By Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter
A MASTERPLAN revealing how Tameside will evolve over the next two decades has finally been unveiled by Greater Manchester leaders.
The long-awaited revised draft of the Spatial Framework would see around 8,850 homes built across the borough between now and 2037.
This is a significant reduction from the initial 2016 blueprint, which had envisioned 13,600 new dwellings.
There would also be less building on green belt land – 50 per cent less across the region – although plans for the controversial Godley Green garden village in Hyde remain unaltered.
However, a slice of green belt that had been under threat, Sidebottom Fold, Stalybridge, has been removed from the framework, scrapping plans for 650 homes on the site.
Transport links could also be improved, with potential new train stations at Dewsnap, Dukinfield, and at Gamesley on the border with Derbyshire.
The vision for the region’s development future across the next 20 years was revealed by local leaders and Mayor Andy Burnham in Manchester city centre.
It comes after Mr Burnham had told chiefs to go back to the drawing board following his election in 2017, outlining his ambition for “no net loss” of green belt to be allocated for development.
The amount of green belt included in the original blueprint had sparked outrage, with Tameside green space campaigners organising a protest march against the Godley Green plans.
Under bosses’ new strategic allocation, around 2,790 homes and 175,000sq m of employment space would be built on land designated as green belt.
But Tameside’s executive leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said she hoped residents who had previously voiced concerns could now back the plans.
“We do need to play our part from a Greater Manchester point of view, making sure that we have got those houses,” she said.
“What is more important is people want to live in Tameside, people want to work in Tameside and we have to provide the means for them to do that.
“The population is growing and what we are trying to do now is focus on bringing in the industry to Tameside, and new digital industries.
“What we also want to do is look at the type of housing that is on offer; family homes, homes for retired people and young couples – making the borough a place where people want to be and can be prosperous.”
She added: “I am desperately hoping people can get behind the housing and the employment land that we have left in.”
The plans include:
• Godley Green garden village: 2,350 homes
One of the most controversial elements of the allocations for Tameside – a proposal to build a brand new ‘garden village’ near to Godley and Hattersley – is unaltered in the revised plans.
The Godley Green village covers the same footprint as it did in 2016, spanning open green belt land to the north of Mottram Old Road and features 2,350 homes.
Cllr Warrington said it was an exciting opportunity to found an entirely new community from scratch in the borough.
“Godley Green is a really exciting prospect for the future where we hope to create a new settlement for people that we can actually design to ensure that we fulfil all of those needs from the different parts of the community,” she said.
“We have got to put the infrastructure in and make sure it’s a good mix with schools and doctors surgeries – everything it needs to function.”
Bosses believe it 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.
The vision is part of the government’s ‘garden village’ scheme, championed by local MP Jonathan Reynolds.
Access would be from Mottram Old Road, while a pedestrian and cycle bridge to Hattersley station would also be added.
• South of Hyde – 440 homes, new garden village
Two thirds of the development plans for land around Hyde – lumped together as ‘south Tameside’ – have made it into the new draft.
The proposals from 2016 would have seen 935 homes built across three sites – one at Hyde Hall Farm, south west of Haughton Green, and the other on either side of the A560 bordering Stockport.
However, one of the sites – the westward land at Hyde Hall Farm – has been removed, effectively halving the overall proposal to just 440 homes.
The latest intention is to create a new garden village in the same vein as Godley Green spanning the two areas of land near Woodley and utilising ‘visionary design’.
That includes one site to the north west of the A560, near the railway line, with the other, larger plot on the other side of Stockport Road, stretching out towards Romiley Golf Club.
A full restoration of the Grade Two listed Apethorn Farm, which is currently on Heritage England’s ‘at risk’ register, would also be carried out as part of the masterplan.
• Ashton Moss West: 175,000sq m employment space
Vast plans for industrial space and new homes around Ashton Moss on either side of the M60 have been significantly scaled back in the rewrite.
The 2016 draft outlined intentions to build 1,980 homes and 200,000sq m of employment space, from Ashton in the east to Droylsden in the west.
But in the latest plan all the land allocated east of the M60 – including Ashton Sports Park – has been removed.
The part to the west of the motorway has also been significantly reduced, with its northern half removed and development now stopping around the border with Lumb Lane.
Under the new plan, council bosses envision the remaining land taken up with business and general industrial space in a bid to tackle areas of high deprivation around Ashton and Droylsden.
It is thought that it will be used as a hub for key growth areas for Greater Manchester, including life sciences, health technologies, advanced manufacturing, materials science and fabrication and modular construction.