1,000 jobs ‘at risk’ as homes plan revealed
FEARS OF BOSSES ON INDUSTRIAL ESTATE AS SITE OWNERS SAY A BUILDER HAS SHOWN INTEREST IN DEVELOPING SITE
BUSINESS owners fear for their livelihoods after a letter revealed plans to sell off an industrial estate for up to 260 new homes.
Bosses at Fieldhouse Industrial Estate, in Rochdale, say as many as 1,000 jobs could be lost if the scheme goes ahead. Firms had their worst fears realised when landlord BizSpace
wrote to them confirming plans to redevelop the site were being ‘explored.’ A letter to around 70 businesses says a housebuilder has shown interest in buying the site - off Whitworth Road, Syke - and ‘converting it for residential use.’
It stresses the proposal is ‘absolutely not a done deal’ and would be subject to planning consent. But bosses’ anxiety deepened after they discovered BizSpace had set out more detailed proposals in response to the latest Greater Manchester Spatial Framework consultation.
Companies based at the industrial estate say any such move would come as a crushing blow and many would struggle to relocate. Dave McCann, who owns Pioneer Gas Ltd, said “The impact financially is going to be astronomical.
“There’s nowhere to move to, and then there’s the cost of moving, which is obviously extortionate.” Rochdale council wants at least 460 homes to be built in the borough every year, to ensure housing supply is meeting demand. It is also committed to developing on brownfield sites where possible.
Mr McCann says businesses would fight plans for housing but felt they would be up against the odds. He said: “We are going to fight it, but I’m not a solicitor, I’m a motor mechanic.” A spokesperson for BizSpace confirmed businesses had been made aware that plans were under consideration. He said: “We will update them when there is any firm news.
“Whatever the outcome, we are committed to supporting our small business customers, treating them fairly and helping them continue to operate and grow their businesses,” he said.
Some of the business owners and staff who work on the industrial estate