Greenbelt campaigners keep up pressure over GM housing plan

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to build houses on green belt and green space are stepping up opposition against the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Consultation on proposals contained in the latest draft of the controversial GM homes, jobs and environment plan closed on March 18.

But Save Greenfields Greenbelt (SGG) protestors are determined to keep the planned re-development of sites at Robert Fletcher’s paper mill and especially, Waterside Mill, in the public consciousness.

The group claims there is both national and local evidence to suggest upto 500 homes could be built on already available local brownfield sites.

And they say they have been “overwhelmed” by the community rallying behind their cause but more can still be done.

A spokesperson for SGG told the Independent: “If we do not make our feelings known this will be just the start of easy targets across Saddleworth greenbelt by OMBC to capitalise on high council tax yields from suffering residents.

“SGG are keen to further engage with the local community and form a steering group and community-based event to share ideas as to how we can oppose these plans.

“This may be in the form of peaceful protest and supporting marches.

“We have to act now so OMBC understand the people of Saddleworth will not allow the jewels in our crown to be traded off and that our countryside is not for sale.”

SGG say recent heavy rainfall highlighted potential flooding issues around the proposed housing development areas close to Tanner’s Mill.

They added: “Our plight is not political, it is based purely upon environmental and conservational ethics.

“Once the greenbelt is gone, it can never be replaced. What has also been overwhelming is the support of similar groups across the UK, who are all fighting developments across greenbelt land.

“In some ways this is reassuring that we are not on our own. However, it is frightening local councils have the power to destroy thousands of years ecology and natural habitat and associated wildlife.

“It would appear the greed of local councils is driving economic greed over clean air, safe roads, the protection of endangered species, and the availability recreational community space for all to enjoy.

“Research undertaken by the Campaign to Protect Rural England identified – across the UK – we have enough brownfield land for at least one million homes.

“This land we can use to tackle the housing crisis without unnecessary loss of our countryside.

“We need a brownfield revolution to build the houses we need, regenerate England’s towns and cities, and protect the countryside from unnecessary development.

“So far, we have received offers of legal advice, volunteers have assisted with covering huge areas of Saddleworth undertaking leaflet drops across the area.

“A number of local residents and businesses have assisted by displaying posters in commercial and residential properties.”

• To help and support Save Greenfields Greenbelt email greenfieldgreenbelt@gmail.com for further details.

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