James and John Healey in Walshaw
James and John Healey in Walshaw

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary was in Bury this week to unveil Labour’s manifesto commitment to protect our green belt from development.

John Healey was in Bury at the invitation of James Frith, who is seeking re-election as the town’s MP on 12th December. The two visited green belt sites earmarked for development in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which has to make land available to build 201,000 homes by 2037 – a figure set by the Tory Government.

James has fought to protect Bury’s green belt, making the case for a brownfield first approach and special mitigation for Bury, which has less brownfield land than surrounding boroughs. He has challenged the Government’s use of the outdated 2014 household projection figures to set the number of houses GM must build and called for the use of the lower 2016 projections, which would mean fewer homes and protect Bury’s green belt.

Speaking in Bury, John Healey said:

“I’ve seen how hard James has pressed Tory Ministers over the last couple of years on this, raising it at Prime Minister’s Questions, in debates and in meetings with the Housing Minister.

“He has also worked with me as a member of the shadow housing team to secure this policy commitment to protect our green belt and ensure that we build the houses we need on brownfield land first.

“Local Tories can make empty promises to protect the green belt but the priorities of this Government are very clear. They simply can’t be trusted on this issue.

“The people of Bury, Tottington and Ramsbottom have a true champion in James Frith and a strong voice in Parliament. I urge them to keep their faith in him at the next election.”

James said:

“I have fought for two and a half years to protect our precious green belt, locally and nationally.

“The green belt allocated for development in Bury, Tottington and Ramsbottom was reduced significantly in the second draft of the GMSF following representations by me and others but more can be done. If the Government used the latest household projection figures to determine housebuilding based on need and not an arbitrary political target, we’d be able to protect all of our green belt.

“I’m delighted that Labour has made clear that we will protect the green belt and adopt a brownfield first approach. Local Tories may promise to protect our green belt but with senior Ministers like Liz Truss saying we should build 1 million homes on the green belt I think it’s clear what their true intentions are.”

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