Tameside Councillor Kieran Quinn backed the development, which will see more than 2,000 properties built, in the November 2017 council meeting.
As part of the government’s garden town and village scheme, the huge plot of greenbelt land bordering Gee Cross, Godley and Hattersley, is set to become the site for approximately 2,300 new homes in one of the largest housing expansions in the region.
In the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework report, the development is said to feature supporting infrastructure and facilities, whilst boasting characterisation by very high quality layout and design.
What is Godley Green?
Godley Green is a a large open space of green fields, nestled at the foot at Werneth Low, in between Godley and Hattersley and rests at the side of the Glossop/Hadfield to Manchester Piccadily train line. It currently features farm space, several high value properties and Godley’s riding school.
What is a ‘Garden Village’?
Welwyn Garden City: The UK’s second garden city was found in 1920. (Image: Creative Commons).
A Garden Village is based on the development of Garden Cities, which are developments of at least 10,000 homes. They marry together the concept of city living with the pleasantries of countryside surroundings.
As the name suggests, a Garden Village is a much smaller development consisting of at least 1,500 homes.
The government has backed 14 locations throughout the UK as sites for Garden Village developments, including Godley Green. The idea is that they will produce pleasant, sustainable places to live, reinforced by the infrastructure that is needed.
What will the development need?
In the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework report, the development must:
1. Deliver a development that fulfils the Government’s Garden Village criteria, providing a broad mix of housing, including starter homes but with a significant amount of higher value executive homes in order to diversify the housing mix not just within the Hyde and Longdendale area but Tameside as a whole;
2. Ensure that the layout, design and architecture are of outstanding quality – integrated into the landscape and with walkable neighbourhoods;
3. Achieve excellent design and sustainability through masterplanning and the use of design codes;
4. Deliver higher density development around Hattersley railway station to the north east of the site;
5. Provide a large amount of green and blue infrastructure through the site including the protection and enhancement of Werneth Brook and Brookfold Wood;
6. Retain and enhance the key landscape features such as mature trees and hedgerows that fall outside of the larger areas of green infrastructure;
7. Deliver significant levels of tree planting, including street trees, within the site;
8. Deliver improvements, including cycle parking facilities and enhanced pedestrian access, to Hattersley and Hyde Godley stations;
9. Provide good quality highway infrastructure to allow access and egress to the site, including key road junctions and off-site highway improvements;
10. Deliver a small local centre within the site, including local retail and new health facilities;
11. Provide the appropriate level of on-site primary and contributions towards secondary school places;
12. Existing dwellings and their gardens need to be sensitively designed into the overall scheme;
13. Create walkable neighbourhoods within the scheme which will provide enhanced walking and cycling infrastructure and which will connect into the existing rights of way, including the Greenway to the north of the site and to Hattersley railway station, local schools and facilities;
14. Provide on-site parks, sports provision and play equipment; and
15. Incorporate Sustainable Urban Drainage systems within the site, for example, through the use of green roofs, permeable surfaces, swales and detention basins.
Godley Green: View of a segment of the site from atop the nearby Werneth Low.
What are the benefits?
The site is one of the small number of opportunities within Tameside and Greater Manchester to host such a large-scale garden development. The site is well located for transport links, with the M67 a short drive away and the potential for strengthened access to Hattersley train station.
In order to support such a large number of properties, a local centre will have to be developed with retail and health facilities; strengthening employment opportunities for the local area.
The range of properties being developed will not only include executive homes, but also starter homes ideal for first-time buyers.
What is the general consensus?
A considerably large quantity of locals have thus far issued criticism and scepticism over the development.
Comments so far relate to the strained increase on traffic in the local area, which already suffers at the nearby Hattersley roundabout. Whilst the Mottram bypass proposals have been taken forward by the government, plans to commence construction aren’t in place until 2020.
Furthermore, the strain on peak time trains in and out of Manchester on the nearby line have also been noted, with commuters frequently standing in tight spaces on the three carriage trains.
Other comments surround the tension on local school placements, with residents arguing the proposal heavily underestimates the amount of additional places required to handle the growth that would potentially be seen by the development.
In a comment made by Lorna Rudd: ” There are not sufficient schools in order to provide places for children of families in the area. Consequently, class sizes will be huge and the standard of education fall.”
Further comments highlight the strains on local facilities such as doctor’s, dentists and opticians, as well as Tameside Hospital.
In addition to backing from Councillor Quinn, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, Jonathan Reynolds has also voiced his support for the development. Prior to the consultation earlier this year, he said in a Facebook post: “I know that most politicians, when they see housing proposed in their area, simply oppose it.
“The people who already live there are the people who’ve already elected you, and the people who move in tend not to hold it against you if you tried to stop their houses being built. But I think such a policy: 1) ignores the very real crisis we face; and 2) will only mean the development goes ahead but in a way that takes away local control.
“I think we need to do something completely new to resolve this impasse and a new garden village does that. I hope people will engage with this idea and see that it might be a real way forward. We all want our children and grandchildren to be able to live in decent homes, and everyone’s house was a new development at one time.”