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350 homes approved for Robertson’s Jam Factory site
Monday 17th December 2018 @ 10:06 by Lauren Entwistle

The site of the historic Robertson’s Jam Factory is set to be transformed into a 350-home estate after proposals were given the green light by the town hall.

By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter.

Tameside’s planning committee have approved plans by housebuilder Willsgrove Developments Limited to redevelop the iconic site in Droylsden, which has been empty since 2006.

The famous manufacturer James Robertson and Sons produced curds, preserves and marmalades at the Manchester Road site from 1890 until hte site was closed with the loss of 200 jobs.

The proposals would see a range of two to four storey dwellings, with between one and five bedrooms.

Officers are asking for five pc of the homes to be classified as ‘affordable’.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) had raised concerns that the roads around the site, including Audenshaw Road, Manchester Road and Droylsden Road were already operating at ‘capacity’ at peak times.

To mitigate this the developer has been asked to pay £400k towards highway upgrades in the area, and contribute towards new zebra crossings, improvements to junctions, and subsidise public transport for residents of the new estate.

However residents who attended the meeting and opposed the proposals, shouted “you ought to be ashamed of yourselves” when the committee decided to grant permission.

David Thompson, principal planning officer, said there was little evidence the site could be reused for employment purposes.

“It is accepted that that in terms of the highways impact, that will be significant as a result of the development in this location,” he said.

“The addition of 350 dwellings to that would be severe if it wasn’t for mitigation of that impact.

“Officers are satisfied, as are TfGM and engineers, that the impact of the development can be mitigated.”

There were 14 objections from residents to the plans, with one supporting letter, and the local rugby club, Aldwinians, had raised concerns that they were originally promised some land on the site to expand their pitch.

In earlier discussions about the future of the site, officers had considered whether there was an opportunity to redevelop part of the site for the extension of sports facilities.

However Mr Thompson said that although they could stipulate that open space must be provided as part of the development, “we cannot insist on a formal sports pitch”.

Speaking on behalf of Aldwinians RUFC, Mr Hughes told the meeting that the development of the clubhouse would enhance its community use.

He said: “We are growing rapidly and we are short of space, we are landlocked.

“We support everything that Tameside want to do, we hold a brass band contest, so we are a community club.”

“We feel that the development and focus on the club grounds is important and would bring a lot more youth into developing their health and helping the primary objective here, which is wellbeing and we would provide the management of that.”

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Patrick Downes told members the development would contribute to a ‘much needed’ housing supply in the borough.

He said: “There is no reason why an attractive and well designed residential scheme can’t be accommodated on this site.”

There had been no contact with Aldwinians Rugby Club about the pitch proposals since 2016, Mr Downes added.

The application was approved unanimously by the planning committee.

The developer was also asked to make a contribution to the extension of Aldwyn Primary School, playground and pitch improvements at Sunny Bank Park, and improvements at Copparas Fields and  Floral Gardens.