A former bowling green behind a pub which has been used for festivals, car boot sales and charity events over the years could be turned into housing.
The land behind the Rock House pub in Peel Green Road, Barton, has been fenced off for a number of years but was used ‘extensively’ before that.
Some residents want to turn the land into allotments – something Salford is in short supply of, with waiting lists for a plot in the city peaking at five years.
Two attempts to turn the site into housing have failed so far, having faced opposition from residents – but the brewery behind the plan is trying again.
Salford council’s planning panel will vote on the application at a meeting on Thursday (June 3) where residents will be given the opportunity to speak.
It comes after a petition opposing the proposal received 425 signatures.
Paul McKenzie, who lives in Ashridge Drive, put together the petition and has been leading objections to building on the site behind his home since 2014.
He said: “To take that green space and put a few houses on it is something we don’t feel is necessary.
“While it hasn’t been used as a bowling green, it’s still green space that’s being taken away.
“I know there’s a housing shortage, but eight houses aren’t going to make a big difference.
“We think it’s an asset for the people.”
A bid to build eight houses on the site was refused planning permission in 2014, partly because it is within the Barton-Upon-Irwell Conservation Area.
The impact on properties in Ashford Avenue was also deemed ‘unacceptable’.
Last year, another application for a three-storey block of 30 apartments was withdrawn by housing association ForViva following more local opposition.
Since then, Salford council sold ‘disused’ tennis courts and part of a bowling green nearby in Edison Road to the social housing provider to build 51 homes.
Punch Taverns applied to build six semi-detached houses on the land behind the Rock House pub, but revised their plans after discussions with the council.
The current plans are for six terraced houses in two rows and two semi-detached dwellings, ranging between three and four bedrooms in size.
Paul says many of the reasons for refusal in 2014 apply to the new application.
He also says the ‘untidy’ site has attracted some anti-social behaviour since it has become overgrown, claiming residents have witnessed drug-taking there.
Barton and Winton councillor John Mullen helped residents who tried to list the land as an asset of community value – but their bid was unsuccessful.
Salford has a ‘desperate shortage’ of land for allotments, he says, and this site would be an ideal space for cultivation and also for holding community events.
And aside from Patricroft Recreation Ground, there are no other green spaces nearby, according to the Labour councillor who is Salford’s ceremonial mayor.
He said: “Once that’s gone, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
The outcome of the application is due to be decided by councillors on the planning panel at a meeting on Thursday (June 3) which begins at 9.30am.
Punch Pubs’ operations director Robin Belither said the company is currently awaiting the decision on the planning application to develop the site in Eccles.
He said: “This land has remained unused for over 15 years, and we believe the development will be a positive addition to the area.
“Punch has agreed to make an open space contribution of £150,000, which has been secured through a [Section 106] agreement and will allow the council to deploy those funds locally.
“The council’s report confirms that it is satisfied with all other technical matters, and we look forward to the council’s committee approving this planning application to provide much-needed family housing within the area.”
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