RESIDENTS face a waiting game but are ready to mobilise themselves when plans are eventually submitted to turn greenfield land in Mossley into a major housing estate.
Campaigners expected proposals towards the eventual building of more than 180 houses and apartments on land between Hey Farm Estate and Mossley Hollins School would already have been confirmed.
Instead, agents Cordingleys, acting on behalf of the land owners, have yet to lodge an outline planning application for an initial access road into the 12.96 hectare site with Tameside Council.
A public meeting at the school last August attracted hundreds of locals. Since then Hey Farm residents have attended a number of smaller gatherings to formulate a plan of action for when the application eventually goes live.
The last meeting took place at The Royal George pub in Greenfield earlier this month.
“We understand Cordingleys intend to submit the planning application this month or January,” said spokesperson, John Pywell.
“Until they do, representations to the planning department can’t be processed.
“But we have been quite busy. Members of the group have each been researching various key topics including environment, flooding, traffic, infrastructure.
“Over the next few weeks we will be putting down our arguments and I will be collating them into one document for as soon as the application goes in.”
Despite uncertainty over the immediate time scale, residents are working towards a March deadline for Council ratification or refusal.
“We know it will be heard at a higher level than normal,” added John.
“We understand it will be decided by the Strategic Planning and Capital Monitoring Panel.
“The rules say as a group we can have a five minute say, the same as the Speaker’s Panel. So, that is why we are going to produce an overall document from our collective pieces of work.”
The nine-strong Panel, including the chair and deputy chair of Speakers Panel (Planning), only meets every quarter and will sit for the first time in 2018 on March 12 at Dukinfield Town Hall.
One of those members is Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick who has already angered residents in top Mossley by agreeing to auction off pockets of land people have tried to save as community assets.
“We are assuming that unless the Panel agrees to have an extraordinary meeting then March 12 will be the deadline,” said John.
“That’s about the right time frame because legally the Council has between eight and 13 weeks to make their decision once the application is submitted.”
The Hey Farm group expects to meet again in January, most likely after the planning application is submitted.
“We were slightly encouraged that Cordingleys initially said it would be in by early November,” added John.
“The fact it has taken six to eight weeks already, we hope it’s because lots of residents have sent in tough questions.
“The main motivation of the group is the concern that more and more green spaces in Mossley are being used for housing, and Mossley is receiving an unfair proportion of new housing estates compared to other parts of Tameside.
“Although the group is putting forward arguments to hopefully stop the proposed development on the land between Hey Farm Estate and Mossley Hollins School, local residents who are ‘for’ the development have always been equally welcome at our residents’ meetings.
“Many of our concerns will be shared by people who want the development to go ahead, and the arguments we will be putting forward to the planners will hopefully mitigate some of the negative consequences of building on this land and lead to a better community asset if the new housing estate is actually given the go-ahead.
“We therefore feel that we are serving the community by running this campaign, irrespective of whether we succeed in persuading the planners not to grant planning permission in this particular instance.”