Emmerdale star speaks out against Spatial Framework

A NEWHEY actor has begged for the countryside he grew up around to not be ‘destroyed’ by a housing plan.

Ben Gerrard

The latest draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework includes plans to extend the Kingsway Business Park towards the area and High Crompton.

But Emmerdale star Ben Gerrard believes given the scheme, which would also see 700 homes built close to junction 21 of the M62, would essentially ruin an area that has been his home all his life.

The 34-yerar-old fears development will mean his own kids will not be able to enjoy the green space, rolling hills and fresh air.

Mr Gerrard, who plays Will Scott in the ITV soap, said: “It’s a shame this is even being considered. It will ruin quite an attractive village with lot of things going for it.

“The option to take the children on a nice quiet walk on a Sunday through the countryside – all that would change.

“For that to be taken away would be a massive shame, not just to my kids but all the other kids in the area and those whose would potentially live here in the future.”

Local opposition to the site, dubbed Kingsway South, is fierce as marches against proposals to develop on green belt land take place across Oldham.

Thousands of people attended a demonstration at Tandle Hill on March 3 to voice their displeasure at plans, which include building homes on areas including Broadbent Moss, Beal Valley and Thornham Old Road.

The Spatial Framework states ‘significant’ swathes of green belt within the site would be kept in order to maintain a separation between Newhey and High Crompton.

Planners also say the site would benefit from high levels of landscaping, with existing features being retained where possible.

The proposals also include enhanced links with ‘the neighbouring communities and countryside’ and high-end employment opportunities.

But that does not wash with Mr Gerrard, who also appeared on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, as he added: “Once they’ve completed it, they would ruin it. It would not be as desirable as it is at the minute.

“What’s now a nice, quiet village would end up being an overcrowded traffic hotspot.”

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