CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a block of flats on a former pub site have been delayed - after a blunder by a town hall officials.

More than 240 residents had been concerned about proposals to erect 14 one-bed flats on the site of the former Fytton Arms pub on the Green Estate at Fitton Hill.

But when it came to a meeting of Oldham Council's planning committee, no-one had registered to speak against the scheme.

It emerged that a letter from the planning services department had given a deadline of June 3 for people wanting to address the committee.

This was confirmed to be a typographical error, relating to when the former Fytton Arms plans were last discussed by the same committee in June.

Alan Evans, a council legal officer, said he was "surprised" no-one had contacted the authority to point out the error, as that deadline pre-dated the letter.

But Cllr Elaine Garry told the meeting that if the application had been lodged at the end of her street, and she had been denied the opportunity to make representations, she would be "really, really fed up".

Cllr Gloster said: "I just feel that this is an absolute disgrace. We ask people what their opinions are and then we are happy to go ahead and make a decision when there has been clear representations that they have not had the opportunity to speak."

She told the committee that "not everyone understood" how council correspondence was presented.

And she added: "I am sorry but this is absolutely wrong. This is why Oldham gets such a bad name."

Councillors voted to defer the planning application to their August meeting.

Committee chairman Cllr Peter Dean said residents would then have the chance to nominate a spokesman to make representations.

A petition signed by 247 people, and 12 individual objections have been lodged against plans by Clement Court Properties to redevelop the site.

Their protests had centred around a loss of light and privacy - and the nature of the tenants envisaged for the one-bedroom flats.

But council officers, while stressing that Oldham did not have a five-year supply of deliverable housing.

Planning officer Dean Clapworthy had recommended the proposals be approved, stating: "Assessing the balance of the benefits against the harm, there are no significant or demonstrable adverse impacts that outweigh the benefits provided."

The applicants had also been asked to contribute £30,610 towards the provision and enhancement of open space, which would be directed to St. Martin’s play area on St. Martin’s Road in Fitton Hill.

There would also have to be a contribution to affordable housing equivalent to 7.5 per cebt of the total development sales value.