Unitary Development Plan

Chapter 26
Stalybridge, excluding Town Centre

Ref Proposal Justification
STA1 Stayley Hall, off Howard Street, to be restored for hotel, restaurant and conference centre or other suitable leisure uses.

To incorporate historical, educational and interpretive linkages and an appropriate tourism facility in the hall and/or in associated new buildings.

To ensure an appropriate setting, the scheme should include the retention of an open buffer around the buildings. For the area to the south this could alternatively include a theme village or other visitor attractions.

STA1. Stayley Hall is a near derelict, sixteenth Century, timber framed manor house and a Grade II* Listed Building, situated in a prominent position on an area of open land overlooking the Tame valley west of Millbrook village. It has been the Council's policy for many years that Stayley Hall, as a major historical asset to the Borough, should be suitably restored.

It is probable that if the Hall is to be restored, the resource agency will come primarily from the private sector. Hotel, restaurant, conference, leisure and tourism uses are generally to be welcomed in Tameside and are appropriate for a building of this kind, provided its historical character and integrity are maintained and public access is available for educational and interpretative purposes.

The site indicated on the Proposals Map has an area of approximately 5.3 hectares. It is possible that a restoration scheme could be accompanied by some further associated visitor attraction developed on part of this adjoining land, provided this did not detract from the general appearance and setting of the Hall itself. This might take the form, for instance, of a tourist "village" designed on an historical theme related to the Hall. However, it is important that adequate open space is still left on the site to maintain the prominence of the Hall as seen from the lower ground to the north and west and from further afield, and also to isolate the building to some extent from modern housing development proposed to the south.

This proposal is broadly consistent with, although more specific than, both Proposal 93 of the Tame Valley Local Plan and Proposal 7.8 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan. A planning application was submitted in March 1991 for residential development, hotel, restaurant, function room, visitor centre, Tudor village, car parking and recreational open space on the combined site of this and Proposal STA8, but had not been determined at the time of preparing this Plan for deposit due to an outstanding S.106 legal agreement.

STA5 Land on east side of Northend Road to be developed for employment purposes, including appropriate riverside and canalside landscaping. STA5. This is a level, vacant, privately owned site of 0.4 hectares, located within an industrial estate of Knowl Street north east of the town centre.  Light industrial units, preferably single storey, are considered the most appropriate form of development, given the valley bottom location and proximity to the canal, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, and to the Staley Way footpath. Suitable planting alongside the canal would be an essential requirement of any development, which should seek to protect and where possible to enhance the setting of the SSSI, in accordance with policies C2 and C4 of this Plan. 

Outline planning permission for 6 industrial units (Use Classes B1 & B2) was granted in February 1993, and in October 1993 permission was granted to vary a condition on that earlier approval so as to include Class B8 storage and distribution use. This is effectively a continuation of part of Proposal 8.14 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan.

STA6 Land at High Street and Quarry Street, adjacent and to the rear of Quarry Street Mill, to be developed for housing. STA6. This is a 1.9 hectare vacant and overgrown site situated beside the Futura Company's factory, a short way south west of the town centre. The site is divided into two sections, the northern part facing High Street being flat (a one time bowling green) and separated from the higher, sloping ground off Quarry Street to the south by a steep bank. The land is bordered to the west and south by extensive residential areas. Outline planning consent was granted in August 1990 for residential development on the southern part of the site. The northern part has outline planning consent for industrial development granted in November 1990 but the owners do not wish to proceed with such use and it is considered that housing development would be appropriate for the combined area. Outline planning permission for residential development on the site as a whole was granted in December 1992.
STA7 Land at Staley Hall Road and Spindle Avenue to be developed for housing. STA7. This is sloping, unused "L" shaped site of 0.7 hectares, situated at the end of Staley Hall Road in the Copley area off Huddersfield Road. Planning permission to build 18 dwellings on the site was granted in October 1989, and amended in January 1992 to 19 dwellings. Any scheme will need to provide a continued pedestrian access from Staley Hall Road to the adjacent Staley Way footpath and ensure adequate screening of the development from the Staley Way. The site also has a frontage onto the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Any development must therefore seek to protect and where possible to enhance the setting of the SSSI, in accordance with policies C2 and C4 of this Plan. This is a continuation of Proposal 8.1 in the North East Stalybridge Local Plan.
STA8 Land to the west of Huddersfield Road, south of Stayley Hall Farm, to be developed for housing.

The sloping ground alongside Staley Way to be retained as open land.

STA8. This is a site of 10 hectares located in the Copley area and currently in use for agricultural purposes. The greater part of the field is gently sloping but it drops more steeply and unevenly to the Staley Way footpath on the western side. Surroundings are residential to the south and east, with the Tame valley to the west. To the north the field continues as far as Staley Hall, although split artificially in this Plan to form Proposal STA1. The land was zoned as open space in the North East Stalybridge Local Plan but it had been regarded as a reserve site which would eventually come forward for residential development, lying as it does along the established Huddersfield Road urban spine and outside of the Green Belt.

Any development must avoid the sloping ground alongside Staley Way to the west, where there is a designated Site of Biological Importance.  This will reduce the developable area to around 7.8 ha. Any development must also include a planted buffer on the top of the slopes and provision of footpath links onto the Staley Way. This proposal in conjunction with the development of STA9 will require the provision of a new primary school in the Copley / Millbrook area (the preferred location is at STA12). This site is also the subject of the outstanding planning application described in the explanation to Proposal STA1.

STA9 Land between Huddersfield Road and Buckton Vale Road, Millbrook, known as St James' Field, to be developed for housing. STA9. This gently sloping, open land site of 12.5 hectares situated to the north of Millbrook village, which sees limited use for grazing horses, has been earmarked for release for development for a number of years. Its immediate surroundings are open to the south and west, with housing to the north and community uses to the east, and it forms part of the established urban spine on the Huddersfield Road axis. 

This proposal is basically a continuation of proposals 7.0 and 7.1 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan, except that there is no longer any requirement for a local employment area to be included within the site. The development is to be serviced by a new distributor road that will link Huddersfield Road to Buckton Vale Road, and is to include amenity areas and appropriate screening and landscaping, particularly along the eastern and southern boundaries. The development must also have due regard to the importance of the stream sides, which are designated as a Site of Biological Importance.  The cricket pitch to the south will be retained as the core of a green wedge separating the new housing from the existing village which is now a Conservation Area (see Proposal STA19). 

The scale of the housing development will contribute to the need for a new primary school in the Millbrook / Copley area (see Proposal STA12). An outline planning application for residential development on the greater part of this site was submitted in March 1991, but whilst the Council was minded to approve this in September 1991 subject to the signing of a Section 106 Agreement, this was still outstanding in July 1995.

STA10 Land at Lake Road to be developed for housing. STA10. This is a mostly level, Council owned site of 1.3 hectares, situated within the housing estate at Ridge Hill north of the town centre. The land is currently maintained as a grassed amenity area but has been identified as suitable for release for development, subject to satisfactory ground conditions being established.
STA11 Land on north side of School Lane to be developed for housing. STA11. This is an unused, gently sloping field of 1.2 hectares, situated to the north of recent new housing development in Carrbrook and to the east of Huddersfield Road. The site is allocated for housing development in Proposal 6.8 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan, as part of a larger area which has since been mostly completed.  The junction of School Lane with Huddersfield Road cannot be used as a main access point without substantial works to improve safety. Outline planning permission for residential development on this site was granted on appeal in July 1992, and a detailed application for 24 dwellings on the major part of the site, along with the improvement of School Lane and its junction with Huddersfield Road, was approved in March 1995.  An application for a further 7 dwellings on the remaining part of the site was submitted in April 1995.
STA12 Former Brushes Quarry and Brushes Rangers playing fields off Brushes Road to be reclaimed partly for the development of a primary school and partly for upgraded open recreation purposes. STA12. This disused, open site is located on the eastern edge of the built up area at Copley / Brushes, and includes a long abandoned and overgrown quarry and two football pitches which are no longer maintained. The Brushes Rangers Club was wound up a number of years ago and the clubhouse demolished. The whole area has potential for a comprehensive reclamation scheme that would include some hard development and recreational use.

It is envisaged that part of the site east of Harridge Avenue (around 1.6 hectares) will be developed for a new primary school, needed because of the extent of housing development envisaged in the Copley / Millbrook area (see Proposals STA8 and STA9), with the rest devoted to the laying out of two new football pitches with informal landscaping. The playing pitches will be an integral part of a development on the site, given the shortage of facilities in Stalybridge.

STA13 The section of the former Huddersfield Narrow Canal which has been filled in south of Grove Road, Millbrook, to be re-established for through navigation. STA13. The restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for through navigation is a key long term objective of the Council, which is reiterated in Policy L10 of this Plan. Action has already taken place or is in progress at various locations, under joint working arrangements, to repair locks and dredge stretches of the canal, and this is likely to continue. To further extend the length which is navigable, it will be necessary at this point west of Millbrook to re-excavate, on a slightly altered line, a 300 metre section of the canal where the original route has been filled in to allow the construction of electrical switch gear.

The canal is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, and restoration proposals must be designed as to avoid damaging its value for nature conservation. This proposal has the same objective, but goes further than, Proposal 94 of the Tame Valley Local Plan, which sought to protect land to facilitate linking of the canal sections. Planning permission was granted in February 1995 for the restoration of this Hartshead Infill section of the canal and for ancillary works.  In the same month, the Council received notification that Derelict Land Grant had been awarded for this scheme.

STA14 Public open space at Gorse Hall to be enhanced for informal recreational use, with improved paths, landscaping and play area. STA14. This is a substantial area of, in most parts, steeply sloping open land lying between Dukinfield and Stalybridge, to the south of the town centre. Owned by the Council, it was at one time the grounds of an old hall and contains an area of dense woodland in the centre, although the greater part of the site is covered by rough grass and has a rather bleak and neglected appearance. The land has links with housing estates at both Broadbent Fold to the west and Hough Hill to the east, and has a main approach from the edge of the town centre opposite the site of the proposed canal basin (Proposal STC16).

The land is already in use for informal recreation but little has been done up to now to realise its considerable potential for landscape enhancement and further recreational development, such as through tree planting and footpath works. In respect of the prominent northern end of the site, this proposal is a continuation of Proposal 97 in the Tame Valley Local Plan. In early 1995, the Council was awarded grant assistance towards improvement measures in this area.  It is intended to combine this with funding from nearby industrial firms and from the local Groundwork Trust, so that work can start during 1995.

STA15 Land between former Grey Street sports ground and Fern Bank to be laid out for use as informal open space, as an extension of such use on the former sports ground. STA15. This Council owned land is situated within the residential area between Mottram Road and Mottram Old Road, to the south east of the town centre. It comprises a small sports ground off Grey Street which is no longer maintained as such, and a narrow strip of wooded stream valley linking this to Fern Bank. Together these represent an important amenity for the local area, with small scale measures required to enhance their appearance and use as an informal open space, including if practical a footpath through to Fern Bank. This is similar to Proposal 8.10 in the North East Stalybridge Local Plan, which covered the sports ground only.
STA16 Land on north side of Huddersfield Road and off Richmond Street and to the rear of Copley Park, to be upgraded to improve its use for recreational purposes and enhance its appearance.

To include extension of Copley Park through to Staley Way.

STA16. This site is situated just north east of the town centre and the majority of the open land, which includes both level and sloping areas, is in Council ownership. Most of the land is already in use for open recreational purposes but parts are overgrown and as a whole it is in an unattractive state and in need of environmental improvements and further landscaping.

Part of the site is utilised by travelling fairgrounds and it is envisaged that in order to complement this use, additional car parking could be included in the improvement scheme. The Staley Way footpath, formed from an old railway track, runs along the western side of the site and more effective integration with this facility is desirable, especially in the vicinity of Copley Park. The site is also well placed to complement the town centre canal link project and regeneration of the Knowl Street area (see Proposals STC11 and STC17), and to assist with playing field needs of St. Pauls School. The proposal is basically similar to Proposal 96 of the Tame Valley Local Plan and to Proposal 8.3 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan, although the latter covers a larger area and includes some work which has now been carried out.

STA17 Site of the former Hartshead Power Station to be reclaimed and landscaped, for use for open recreational purposes. STA17. This extensive, disused and derelict site is situated between the River Tame and Printworks Road / Spring Bank Lane, in the valley just east of Heyrod village, but excludes the Norweb 132kv substation and a smaller electrical installation which both remain operational. Although the majority of the power station buildings have now been demolished and the site basically levelled, much unsightly debris and base structures are still present, especially north of Spring Bank Lane.

A comprehensive reclamation scheme is therefore needed, including the removal or treatment of any contaminated material which may be present.  If this necessarily involves some importation of fill, effective traffic management measures will be required on roads leading to the site for the duration of such operations. The lagoons to the south of Springbank Lane should be retained as a water feature. The site of the power station, including the lagoons, will provide a valuable open recreation area in the heart of the Tame valley and Green Belt between the population centres of Mossley and Stalybridge, and make a suitable location for a visitor centre.

In January 1993, planning permission was granted by the Secretary of State for the Environment for the reclamation, by landfilling and restoration, of the former power station, and for the change of use of the site to a recreation facility including a riding centre, a fish farm, ancillary landscaping and car parking. The U.D.P. proposal is similar, although not identical in detail, to Proposals 89 and 91 of the Tame Valley Local Plan and to Proposals 5.2 and 5.8 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan. 

STA18 Former Millbrook Sidings and adjoining land between Buckton Vale Road and the Huddersfield Canal, to be reclaimed where necessary and laid out for open recreational uses.

To include retention of existing woodland and additional landscaping as appropriate, and extension of the Staley Way footpath from Grove Road to Scout Green.

STA18. This is a large tract of, in most places, level or gently sloping unused land, situated in the Tame valley and Green Belt north west of Millbrook village and extending for nearly a mile from Grove Road to Scout Green in Mossley. The sidings and coal stocking yard were abandoned upon closure of the nearby Hartshead Power Station some years ago. The site is mostly bordered by open land including Stamford golf course, but the extensive proposed housing site at St James' Field (STA9) lies immediately to the south east.

In the northern, upper part of the sidings and at Scout Green cutting natural vegetation has rapidly regenerated to form a dense young woodland, and this area has been designated as a Grade A Site of Biological Importance. Along with the established Hartshead woodland between the canal and the former railway, this area should be retained and managed for nature conservation, with sensitive treatment to remove or make safe the remains of the original infrastructure.

In the lower sidings and depot area to the south nature has been less successful and there is a clear need for a comprehensive reclamation scheme. This could involve removal of structures, treatment of possible contamination, re-grading to form a more natural landform (which could require limited import of inert fill) and landscaping, with existing water features retained and enhanced. This part of the site has potential for both formal and informal recreational use, which could help to meet increased demands arising from the large scale housing developments proposed in the Millbrook area.

The Staley Way footpath currently reaching Grove Road from the south should be extended through the length of the site, although avoiding Scout Green cutting where natural regeneration has been particularly successful, and the Hartshead nature trail revived. The former goods shed is an interesting building which has potential for conservation in uses more in keeping with a recreational theme.

Planning applications were submitted in March 1991 for use of this site for golf course extension and environmental open space, and (on part of the area) for reclamation by landfill and restoration.  These became the subject of appeals against non-determination within the statutory period and were subsequently dismissed by the Secretary of State for the Environment in January 1993.  The U.D.P. proposal is similar, although not identical in detail, to Proposals 86 and 87 of the Tame Valley Local Plan and to Proposals 5.3 and 5.4 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan.

STA19 The clough on east side of Grove Road to be retained and enhanced as woodland and for informal recreational use.

The cricket ground and part of the stream side and adjoining land to be retained along with the clough, as a green wedge between Millbrook village and proposed new housing to the north (STA9).

STA19. This wooded clough and adjoining area of level and gently sloping land is situated to the west and north of Millbrook village. The area serves as an important wedge of open land helping to separate the proposed residential development to the north (STA9) from Millbrook village and to provide a link with the main part of the Tame valley. The area also has nature conservation value, with the stream sides being classed as a Site of Biological Importance. Future treatment needs to be considered in association with Proposal STA9, but some landscape and footpath work is likely to be appropriate. This is basically a continuation of Proposal 92 of the Tame Valley Local Plan (for the clough area) and Proposals 7.2 and 7.3 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan.
STA20 Brushes Valley between Walkerwood Reservoir and Huddersfield Road to be reclaimed, re-shaped and landscaped where appropriate, for use for informal recreational purposes as part of Stalybridge Country Park. STA20. Stalybridge Country Park is divided into two areas, the other section being the Carr Brook valley a mile and a quarter to the north. Proposals MOS10 and MOS11 are concerned with parts of the Carrbrook section. This proposal however, relates to the current extent of the country park south east of Millbrook village, on the almost entirely Council owned land below Walkerwood Reservoir. This attractive valley, which contains a mixture of steep slopes and level areas, along with a small reservoir and patches of dense young woodland, is fringed by residential areas on parts of its north and south borders but was at one time considered for further landfill.

However, it has recently been enhanced through removal of concrete towers, clearance of debris, footpath provision, planting and other environmental works, although scope remains for additional improvement measures to be undertaken as available resources permit. A wardens office / visitor centre has been constructed, and planning permission was granted in June 1994 for the provision of a car park. This proposal is similar in intent to Proposal 95 of the Tame Valley Local Plan and to Proposal 7.7 of the North East Stalybridge Local Plan, although the latter also dealt with Green Belt addition (carried out) and covered a much wider area of the valley.

The Brushes valley as a whole extends for a considerable distance into the higher ground to the east of the defined country park. This larger area has great potential for informal recreation given its wide range of landscapes and habitats including rock faces, wetland, woodland, reservoirs and dark moors. There is also potential for pedestrian and horse riding links from there to Chew valley in Greenfield, the Peak District National Park, Hollingworth and the Longdendale valley, and more closely to Carrbrook and the Tame valley. The pursuit of recreational opportunities on the higher ground beyond Stalybridge Country Park must however take full account of the interests of nature conservation. A draft brief has been prepared for this larger area and discussions have been started with landowners (mostly North West Water) on initiatives to further develop recreational use and appropriate land management and wardening beyond the confines of the country park itself.

STA23 Land in the Acres Brook valley, south of Cheetham Park, to be retained for nature conservation, with enhanced footpath linking through to Cheetham Park. STA23. This is a steeply sloping wooded clough following the stream running down from the Matley area at Woodend Lane to the edge of Cheetham Park, in open land immediately south of the built up area which extends out along the Mottram Road axis. Along with Eastwood, the clough is a Grade A Site of Biological Importance. It is hoped to be able to achieve a natural extension of Cheetham Park into Acres Brook Clough, preserving the trees and protecting the bird sanctuary. The footpath along the valley would be enhanced where necessary, improving access and providing a linkage between the Matley area and the park, but the area would be managed primarily for its nature conservation value.
STA24 St. Paul's Churchyard and Graveyard, between Huddersfield Road and Illingworth Avenue, to be landscaped and improved to form a local amenity and open space. STA24. The condition of St. Paul's graveyard, located to the east of the town centre, has been a cause for concern for a number of years both to local residents and the church. It requires a considerable amount of environmental improvement, including clearance of overgrown vegetation and restoration of pathways, with the aim of providing an attractive open amenity area in the heart of the Copley district. The existing tree cover is a particularly important visual feature that must be kept. It must be remembered also that a right of burial exists on this ground and is still exercised. It is not the intention to develop the area as a formal "park" but as an attractive area of local amenity open space. This is in effect a continuation of Proposal 8.4 in the North East Stalybridge Local Plan.
STA28 Land to the rear of 174 - 194 Mottram Road to be developed for a low density housing scheme, incorporating the existing tree cover. STA28. This site of approximately 2.4 hectares comprises the extensive and mostly lawned garden areas behind several large dwellings on the western side of Mottram Road.  The land slopes gently and then more steeply down towards Acres Brook, where the wooded clough is designated as a Grade A Site of Biological Importance. There are a number of mature trees within the STA28 site itself, as well as semi- wooded lower slopes verging with the SBI, which are the subject of Tree Preservation Orders.  Part of the site, to the rear of 194 Mottram Road, has had the benefit of outline planning permission for residential development, first granted in February 1989 and renewed in March 1992. 

Development of the area allocated as STA28 must be carried out in a co-ordinated and comprehensive manner, and the Council will prepare a development brief to resolve important issues including access, tree protection and ecology. It is expected that a single new access point on Mottram Road will serve the whole development, and that scope may exist to replace certain existing individual drives facing Mottram Road with new access points at the rear. Particular care will be needed over the future use and management of the environmentally sensitive lower slopes. A relatively low density housing scheme will be appropriate for this site, in view of its characteristics and the various factors that need to be addressed.

STA29 Oakwood Mill, off Grenville Street, Millbrook, to be converted and rehabilitated for residential use. STA29. Oakwood Mill is a traditional, but increasingly dilapidated mill complex, which has been designated as a Grade II Listed Building. It is a dominant feature within Millbrook village, which is designated as a Conservation Area.

The mill has been used on a small scale basis for industrial / commercial purposes over recent years, but access and servicing difficulties, potential disturbance and outmoded layout make it unsuitable for intensified use.  The acceptability of future residential use was recognised in the North East Stalybridge Local Plan, approved in 1989, but the subsequent Conservation Area designation and the listing of the mill makes it particularly important that every effort is made to secure such use through conversion and rehabilitation, rather than redevelopment. The resolution of access problems will be a requirement of any scheme which is put forward.

STA30 Land at High Street and Gorse Hall Drive to be developed for housing. STA30. This is a 0.5 hectare, Council owned vacant site located just outside Stalybridge town centre, on the south side of High Street, alongside the driveway which leads up from that road towards Gorse Hall Park. There are schools on the eastern and western sides of the site and steeply sloping informal public open space to the south.  It has been envisaged that the land would be developed for affordable housing, in the form of a resale covenant scheme involving a private sector partner. The number of units would be around 23, although no planning application had been submitted by May 1995.
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