Conservative Parish Councillors voted to refuse a planning application which could destroy an Ancient Woodland at Ashes Clough and Thornley Brook in Springhead.
Russell Homes had submitted amendments to plans for a major link road through the controversial Knowls Lane development which threatens the Ancient Woodland.
As the woodland falls within the Civil Parish of Saddleworth the Parish Council had a statutory right to be consulted on the application.
It was recently approved by Labour-run Oldham Council but was invalidated due to illegality.
Government agency Natural England has Standing Advice regarding Ancient Woodland under National Planning Policy Framework stating: “...development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists...”
Speaking on the application, which did not alleviate any of her concerns, Parish & Borough Cllr Pam Byrne said:
“Last time I was concerned about the road, culverts and loss of green space. What has changed? I voted against it last time and I shall again. I do not think it is necessary and it will destroy the Ancient Woodland.”
In addition Cllr Max Woodvine, who has thrice voted to refuse, said:
“This development will destroy an Ancient Woodland yet absolutely no evidence, unequivocal nor credible, has been provided to justify the exceptional need for and benefits of this development. That is because there isn’t any need and there aren’t any benefits!”
Chairman of Planning Cllr Neil Allsopp refused saying:
“Part of the development site is designated as Ancient Woodland and lies within Saddleworth. The entire development should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.”
Further refusal came from Cllr Luke Lancaster. He said:
“This woodland is our richest wildlife habitat, having developed over centuries, so losing it would have a detrimental impact on and represent a disaster for our village communities in Saddleworth.”
All Conservatives on the Planning Committee voted unanimously to recommend refusal of the application.
Labour councillor George Hulme, Tree Champion and Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance & Green on OMBC, did not attend the Meeting.