PLANS for development of Chew Brook Vale in Greenfield has been almost halved and kept to just the brownfield mill site according to the new Places for Everyone proposals.
The housebuilding masterplan, formerly called the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), is a long-term plan for jobs, new homes, and sustainable growth in the region.
GMSF originally proposed building 171 homes and 8,500 sqm of employment space on the site of the former Robert Fletchers paper mill and the surrounding area.
The GMSF collapsed after Stockport Council voted not to go forward but now the other nine Greater Manchester boroughs are supporting the new Places for Everyone proposals.
Under the new plans, the development at Chew Brook Vale has been reduced to 90 homes, with development just on the brownfield mill site rather than the nearby green belt.
Overall, the Places for Everyone final plan incorporates eight proposed allocations of land in Oldham: seven housing and one employment site.
The Government says Oldham needs 12,800 homes by 2037 to meet housing need. 7,712 of these are on brownfield sites. Mixed sites (brownfield and greenfield) can cater for 1,410 homes. Green belt allocations will provide up to 2,176 homes.
At a special meeting of Oldham full council, 37 members voted to approve the plans for the borough, with 16 councillors voting against.
Labour councillors said their hands were tied by Conservative house building targets and planning rules that meant they can’t force developers to build on brownfield land.
Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Hannah Roberts, said: “Places for Everyone will give our green belt the quickest protection.
“It provides a five-year land supply across the nine boroughs removing the threat to our green belt and OPOL and will come into force at least a year before our local plan.
“It is a significant improvement on the first version of the GMSF. It is the better option for Oldham.”
However, Liberal Democrat group leader Howard Sykes moved an amended motion, which called for the council to opt not to sign up to Places for Everyone and instead do their own local alternative.
“Labour members will be attempting to sugar the poisoned pill of the plan,” he told the meeting.
“It remains our belief that the borough’s housing needs can be met without irreparable and inevitable damage to our green belt.”
“Places for Everyone will not only destroy much of the green belt in my district but it represents a tsunami to our already creaking infrastructure.”
He was supported by Lib Dem Cllr Sam Al-Hamdani who added: “We have improved on this plan before, we can improve on it again.”
Conservative group members also spoke out against the Places for Everyone proposals.
Saddleworth North ward Cllr Luke Lancaster, who is also Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Myself and my group colleagues have long held the position that we do not support a Greater Manchester-wide joint development plan.
“Such an arrangement cannot place local people’s priorities at the centre in the way a unique borough plan could.
“We continue to have concerns with this rehashed GMSF.
“While we welcome the reduction in green belt allocation for development, we know that local people want to protect all their green spaces without exception.”
Conservative group leader Cllr Graham Sheldon added: “The people of this borough are now quite fed up with the way this council ignores their wishes and pushes forward with any plans to please Mayor Burnham.”
• For more information, visit www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning-and-housing/places-for-everyone