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  • Writer's pictureNoel

Places for Everyone and the fate of the Green Belt

Places for Everyone (formerly the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework), which proposes to build around 30,000 houses and 2 million square metres of warehousing in the Green Belt across Greater Manchester, has been assessed as “sound” by the Planning Inspectorate and is scheduled to be formally adopted by the councils by the Local Elections. When it is adopted, over 2,200 hectares (equivalent to ~3,000 football pitches) of land will be removed from the Green Belt. With the GMSF now formally declared sound, Oldham is bringing forward its Local Plan, which will enact the policies in the GMSF at the local level. If you are confused, we don’t blame you! Hopefully this post will make things a little bit clearer.

There were originally twelve allocations on protected land in Oldham, and around half of them have now been saved. Here are their fates:

  • Thornham Old Road (Royton) – SAVED

  • Hanging Chadder (Royton) – SAVED

  • Cowlishaw (behind Crompton & Royton golf club) – DOOMED

  • Kingsway South (High Crompton/Rochdale) – SAVED

  • Beal Valley (Shaw) – DOOMED

  • Royton Moss/Broadbent Moss (spans Royton/Derker/Watersheddings/Sholver) – DOOMED

  • Alderney Farm (Moorside) – SAVED

  • Stakehill (spans north Chadderton/Rochdale) – DOOMED

  • Woodhouses (Failsworth) – SCALED DOWN from 260 houses to 30

  • Rosary Road site (Medlock Vale) – DOOMED

  • Coal Pit Lane site (Medlock Vale) – DOOMED

  • Robert Fletchers mill site (Greenfield) – DOOMED (had its housing quota increased by 50%)

We were incredibly lucky to save Hanging Chadder. Peel appealed its removal from the plan, but the inspectors rubber-stamped its deletion after considering our flooding evidence. Bury Council also submitted a request to delete Walshaw, in similar circumstances to Hanging Chadder, but they were not as fortunate as we were and the site remains allocated.

Throughout the examination, several Labour promises were broken:

  1. The plan dropped its “brownfield preference policy”. This means that the Green Belt sites will targeted by developers on the day they are released from the Green Belt. Oldham Council approved this amendment.

  2. The plan dropped 31 additions to the Green Belt. As well as taking land out of the Green Belt, in line with Andy Burnham’s pledges, other land would be added to replace it. However, 31 of the 49 additions were quietly dropped halfway through the examination, including those proposed in Oldham. This increased net Green Belt loss by 26%. Oldham Council approved this amendment.

  3. The plan dropped its commitment to build 50,000 affordable homes. This commitment also included 30,000 homes for social housing. Oldham Council approved this amendment.

On balance, we have probably had more success in achieving our immediate objectives than many of the other Green Belt groups. The problem we faced was that we were opposing a policy from a Labour dominated council, motivated by its insatiable avarice for council tax revenue. Ultimately, we only have ourselves to blame: we elected these omadhauns and, in doing so, handed them a mandate to rob our green spaces from us.

Oldham could have opted to leave the GMSF like Stockport did, and committed to protecting the Green Belt by adopting a “Brownfield first” approach just like Stockport is doing in its Local Plan. As a result Stockport will be a far better place to live, and aspirational young people will choose to live in towns like Stockport over Oldham.

200 club

Since we have not had to litigate to save Thornham Old Road and Hanging Chadder, that means the 200 club fund (which was ring-fenced specifically for these two allocations) is sitting in our account in its entirety. This means that all of our 200-club members will receive full reimbursement in line with the terms and conditions of their membership once the council formally adopts the GMSF, which we expect it to do before the May elections.

Local Plan

Many of you will also be aware that Oldham has put its Local Plan out to consultation. Whilst the Local Plan is not without its problems, you will be relieved to know it does not propose any allocations in the Green Belt. We will do a separate blog post on the Local Plan in the coming days, but this is not something that our supporters need to respond to in order to protect the Green Belt.



Feb 21

Should I cancel my direct debit donation or wait until the council formerly adopts GMSF?

Feb 22
Replying to

Please note that all contributions you have kindly made to our fighting fund Janet, will be returned to you in full, should they not be required. Thank you again, for the generous support you have given throughout the entire campaign.

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