Countryside and Together Housing buy challenging brownfield site off Homes England

What chemical site in Littleborough, Rochdale will look like

Housebuilder Countryside Partnerships, part of the Vistry Group, and local social housing provider Together Housing Group have bought the former Akzo Nobel site in Littleborough, Rochdale from Homes England.

Having secured planning permission for the site in April, 126 new homes will now be built on the brownfield site under the Bovis Homes brand.

Countryside Partnerships – then under the name Vistry Partnerships – was originally selected by Homes England to build the development in 2021. The site had long been earmarked for housing, benefitting from a draft allocation in the Places for Everyone plan – Greater Manchester’s long-term plan for new jobs, homes, and sustainable growth.

The controversial site used to house the Akzo Nobel factory which processed chemicals for use in fabric softener until it closed in 2004 and was demolished in 2008. 

The land is a challenge for development due to historical contaminants, including asbestos, flood risks and the presence of old clay mine workings.

Environmental Analyst reported in 2019 that the site had a troubled history. In 2005 Bellway Homes withdrew plans to develop 280 homes following contamination fears. In December 2006, Woodford Group also the scheme failed to materialise. 

Plans for a 174-home estate stalled in 2015 after a council review discovered old mine seams. 

Homes England acquired the land for £10m in 2017. 

Andrew Poyner, Managing Director of Countryside Partnerships Yorkshire, said:

“We have worked closely with Homes England and Together Housing to bring forward the proposals and by using the strengths and choice of Vistry Group we can also utilise the Bovis Homes brand for the first time in this region, delivering a mix of quality new homes that will appeal to a wide range of customers.”

Antony Ward, Group Director of Development at Together Housing Group said: “We invest in communities and places to improve the lives of local people and this Joint Venture will help us to achieve this.”

Jon Irvine, Northern Development Director of Homes England, said: “Homes England is delighted to be working with Countryside Partnerships to deliver 126 new homes on this sustainable, brownfield site.  The high quality scheme will bring the site back into meaningful use, 16 years since the closure of the former Akzo Nobel works.  We look forward to seeing this mixed tenure scheme coming forward and will continue to work in partnership with Countryside to support housing delivery on the site.”

It is expected that works will commence on site this summer with the first homes available in 2024.

Homes England was advised by Trowers & Hamlins, Savills and Pell Frischmann.


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