Places for Everyone: Oldham Council reduces greenbelt allocations and puts brownfield first | Oldham Council
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Published: Monday, 12th July 2021

More than 1,800 homes removed from green belt allocations since 2019; sites deleted from plan and others vastly reduced; additional brownfield sites identified to support homes and jobs

Oldham Council has continued its “residents first” approach to planning – deleting and reducing green belt allocations in the latest Places for Everyone plan.

The final draft of the spatial strategy, which is due to be published today ahead of a forthcoming public consultation, sees brownfield sites put first across the borough.

Since the draft plan was published in October 2020, we’ve made further key changes to green belt allocations including:

  • Hanging Chadder, Royton: this site has been removed from the plan completely meaning 260 proposed homes will not be built.
  • Land south of Coal Pit Lane: has been reduced from 255 to 175 homes. The site area has been cut by around 6.5 ha to reduce the amount of green belt identified for release.
  • Chew Brook Vale, Greenfield: has been reduced from 171 to 90 homes with development now only taking place on the brownfield mill site.
  • Stakehill: Employment floorspace has been reduced by 5,000sqm and a proportion of the site to the south, nearest to existing homes, now remains in the green belt. The Mayor of Greater Manchester and Oldham Council are also seeking to create a Mayoral Enterprise Zone at Stakehill. This will enhance the package of investment and support available for delivering the site.

The changes are in addition to those we announced in October 2020, which included the removal of Spinners Way/Alderney Farm and Thornham Old Road sites. We also reduced the Woodhouses allocation by 230 homes and made Kingsway South a broad location – so that plans for 518 homes and 180,000 sqm employment land will not proceed and it will remain in the green belt until after 2037 and until such time that a review of Places for Everyone or Oldham’s Local Plan can demonstrate that its release is fully justified. It is now called High Crompton Broad Location.

Since the plan, formerly Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, was published in 2019, we’ve now stopped more than 1,800 homes from being built in the green belt and prevented acres of Oldham’s countryside from being earmarked for development.

Cllr Arooj Shah, Oldham Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic and Social Reform, said: “We need to build new homes and help to create more jobs, but this cannot come at the expense of Oldham’s much-loved countryside.

“Communities raised their voices and we have listened - we've removed green belt allocations, scaled them down and refined the proposals again and again taking your feedback on board every step of the way.

“Although we would like to remove them all, there are some green belt allocations still in the plan, because unfortunately there just aren’t enough brownfield sites to meet the borough’s housing need over the next 16 years.

“But we will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure brownfield sites are given priority and lobbying government to support developers to build on previously developed land, so that we can continue to protect our green belt for future generations.”

The Places for Everyone final plan now incorporates eight proposed allocations of land in Oldham: seven housing and one employment site. A small amount of employment land is also proposed at the primarily housing allocation - Broadbent Moss.

The Government says Oldham needs 12,800 homes by 2037 to meet our housing need. 7,712 of these homes are on brownfield sites. Mixed sites (brownfield and greenfield – this is land that hasn’t been built on but is not within the Green Belt) can cater for 1,410 homes. Small sites and clearance will provide 557 homes and greenfield sites will enable 1,276 homes to be built.  Green belt allocations will provide up to 2,176 homes.

Oldham’s ambitions to ensure it is the greenest borough in Greater Manchester, whilst carefully balancing the need for development, will be supported through measures in the plan, ensuring that areas of green infrastructure are protected within some of Oldham’s proposed strategic allocations and improving them to deliver a net gain in biodiversity.

And in some locations, land which was previously not in the green belt has now been designated as such because it meets certain tests, such as preventing settlements merging. One proposed site to be added to the green belt is 0.6 ha of land behind Denshaw Village Hall.

Connectivity is also crucial so through Places for Everyone and the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040, several key improvements to highways and connectivity are proposed. This includes a new Metrolink stop at the Broadbent Moss allocation, which will also serve the Beal Valley allocation to the north, and Royton and Derker.

Cllr Hannah Roberts, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Less than 20% of the homes Oldham needs to provide will be built within the green belt.

“Without a plan we have no way of saying what land is and isn’t acceptable for development in the future. Without it we have less control over our area and run the risk of places that we want to remain untouched being developed. So the plan isn’t just about developing Oldham – but also protecting it.

“It will put policies in place to steer development in a way which works for our borough and residents, whilst delivering co-ordinated, strategic improvements across Greater Manchester

“We’ve explored brownfield land across the borough, finding sites for more than 2,000 new homes in the town centre and bringing mill sites back into use, and we’re delighted that these sites can accommodate the bulk of what Oldham needs. We’re also focussed on making sure the plan gives us the types of homes we need more of, including high-quality family homes and affordable homes across the borough.

“We want a plan that does the best job for Oldham – providing the jobs, homes and opportunities we need while balancing the need to protect the things and places that make our town special. We will make sure we deliver on that.”

Oldham’s allocations are:

Allocation name

Current planning status

Type of allocation

Total allocation capacity

Land south of Coal Pitt Lane (Ashton Road)

Green belt


175 homes

Beal Valley

Green belt and small portion of OPOL (other protected open land)


482 homes

Broadbent Moss

Green belt/OPOL


1,451 homes: 77 on land at Hebron St already granted permission & inc. in baseline housing supply. 500 homes post plan period. Therefore 874 homes are to be delivered within plan period (2021 to 2037)


21,720 sqm




465 homes

Chew Brook Vale (Robert Fletchers)

Previously developed site in green belt (brownfield)


90 homes

South of Rosary Road

Green belt


60 homes

Bottom Field Farm (Woodhouses)

Previously developed land in the green belt


30 homes


Green belt

Employment (Oldham portion)

150,000 sqm

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