New funding for brownfield housing development is being made available for councils to bid on and Oldham’s Liberal Democrats are calling on Oldham Council to “play a leading role” in shaping Greater Manchester’s bid.
Liberal Democrat Leader and Shaw representative councillor Howard Sykes MBE has written to senior council officers urging them to ‘get the best possible outcomes’ for the borough.
Councillor Sykes said, “We keep seeing developers pushing for four- and five-bedroom developments on green belt land. This style of development is doubly unwelcome because it harms the environment without providing homes for first-time buyers. Councils rarely get the financial support to drive brownfield development, so Oldham Council must seize this rare opportunity and strive to play a leading role in shaping any Greater Manchester bid.”
The Liberal Democrats argue that a successful bid for brownfield development would be in keeping with Oldham Council’s stated objective to ‘make Oldham a place where every resident, as well as those looking to settle here, can find a home they want at a price they can afford.’
Oldham Borough is home to many brownfield sites, notably derelict mill buildings and former industrial sites. These are often viewed as undesirable by developers as they say the clean-up costs can negatively impact on developer profit.
Councillor Sykes said, “Funding from central government was always going to be needed if we want to offset the clean up costs and bring brownfield sites back into use instead of relying increasingly on precious green belt land. This is a key levelling agenda item. There will be a lot of other local authorities putting their own bids in so Oldham Council’s leadership must act with a comprehensive and thorough bid, in partnership with our colleagues across Greater Manchester, so that we are at the front of the queue.”