Neighbourhood plan suggested for Spodden Valley
Date published: 31 January 2011
Residents will get the opportunity to put together their own neighbourhood plan for the old TBA site under a Coalition Government Bill currently being discussed in Parliament.
The Localism Bill which had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on the 17 January will give local residents the power to prepare their own Neighbourhood Plan which if approved in a local Referendum would have to be approved by the Council.
The matter was discussed at the TBA working Party on Tuesday 25 January and if a decision is made it could be one of the first major decisions to come from the new Localism Bill.
A planning application to build 650 houses on the former Turner Brother’s site was recently rejected after a six year campaign by local residents.
Former Rochdale MP Paul Rowen who attended the meeting said: “For too long MMC have been allowed to sit on a planning application on the TBA site and do nothing to make safe and useable what is an eyesore.
“Now the government is giving local residents the opportunity to decide what happens on the site themselves. There is a grant of up to £10,000 available for residents to draw up the plan.
“I have asked for this issue to be on the agenda of the next Spotland Area Forum on the 17 February.
“This will be a giant leap forward in people power.”
Jason Addy, co-ordinator of the Save Spodden Valley campaign told Rochdale Online: "As the many news reports over the past 6 years on Rochdale Online have shown, we have been working on a safe "green lung" for Spodden Valley for years. It is paramount that there is a safe and permanent solution to asbestos contamination.
"SSV raised the issue of the Localism Bill at the recent Working Party meeting. We have grave concerns about some aspects of it, in particular the way it could actually harm democratic and public accountability by bypassing the current planning system. This concern is further compounded by the past experience of "public relations" consultants acting for developers.
"It is important that local input must be genuine rather than manufactured "fake grassroots" consultation delivered as a turn key package for a profitable development scheme. The threat of "astro turfing" is a real one that cannot be allowed to happen regarding a site known to have contamination problems with asbestos- a material that causes terminal cancer.
"We have to get this right for the sake of future generations of our town.”
William Hobhouse, Chairman of the TBA Working Party, said: “The working party has been working quietly and effectively for many years to scrutinize health and safety issues relating to the Turners site and to ensure that the solution for the Turners site is safe for Rochdale residents. At no time until now has any member of the working party used these important discussions for their personal publicity.”
MMC were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
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