Green Belt safe in our hands

16 Feb 2024
Mark Hunter

Stockport's proposed Local Plan is set to ensure that the borough can deliver 4,000 new homes, without requiring any to be built on the green belt; a vindication of the Liberal Democrats' decision to leave the Greater Manchester Places for Everyone plan. 

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council and of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said: “Stockport’s Liberal Democrats have always been clear that we need the right housing in the right places.  We successfully argued to leave the GM Spatial Framework because the proposals would simply have released Green Belt land into the hands of developers and would have thwarted any attempts at a brownfield-first approach.

“We paused our consultation on our own Local Plan last year when the government made it clear that the rules were going to change, despite pressure from the Labour Group to continue.  The new rules published just before Christmas make it clear that we no longer need to include Green Belt sites and our decision to pause has saved council tax payers some £200,000 in what would have been a worthless consultation.

“The council has already sought legal advice over the best way to proceed and work continues to ensure the policies drafted under the old rules are compliant with the new ones.  Briefings have already happened for Group Leaders, a Local Development Scheme has been published allowing for consultation to commence as soon as possible without compromising the pre-election period, and a formal working meeting is happening today to take the necessary next steps.

“Our Local Development Scheme sets out the precise timings for delivery of an ambitious Local Plan that will deliver housing across the borough.  In the meantime we continue to deliver new housing of mixed tenure, with significant developments well underway including 4,000 new homes within the Mayoral Development Corporation area and beyond.

“Labour in Stockport seem hell-bent on concreting over the Green Belt, putting more profitable plots of land in the hands of developers and thereby stalling any efforts to redevelop our urban core and other, previously developed sites.  We will not allow this to happen on our watch.”

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