Protection of green spaces and ancient woodlands our priorities

Saving the borough’s green spaces and ancient woodlands should be an ‘absolute and clear commitment’ in the new Local Plan, say Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Councillors.

In their response to the consultation on the Local Plan published by Oldham Council, the Liberal Democrat Group has called for ‘the strongest possible protections from development for Green Belt, OPOL (Other Protected Open Land) and other green spaces not included in those categories’.

Planning spokesperson, Shaw Councillor Hazel Gloster said: “It was clear from the howls of protest with which the public responded to Labour’s Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plan to build on our green belt that our beautiful countryside is as precious to them as it is to us, and the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for it.”

In March 2017, the Full Council approved a policy proposed by the Liberal Democrats that: ‘new housing development should first take place on brownfield or derelict sites, on sites with existing planning permission; and by converting long-term empty mills, shops and offices into homes; and that existing long-term empty homes should also be brought back into use, before any consideration is given to allocating green-belt or other protected open land for housing’.

“Our position is simple. We believe that there is no need to build on any of Oldham’s green spaces,” commented Councillor Gloster. “We want the Local Plan to reflect the policy adopted by Council. In the latest Places for Everyone plan, approved by Labour despite our objections, green belt sites elsewhere in Oldham have been removed from development, so with more work they can do it in Shaw and Crompton too”.

The Liberal Democrats are also delighted that the Local Plan refers to the need for greater protection for the borough’s ancient woodlands and veteran trees, something they asked for at the December 2020 Council meeting.

Councillor Gloster added: “We want the Council to refuse approval to any development which requires the destruction of ancient woodland or which goes against our established policy favouring tree planting. For the sake of our planet, we need to save the ancient trees we have and plant many more new ones.”

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