Estuary Park Property Holdings Ltd is the landowner of Shaw Distribution Centre, Linney Lane, Shaw (‘the site’). Following announcements by the Very Group and Yodel it is seeking to secure the long term sustainable future of this key brownfield site and is bringing forward plans for a new residential scheme including recreational open space.
Before submitting a planning application to Oldham Council, we want to hear the views of local people. What do you think about our proposals? What type of properties would you like to see delivered in Oldham? What issues would you like us to consider in preparing our plans? What do you like or dislike about our initial proposals?
Please take a moment to take a tour of our proposals to find out more about our scheme and provide your feedback.
Following the ceasing of operations on site by The Very Group and the recent announcement by Yodel to relocate operations from Shaw Distribution Centre, Linney Lane, Shaw, we have been investigating potential future longer term uses for the site. We are now in the process of preparing an outline planning application for new housing at the site however, before this is submitted to Oldham Council we want to hear your views on the draft proposals.
The Site and its Surroundings
The Site shown in red adjacent extends to approximately 12.3 hectares (30 acres) in area and constitutes a major brownfield development site within in the settlement boundary of Shaw.
Ownership and Occupancy
The entirety of the site is owned by Estuary Park Property Holdings Limited. In terms of occupancy the site can be loosely split into two distinct parcels as shown adjacent:
The Very Group
The northern portion of the Site was previously occupied by The Very Group. Following a public announcement in 2018, operations have now ceased and the business has relocated from the site. As a result, the buildings formerly occupied by the Very Group (i.e. BCS Warehouse, Elm Mill, Lily Mill 1 and 2) are now vacant. This has created concerns for Estuary Park Properties in ensuring that the site remains secure 24/7 and opportunities for anti-social behaviour, vandalism and crime are limited.
In September 2020 Yodel released a statement confirming that the business intends to invest in a new North West Super-Hub to meet increasing demand. As a result, Yodel will be relocating from the southern portion of the site within the next 5 years. The existing machinery on-site is ageing and increasingly expensive to operate effectively.
The site comprises a number of existing buildings including 3 non-Listed Mills (Elm Mill, Lilly Mill No. 1 and Lily Mill No. 2) together with two large, purpose-built modern warehouse distribution facilities for the storage and sorting of goods. The remainder of the site contains a series of ancillary structures and areas of hardstanding used for vehicle parking/ storage. It is accessed from Linney Lane to the north and Beal Lane to the south.
The site has historically been used for a range of employment uses. For the past 40 years, it has been in use as a distribution centre and warehousing for Littlewoods and subsequently The Very Group and Yodel. However, in light of the current occupiers announcing their intention to vacate Shaw Distribution Centre and competition from new business locations with better access to the strategic road network, the site has become less attractive for ongoing employment use.
The site is surrounded by development on all sides and is bound to the North by Linney Lane; to the East by the River Beal; to the South by Beal Lane, and to the West by the East Didsbury to Rochdale Town Centre Metrolink line which bisects Shaw from North to South.
The River Beal runs south to north along the eastern edge and is culverted through the majority of the site. There are areas of flood risk within the site which the proposals will seek to address to the benefit of the local area.
In wider terms, the site is situated a highly sustainable location within walking distance of Shaw Town Centre to the west and excellent public transport provision. The surrounding area is predominantly residential in nature, with some commercial employment provision to the north and south.
Why are New Homes Needed Here?
Providing a diverse housing offer that is attractive and meets the needs of different sections of the population at different stages of their lives is a key priority for Oldham Council. However, over the past few years there has been an under-delivery of new homes across the Borough, particularly family housing.
In order to delivery more homes whilst protecting greenfield land, there is a need to ensure that brownfield sites, such as at Linney Lane, come forward for development to help contribute to the Borough’s housing offer in sustainable locations.
We aim to deliver well-balanced, healthy, and sustainable development that meets the needs of the local community. By redeveloping a brownfield, or previously developed site, the proposals will help reduce development pressure on surrounding greenfield land.
Our proposals have been informed by comprehensive technical and market assessments with a contextual approach taken to design. As shown on Illustrative Masterplan our proposals seek to deliver:
The site will continue to be accessed from Linney Lane to the north and Beal Lane to the south. A new secondary access is also proposed to the north east of the site. In order to prevent rat running there will be no vehicle through route between the northern and south parcels, although an emergency access will be provided.
The proposals will be delivered in a phased way with the vacant buildings in the north of the site proposed to be redeveloped first followed by the buildings in the south once Yodel has relocated to its new North West Super Hub.
The outline planning application to be submitted to Oldham Council will be supported by a suite of technical assessments which will be publicly accessible via the Council’s online planning register once validated. Extensive pre-application discussions have taken place with the Council and other key stakeholders which have helped shape the proposals.
A summary of the key technical considerations of relevance to the site is set out below.
Following the departure of The Very Group, Estuary Park Properties has moved to secure the buildings to prevent safety and security issues arising. The expensive of securing the site is being taken on by Estuary Park Properties however there are concerns that this will not be sustainable in the longer term. In order to prevent the buildings falling into a state of disrepair and negatively impacting on the surrounding area, as has been seen elsewhere in the Borough, these proposals have been development to secure the long term sustainable future of the site.
The site contains 3 historic mill buildings (Elm Mill, Lily Mill No.1 and Lily Mill No. 2). Whilst these buildings are not statutorily listed heritage assets they form a recognisable part of the local townscape and are considered to be non-designated heritage assets. As such, in developing the proposals the first step was to investigate whether the mills could be converted to alternative uses or in some way be re-used. To inform this process guidance was sought on heritage, townscape and viability matters. Ultimately, given the practical difficulties in converting the buildings for residential use; the lack of market for apartments or continued employment use; the location of the mills within the site, and regeneration benefits that could be generate from a cleared site, it was not considered viable to retain them as part of the proposals.
A detailed heritage statement and archaeological desk-based assessment will be submitted with the application together with a full justification of the design approach taken.
As noted above, as part of the design options explored, the potential to retain employment uses on site has been assessed. A marketing exercise was undertaken to ascertain the level of interest from local businesses. However, very limited responses were received and based on the quality of competing employment sites in the Borough alongside viability assessments, the site’s ongoing use for employment is not considered to be feasible in the longer.
We understand that the potential impact on the local road network will be a key concern for many. We have therefore worked closely with the Council to ensure that all the necessary assessments have been undertaken to understand the implications in terms of traffic. Whilst the development will generate additional vehicular movements this will be offset by the removal of HGV traffic associated with current operations. The site is also located in a very sustainable location and new residents will be encouraged to walk, cycle and use public transport.
A detailed Transport Assessment will be submitted with the application.
It is acknowledged that the site contains areas of flood risk associated with the River Beal and surface water flooding. Extensive pre-application discussions have been held with the Environment Agency and the Council to agree an approach to reducing flood risk on site and to improve the situation locally, especially across Linney Lane. The proposals include the opening up of the River Beal, reduction in the amount of hardstanding and incorpoataiton of sustainable drainage measures all of which will contribute to reducing flood risk on the longer term.
A detailed Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy will be submitted as part of the application.
The proposals will generate significant community benefits locally. This could include:
The planning application is being submitted in Outline with all matters reserved except for access. This means that we are applying for the principle of housing at the site and the location of the proposed access points. All other details such as appearance, layout and landscaping will then need to be agreed with the Council at a later stage through the submission of a Reserved Matters application. We are indicatively looking to provide the following mix of dwellings although this would need to be formally agreed at a later stage:
It is proposed that the scheme will be developed from north to south over a circa 7 year construction period, subject to when Yodel relocates to its new North West Super-Hub. It is important to note that Yodel will continue to operate whilst the northern portion of the site is redeveloped with works commencing on the south portion following Yodel’s departure.
No. To prevent ‘rat running’ there is no through route proposed between the north and south of the site. However, an access for emergency services is proposed which will include a bollarding system, or similar, to prevent others drivers from using the route.
Yes. The proposed open space will be publicly accessible and will be open to new and existing residents. New footpaths are proposed alongside the opened up River Beal to aid access and enjoyment.
Following the end of the public consultation on Tuesday 17th November, we will take into consideration the comments received and look to incorporate them into the scheme design where practicable. Subject to the comments received, it is anticipated that a planning application will then be submitted later in 2020.
The consultation has now closed. We are currently in the process of considering all feedback received. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views with us.