Liberal Democrats propose Local Plan to stop Green Belt development

Liberal Democrat Councillors will be proposing that Oldham Council refuse to participate in Labour’s ‘Places for Everyone’ plan and instead develop only a Local Plan for housing development to save the borough’s Green Belt.

At the special Council meeting (from 6pm, Wednesday 28 July), Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE will be proposing an amendment to the report presented to Council calling for withdrawal from ‘Places for Everyone’ and the creation of only a Local Plan. The amendment will be seconded by the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani.

Councillor Sykes said: “Places for Everyone is simply the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework repackaged; it is still predicated upon the flawed assumption that it is right and necessary to build thousands of new homes on our precious and irreplaceable Green Belt and on other protected open spaces.

Howard Sykes, looking out across Shaw

“Liberal Democrat Councillors have from day one been vehemently opposed to Labour’s green belt land grab,” added Councillor Sykes.  “The policy we have consistently advocated is one of brownfield development only, as well as focusing on building out sites with existing planning permission for housing; repurposing redundant factories, mills, shops and offices as homes, where practical and appropriate; and bringing our empty homes back into use.”

The Liberal Democrat amendment calls for the development of only ‘a Local Plan for the Borough of Oldham, in consultation with the people of this borough, which is focused upon the development of brownfield sites and takes proper account of the infrastructure capacity of each Ward and District’.

“We want to see a Local Plan that meets the housing needs of this borough that is shaped through meaningful public consultation and that also delivers balanced development across the borough which takes account of existing pressures on local health facilities and schools,” explained Councillor Sykes.  “Labour’s plan still favours building hundreds of new family homes in and around Shaw and Crompton, at a time when we desperately need a new health centre, with greater capacity and with more modern facilities, and when our schools are already oversubscribed”.

The Liberal Democrats will be voting YES to the amendment favouring a Local Plan and NO to Labour’s preferred option to join with eight other Greater Manchester local authorities (Stockport has withdrawn) in creating the ‘Places for Everyone’ plan.

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