Bolton Liberal Democrats submitted a motion calling on council leader Cliff Morris to withdraw Bolton from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and instead focus on bringing empty homes and brownfield sites back into use.

Plans put forward under the GMSF has the potential to see 1000+ houses being built in Astley Bridge & circa 3000+ across the North of Bolton. With road infrastructure & services already buckling under pressure from severe lack of investment over the last 10-15 years, Bolton Lib Dems believe the plans are not fit for purpose.

The motion was supported by all three opposition parties, but voted down by the ruling Labour group. Cllr Cliff Morris & 9 other leaders from across Greater Manchester will now make the final decision on how the plans will take shape – with publication of these plans being mid 2017.

Warren Fox said, “Bolton needs it’s own housing plan that works in the interest of residents in Bolton, not developers. Of course developers want to build on the more lucrative green belt sites, but that is not what we want. We have an ideal opportunity to regenerate our town centre’s, bring empty homes back into use, and rebuild eye-sore brownfield sites. We shouldn’t be hoodwinked into thinking we have to build on Green Belt. WE DON’T!”

Proposals put forward by Bolton Lib Dems called for the Council to dip into it’s vast £204million worth of reserves – a figure higher than Manchester City.

Read the full motion here:

Council accepts the need for a supply of new housing in Bolton, but believes that attempts to identify a 20 year land supply for housing risks too many uncertainties and believes it would be more advisable to forecast over a shorter period such as 15 years.

Council further accepts that the town’s current infrastructure is unable to cope with existing developments, and that considerable investment is needed before any further development of open land, particularly in the north and west of the Borough, is contemplated. Council notes that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework does not identify how the significant investment needed is to be funded.

Council also accepts that the vagueness of the proposed ‘North Bolton Strategic Opportunity Area’ means that if it was incorporated into the final Framework, it would inevitably mean that virtually any application in that area, which includes areas of Greenbelt and Protected Open Land, would have to be approved.

Council notes that there are approximately 4,800 dwellings that are empty, brownfield sites where applications have been approved, but where development has not started comprise a further 4,200 dwellings and that there are sites for another 408 dwellings where development has started but appears to have stalled. Council believes that concentration should be on these before any building on Greenbelt or Protected Open Land is contemplated.

Council resolves;

  1. That Bolton should withdraw from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and requests the Leader to do that;
  2. To expand and strengthen measures to bring empty homes back into use;
  3. To explore a range of measures (including where appropriate CPOs and joint projects with private builders and social housing providers) to ensure that brownfield sites which already have planning permission, but where building has not started, or where development appears to have stalled, to achieve development of those sites;
  4. To review the Mills Strategy and the Allocations Plan to identify further brownfield sites that could be used for housing;
  5. Explore various sources of funding to make meaningful progress on initiatives, including lobbying Government, using and re-prioritising Reserves or prudential borrowing.

Bolton News reports:

1. Council to face calls to withdraw from controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework housing plans
2. Bolton Council will not pull out of controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework homes plan

2 thoughts on “Protect Bolton’s Greenbelt: Withdraw from the GMSF

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