“…we haven’t been consulted”- Resident’s fury over housing plans
Manchester Metropolitan University’s plans to build more than 100 homes on Ryebank fields in Chorlton have angered Trafford residents and the borough’s town hall who say they haven’t been consulted on the most recent vision – even though locals argue they’ll be most affected. The recently-published masterplan shows the university’s intention of building up to 120 homes across two plots, which sit within Manchester council’s boundaries but which Trafford residents say will affect them more. That’s because the access route earmarked for the larger site – earmarked for up to 80 family homes – is in Trafford.
A previous version of the masterplan from 2017 only included one potential vehicle access – in Chorlton – while the proposed Trafford route was only for pedestrians. But angry locals say that under the new vision the borough is being used as a ‘back door’ onto the site – one that will ‘shift Chorlton’s traffic problem onto Trafford’.
And they argue that their concerns won’t be registered by future developers – because they haven’t been consulted.
A spokesperson for MMU said they are ‘disappointed’ that residents believe the consultation work done by Manchester council and the university has been inadequate, and say they are ‘committed to working with all interested parties and ensuring they are involved in the development of the proposals’. They also argue that the university recently met with residents and councillors.
Within the framework, it argues that – alongside a development partner – it wants to make a ‘valuable contribution’ to Chorlton and Manchester and create a scheme of different tenures, sizes and values – including affordable housing – that matches the demand for new housing in the city. The plans are still in their early stages, and no planning application has yet been sent to Manchester’s town hall.
But Trafford council is urging the university to go back to the drawing board with their framework – this time including the borough in its discussions. The council said: “Irrespective of the fact that the proposed site is in Manchester council’s boundary, full engagement by the council and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) should have taken place with Trafford council and local residents.”
They said that any new development would likely put pressure on an already-busy junction in Great Stone Road, and argue that they will be left managing increased numbers at nearby Longford Park. And locals in Trafford fear that the lack of public consultation in Trafford will give a skewed view of public opinion.
Bernadine O’Sullivan, vice chair of Ryebank Trafford Residents Association, said the borough is being used as a ‘back door’ onto the site. “It’s a cul-de-sac. We’ll get all the building traffic, noise, pollution – the impact on our lives will be enormous, The framework, as it stands, reflected the views of Chorlton residents and Manchester council, which is to shift the traffic problem for this Chorlton development onto Trafford,” she said.
The association say that the consultation was ‘non-existant’ for Trafford residents.
“In the proposed framework, the majority of the proposed site is going to be accessed from our site – and considering we haven’t been consulted, that’s pretty poor, We ask that MMU withdraw the development framework and conduct a full and proper consultation which includes all stakeholders,” she added.
The association argues that one access at Chorlton should be enough to meet the demand from any new housing, which the framework lays out as most likely being family homes between two and five bedrooms.
The MMU spokesperson said they recently met with Trafford residents and local councillors to discuss revised proposals. “These revised proposals have been developed following extensive discussions with Manchester council and consultations with the local community in Chorlton over the original plans. We note the concerns of the residents and Trafford Council, and are disappointed that they believe the consultation work done by Manchester City Council and the University has been inadequate to date. We have always been committed to working with all interested parties and ensuring they are involved in the development of the proposals. We will ensure we, and any development partner we appoint in the future, continue to abide by that commitment.”
A Manchester council spokesperson said: “The Rye Bank Road development framework has been developed by landowner, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). The city council supported its consultation in 2017 as part of an opportunity to increase housing delivery in an area of high demand. As part of that consultation an online survey was hosted on the City Council’s website and was complemented by five of engagement sessions in the local community, along with a significant flyer drop to local residents and businesses. The role of MMU’s framework is to outline the broad principles of a potential development, but does not constitute detailed proposals. Future development would be subject to the statutory planning process, informed by both national and local planning frameworks, including further consultation with local residents.”
This article originally appeared on Manchester Evening News
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