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  • Writer's pictureNoel

Save the Green Belt petition

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (rebranded “Places for Everyone”) has now been published, finalising Green Belt release across Greater Manchester. Save Royton’s Green Belt has succeeded in getting the two Thornham sites deleted from the plan—although with one more consultation to go we are not counting our chickens just yet! We have not been successful in the south of the town, where Cowlishaw, Beal Valley and Broadbent Moss all remain and will go under concrete if the plan is approved. Even if the plan goes forward without Hanging Chadder and Thornham Old Road, the building will continue into the 2040s and will place a huge strain on Royton’s infrastructure and public services.

To rub salt into the wounds, our Labour-run council has supported an amendment to abolish the affordable housing target for Greater Manchester. Previously, the plan committed to building 50,000 affordable homes over the next couple of decades, but this is no longer a policy. Save Royton’s Greenbelt can also prove the following:

  • Oldham’s 15-year land supply has enough land to supply the housing target. Oldham Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority manufactured a land shortage by mismatching the length of the plan (17 years) to the length of the land supply (15 years).

  • Government policy only requires 10 years of land upfront, and 15 years only if possible (NPPF #68). Oldham Council can meet this requirement without Green Belt release.

  • In the event that a local authority has insufficient land to meet the housing target, it is not required to build in the Green Belt in any case (NPPF 11, footnote 7).

  • Via the Oldham Mills strategy, Labour-run Oldham Council has imposed conservation orders on 48 of Oldham’s 64 unlisted mills, creating a significant obstacle to bringing the land forward for residential housing.

The mask well and truly dropped this week at the Labour Party conference, when the Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, told The Sunday Times in an interview that Labour intends to reclassify tracts of Green Belt as “brownfield” in order to build hundreds of thousands of homes.

Save Greater Manchester Greenbelt has launched a petition to ask the Secretary of State to use his discretionary power to intervene in the plan and put a stop to Andy Burnham's land grab. Save Royton’s Greenbelt supports the concept of a joint plan and believes Oldham could benefit from a regional industrial and environmental strategy, but completely opposes the unnecessary environmental and ecological destruction that is currently proposed. We encourage all of our supporters to get behind this petition.

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