WITH controversial proposals for the redevelopment of Foxdenton about to be discussed with concerned residents, reporter Lucy Kenderdine sat down with the man behind the plan, Grasscroft Property managing director Mike Coulter.
CHADDERTON lad Mike Coulter grew up a stone’s throw away from the site he is hoping to turn into a £100 million development of 500 homes and industrial units.
After attending Radclyffe School and Oldham College, Mike went on to Leeds Metropolitan University, receiving a first-class honours degree in building and knew he had found his calling.
“I’d always been very interested in building and development,” he said. “I spent most of my summer holidays working for building companies in Oldham, learning what I could about the industry.
“After graduating, I started work as an engineer with smaller companies but I jumped at the chance to work on a detailed building research project at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology with Bardsley Construction.
“It was supposed to be a two-year project but after three months they asked me to stop doing the research and offered me a job.”
Mike, now 44 and a Greenfield resident, went on to become a director, and eventually set up his own business.
“Our first project was a small housing plan in Chew Valley Road but it was also our first experience of working with the Seddon Group (partners in the Foxdenton scheme). Working with them is the perfect recipe for success: we bring knowledge of the area, they have the resources.”
Mike’s business now employs five people; Foxdenton will be its biggest challenge and planning permission is the first hurdle.
If the plans are approved early next year, the currently privately-owned land will be transformed into a 120-acre site with bespoke industrial units, new homes and a new park.
Local residents have objected strongly over traffic management, a lack of school places and disruption to public footpaths.
Mike said: “I understand the concerns about what the impact will be on local residents. But some of the positives of the development, such as a spine road directing traffic away from Foxdenton Lane, and the public park we aim to create, have been grossly overlooked so far.
“Bringing this development will mean Oldham is able to compete when national and international businesses come looking for somewhere to create a base. It will bring money to the area and will be a vital part of the regeneration of Oldham.
“I’m an Oldham lad – and proud to be working on something that will have an incredible impact on the borough I grew up in.”