James's latest letter to the Minister

Bury North MP James Frith has again written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government over the government’s housebuilding targets, which are set to force Bury to hand over green belt land for development.

The new draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will be released in January and the legally binding target for new homes set by the government is 207,000 across GM. However, independent projections carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that only 154,000 homes will be needed.

ONS figures have been used by governments for over 40 years to determine housing targets. The current government has created a new methodology to meet its political target of 300,000 new homes per year.

James said: “We need new homes but we also need to protect our precious green spaces. If the government followed the tried and tested method of household projections used since 1977, we would only have to build 154,000 houses across Greater Manchester to meet demand and could meet this number largely from brownfield land.

“However, the government has created a new methodology to meet its own political targets and has set GM a figure of 207,000. This means Bury, which has the lowest proportion of brownfield sites in the whole city region, will have no choice but to hand over green belt for development.

“I’ve asked the government to think again, but I’ve also been working closely with the council and Mayor Andy Burnham and I’m confident that the amount of green belt given up in Bury North will be much lower than originally planned, despite the government’s actions. I’ve also sought assurances on road improvements, public transport improvements and new amenities such as schools to meet any growth in demand through new housing.”

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