On February 14th, Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority submitted the Places for Everyone Joint Development Plan to the Government for examination. Hanging Chadder had been allocated in both iterations of the plan's predecessor, the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, but had been dropped in the third and final version. Unfortunately the Peel Group has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to have the site reinstated to the plan. This means we now face a legal battle to save Hanging Chadder, potentially costing tens of thousands of pounds.
Save Royton's Greenbelt, supported by thousands of people across the town, has campaigned long and hard to save our beloved Green Belt from the clutches of developers, who appear oblivious to the impact on our community and the wildlife, all in the pursuit of bigger profit margins. Four Green Belt sites in Royton, along with Cowlishaw, were allocated in the GMSF back in 2016. Since then we have enjoyed mixed fortunes: Outline planning permission has been granted on Cowlishaw, but we had secured the removal of the two Thornham allocations from the plan. That left Beal Valley and Broadbent Moss (both on the Royton's southern border) in a "live" battle, and in partnership with Save Shaw's Greenbelt we retained the services of the Leith Planning Group to appeal these two sites. They both face a reckoning at the "examination in public".
Along with the submission of the plan, the responses have also been published, and we have learned that the Peel Group are appealing to reinstate Hanging Chadder to the plan. Unfortunately this was always on the cards, because once a site is allocated and subject to consultation the law permits the site to be restored to the plan, at the Planning Inspector's discretion.
Hanging Chadder Development Framework
The Peel Group's submission comprises a 400-page appeal, a 50-page brochure outlining their plans for Hanging Chadder and several technical documents. Clearly they have spent a substantial sum of money prepping the development.
The development would see an estimated 285 homes, delivered over a 5–8 year period, beginning in 2024 and ending in 2030–33. That will be 8 years of disruption: 8 years of lorries and diggers rumbling past our houses at all hours of the day and all that entails, including dust and pollution. And that is before you even consider the impact on our local infrastructure, such as roads and drains, and on public services such as schools and doctors.
What can we do to save Hanging Chadder?
We are past the point where protests alone will help us save our green space. The plan has just been submitted to the Government for examination, so we have now entered a legal process. The developer needs to evidence and justify that "exceptional circumstances" exist, to remove land from the Green Belt, and the case put forward by Peel is actually relatively weak. We have to argue that it does not meet the criteria for "exceptional circumstances". We know that we have some very strong arguments to put forward, but we need to litigate them and for that we need to hire a planning barrister. We have been quoted a price of £28,000 for representation at the examination.
We have two primary fund-raising schemes:
The 200 Club – This is an exclusive club that members pay £200 to join. You can pay the sum all in one go or through regular monthly instalments. Any money that is left over will be returned to you on a pro rata basis. We realise it is a lot of money, but if you are able to afford it we hope you will consider joining the club. If your house borders on to Hanging Chadder then you likely stand to lose thousands as your house drops in value, so our club is a bargain if we succeed. The SRGB team have all joined; we are prepared to put our money where our mouths are.
The SRG lotto – Our weekly lottery has a top jackpot prize of £25,000 and you can join from as little as £1 per week. Half the money raised will go towards our legal fund, while the other half will go towards the prize fund and the costs of administering the lottery. We do not run the lottery ourselves: the draws, payment and rewards are all handled by our service provider. If you decide to join, we kindly ask that you subscribe for a full year so our income will not drop off during the litigation period (expected to take place over the Summer and Autumn).
Both these fund-raising schemes are already subscribed to by some of our supporters and we have already managed to raise over half of the estimated legal fund required. We thank you if you are already in our 200 Club or in our Lotto draw. If you are not a member of either scheme, please act now to enable us to save our local Greenbelt. Click on either of the above links for more information.
This is by no means a futile battle: we had already succeeded in getting the Hanging Chadder allocation removed from the plan and it is now no longer supported by the council. It was a weak allocation in the first place, since it did not meet any of the site selection "spatial criteria". We believe this is a case of a developer trying to price us out of contesting the allocation, so they get a default win. We are approaching end game, but we've got to be in it to win it, so any support you can give to us would be greatly appreciated.