At a full council meeting on Wednesday 9 November- Councillor Howard Sykes asked the following question
Leader’s Question – 3000+ Home Threat to Shaw and Crompton Green Belt
Mr Mayor, My first question to the Leader this evening concerns the recently launched public consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
Not a very catchy title I am sure you will agree, but nonetheless a document that should command the attention of every member in this Chamber – and particularly any with an interest in the future of our Borough’s Green Belt.
The ten local authorities in Greater Manchester have drawn up plans to meet the projected future need for 227,000 new homes in the county, some 13,700 of them in this Borough.
This may seem an awful lot for Oldham, but Shaw & Crompton and Royton is really being targeted by the developers and may be even Oldham Council as we shall be expected to accommodate almost three thousand new homes plus vast tracks of land for industrial development.
These plans represent a massive land grab in our area and the devastation of our local Green Belt as new properties will be built at Cowlishaw, in the Beal Valley, Rushcroft, the Whitefield Farm area over to Newhey and around Gravelhole and Low Crompton.
Oldham Liberal Democrats firmly believe that our precious Green Belt should be protected.
Our Green Belt and open spaces are one of the things that makes us unique in Greater Manchester. Some of us are old enough to remember those posters ‘Oldham a town in the country’ – it was true 20 odd years ago and is even truer now.
New homes should first be built on former industrial Brownfield sites. Existing planning permissions need to be actioned. We should first look to build on derelict and unloved sites in our town centres and districts, convert every empty mill and factory into housing, force developers to build on sites already given planning permission, and bring Empty Homes back into use.
Only when all of these things have been done should we even consider developing vast tracks of our Green Belt.We miles away from that stage yet.
And we also need to take account of the massive additional burden this will place on our local services and infrastructure. These new houses will mean a lot more cars on our busy roads, many more children needing local school places, more demand for medical centres, shops, and leisure facilities.
I recognise that everyone has the right to live in their own home and be adequately housed but the local burden seems to have been placed disproportionately on Shaw and Crompton and to be fair Royton.
So can the Leader please tell me tonight what this Council will be doing to fight to protect our precious Green Belt from wanton development and what representations will be made to press the demand that there will be sufficient advanced investment to meet the increased demand placed onto our facilities and infrastructure in Shaw and Crompton and elsewhere in our Borough?
Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Oldham Council