Over recent weeks, both Salford City Council (The Local Plan*) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GM Spatial Framework**) have launched consultations on the future of development in the area, which includes proposals to lose 500 hectares of green belt land plus green spaces.
Irlam and Cadishead will see the loss of almost 300 hectares of green belt in order to build 2,250 houses, Boothstown and Ellenbrook will lose 50 hectares, Hazelhurst Farm in Worsley will lop a further 31.2 hectares, and the Port Salford expansion in Irlam another 122.2 hectares.
Last week, Salford Council issued a press release which centred on the creation of new `garden suburbs' for Boothstown and Irlam and Cadishead – without mentioning once that they were to be created on green belt land.
"People in Boothstown have told us they don't object to development" stated Derek Antrobus, Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development "They just want to make sure it's supported by a new road and school places. The plan will ensure that is delivered."
This has met with absolute fury by local residents, led by Boothstown and Ellenbrook Councillor Bob Clarke, who told the Salford Star "I have written to the Mayor expressing the views of many Boothstown residents, that they are vehemently opposed to any erosion of the green belt.
"Councillor Antrobus has used previous statements in connection with housing developments within Boothstown to justify yet another land grab" he added "We will await the Mayor's response."
A petition to Stop the proposals for houses to be built on our green belt!, objecting to the `thousands of new homes that are proposed on land between Higher Green Lane in Astley and Boothstown along with Pennington in Leigh, Mosley Common and Little Hulton', has already been signed by over three hundred people (see here)...
The petition ends by stating "Consultation is currently open for people to object, however it is not being publicised enough and the website is very difficult for people to work through - it's as if the decision has already been made!"
Yesterday, Walkden South Councillor Iain Lindley was horrified to discover that 16.4 acres of green land on Hilton Lane in Little Hulton, is to be `disposed' of by Salford Council.
The decision was made in secret under Part 2 of the Council's Property and Regeneration Briefing, with three developers, Bellway, Morris and Redrow Homes, on the short list to purchase it. However, the land, it appears, is still subject to Salford Council's Local Plan consultation...
"It's a disgrace that the City Mayor is trying to sell this green field site to developers on the quiet while a consultation on the future of the site is still ongoing" Councillor Lindley told the Salford Star "How can residents trust the Local Plan consultation when the Council is actively trying to sell sites to developers that are out for consultation?"
Now, Worsley and Eccles South MP, Barbara Keeley, has issued a statement also objecting to the green belt sell-off, centring on objecting to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework...
"I was deeply concerned to hear that under proposals in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework large areas of green open space in Worsley and Eccles South, including sites at Boothstown, Worsley, Irlam and Cadishead could now be at risk due to residential development" she wrote
"I have real fears about these proposals" she added "Local infrastructure is already stretched to capacity and traffic congestion is intolerable. I have campaigned for action to tackle the traffic misery but so far no solutions have come forward. Local public transport simply cannot cope with the extra demand without investment in greater capacity.
"I have raised serious concerns about any potential development on local Green Belt and green open spaces in Worsley and Eccles South in response to previous consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework" she explained "Like local residents I want to see this land protected and not carved up to meet Greater Manchester-wide development targets. I will be commenting on the latest proposals and I will continue to fight alongside local people for the protection of our much loved green open spaces."
*For further details on Salford Council's Local Plan, with links to the current consultation, see previous Salford Star article – click here
**For further details on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, with links to the current consultation, see previous Salford Star article – click here