LEADER of Bury Council, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, has rejected Bury North MP, James Daly’s criticism of Places For Everyone.

Last week, Mr Daly called on councillors to scrap the masterplan and follow Stockport Council’s lead in creating their own Local Plan for new homes and sustainable development and in doing so “prioritise the protection of the greenbelt”.

“That argument doesn’t hold water,” said Cllr O’Brien. “We have tried twice and I have yet to hear from the opposition why a third time would magically work.

“What is different now from 2011 or 2014? If anything the situation is harder as we have a Government manifesto pledge to build 300,000 homes a year and the proposals for housing reform which we are deeply worried about.

“The conditions to protect green spaces in a Local Plan are even worse now than when those plans were rejected.”

Mr Daly also said that adopting Places for Everyone will lead to the loss of significant areas of green belt.

“I totally understand the concerns of residents who live in areas were it is proposed that green belt is lost,” said Cllr O’Brien. “But the accusation that this is end of green belt in Bury is just simply not true.

“Over half of the entire borough would still be green belt and in even in some of the proposed sites there will be significant green spaces because we want people to live in places where they can access good quality, publicly accessible green space.

“If people look at the plans they will see that right around Elton Reservoir are proposals for a country park.

“Ultimately if we are to meet the Government’s housing targets some green belt will be lost but the route we are pursuing by coming up with a joint plan with our colleagues from around Greater Manchester means that we will lose far less than we would do if we did it ourselves.

“Stockport is now in a position where they will have to deliver far more homes on green belt land because they are not in this joint plan.”