purpose of greenbelt in the first place.”
Cllr Patrick has not been won over by The Casey Group’s vision for the site.
He continued: “In this case we know the company have tried several times to sell the idea of building on the site by trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by offering to form a country park in the valley.
“It is my opinion, and one that I have repeated over and over again, that Stalybridge is surrounded by its own country park.
“Should we allow a company to impose their will over the people who spent their hard earned money to live in properties in the Churchfields estate overlooking greenbelt?
“Should we allow them to build 197 houses adding greatly to the traffic on the often gridlocked Huddersfield Road? I vehemently say no!”
An anonymous resident, speaking on behalf of the Churchfields, Millbrook, Crowswood and Carrbrook communities, wrote:
“The 29 executive houses currently being built on the top of Churchfields estate does not directly impact of the rest of the estate, but Casey’s house-building plans would lead to a gridlock on the estate with potential for it to become even more unsafe to let children play out and increase anti-social behaviour we have been recently having.
“To say I am fuming, angry and upset about this is an understatement as it shows that Casey’s are still moving forward with their house building plans for around 250 executive four and five bedroom detached houses which would bring with it around 500 cars with no new infrastructure apart from the roads coming directly on and off the already large Churchfields estate.
“We will lose our pollution screen of clean air lungs and woodland which even Casey’s have agreed is on greenbelt/countryside areas.”
Neil Pickering, of behalf of The Casey Group, outlined the company’s viewpoint in an email to a member of the Churchfields Residents Association.
“Casey presented ideas for the former power station site and the sidings area last summer and we still believe that this represents the most appropriate means of creating a high quality and well managed country park for the benefit of the Stalybridge and wider community.
“The on-site activity is related to us carrying out tests and investigations that are necessary to establish the condition of the land and inform feasibility.
“Any proposals that we do bring forward will of course be subject to further consultation.”
The Casey Group were first rebuffed in 2007 when they applied to build a huge 650 home estate in the valley including a hotel and restaurant.
That was scaled back to 250 homes in 2011, but that too was knocked back with the latest plan, for which a planning application has yet to be submitted, is for 197 homes.