Firstly, what appears to be some ‘good’ news, and that is that Langtree (the site owner) are holding a public information event on Monday 20th of October, between 3pm and 7pm at Denton Methodist Church on Hyde Road.
I am told this will be to explain to you their latest plans for the site.
Now for the not-so-good news.
Sadly, because of the recession, Langtree tell me they are finding it difficult to market the site for their original retail and leisure scheme. I’m personally not at all convinced that they’ve tried very hard and given this is a prime town centre site, with the potential for good motorway links, feel it could be a wasted opportunity for us.
My understanding is they want to submit a planning application for a very large residential development on most of the site. Whilst this may at least bring the site back into use, I do question whether the contaminants from the previous industrial use make residential an acceptable end-use, not least because the remediation of the land (especially for gardens) would have to be substantial to remove all the traces of lead, asbestos, acid and other pollutants associated with over a century of battery production.
The other potential ‘bad’ news is that they are trying to wriggle out of putting in the new link road between Ashton Road and Hyde Road, which was a requirement for the retail application.
That would mean all the cars from any large new residential housing would solely use Edward Street. This increases the likelihood of more rat-running through the existing residential estates off Edward Street to avoid traffic congestion on Hyde Road and at Crown Point. I am told by Tameside Council this is a massive concern to them, not least because the Traffic Impact Assessment carried out by Langtree’s Agents use a formula of less than one car per dwelling, which is frankly nonsense!
Finally, and the thing that angers me the most, is that Langtree have effectively walked away from the CPO process on the old Co-op building (the Wallpaper Shop) on Ashton Road. They had asked the Council to compulsorily purchase the building so that the link road could be built. As a result, the Council secured an option to purchase the building, and because of this the building was effectively stripped bare. Now Langtree won’t be drawing down on this option, it has left Denton blighted with a near derelict shell on a prominent gateway.
In my opinion, Langtree and their Agent, Spawforth, have a lot to answer for. They have left this site to rot for over a decade and made umpteen promises to the local community that they have not kept. They have blighted Ashton Road through their inaction and duplicity, and whilst it may be welcome to see something happen with some of the site in the near future, we do run the risk of having a second-rate development, and worse, no remediation for the very real traffic problems it will create for central Denton.
No planning application has yet been submitted to Tameside Council, but as soon as it is, I will let you know so that you can make your views known.