Bury North MP James Frith hosted a packed public meeting in Walshaw this week on the second draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, bringing together residents from across Tottington and Bury to discuss the protection of our green belt.
Over 200 residents attended the meeting, which was also addressed by Bury Council leader Rishi Shori and Chief Executive Geoff Little.
A key focus of discussion was the figures councils have been asked to use to determine housing need by the government. James and local leaders have argued that the government should allow councils to use the most recent 2016 ONS figures, which predict a decline in population and would require the building of 55,000 fewer homes across Greater Manchester. The government insists councils should use the higher 2014 figures.
“Protecting green belt land is a principle which unites us all. I welcome the production of a detailed plan at GM level for jobs, homes and the environment. I welcome the brownfield first approach I’ve long advocated and strides made to reduce the amount of green belt allocated for development in Bury in the second draft. I also welcome the co-operation across boroughs which means that Bury has been able to offload 20%, 2,000 units, from its housing allocation to other boroughs who have more capacity and more brownfield land than we do.
“However, I remain determined to reduce the green belt allocation even further, ideally to zero. If the government allowed councils to use the 2016 household projection figures, we’d be able to do this, only building the homes we need and only using brownfield land.
“When I meet with the Housing Minister in March, I go with the unity of purpose of the whole Bury community behind me to implore him to listen to our concerns and rethink the figures.”