In recent weeks I have been contacted by increasing numbers of residents regarding plans to build on green spaces and green belt land between Heywood and Middleton.
Residents may be aware that in August plans were approved by Rochdale Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee for 159 new homes on land off Hollin Lane and Langley Lane by developers Taylor Wimpey and Wainhomes. Meanwhile, proposals are expected to be submitted before the end of the year for a major industrial and residential development in south Heywood.
These green spaces and many others are extremely important to local people and many will understandably oppose any plans to develop them. In an example of this, residents in Norden formed the Friends of Heritage Green to fight plans for development of land off Cut Lane and to campaign to award the land village green status (pictured above).
Residents who contact me are deeply concerned about urban sprawl, and fear that one day all our green spaces will disappear and the only thing separating Heywood and Middleton will be the M62. I share these worries and I absolutely do not want to see that happen.
I have raised these concerns with Rochdale Council on several occasions and I will be taking part in the next stage of consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework when that begins later this year. You can read more about the Spatial Framework by clicking here.
The Spatial Framework is a plan to make sure the Greater Manchester area has the jobs, the homes and the infrastructure it needs to grow and prosper, and at the same time protect green spaces. This is unquestionably a difficult balance to get right.
Devolution is designed to give local communities more say over their own destiny, so it is absolutely vital that local people have their say, and local government leaders need to take into account the views of residents. Large planning applications are always controversial for very understandable reasons, and there will undoubtedly be difficult decisions to be made in the years ahead.
Local leaders need to involve residents in the decision making process as much as possible, keeping them informed and clearly sharing the evidence for every option.
I am looking forward to seeing the plans in the forthcoming Spatial Framework consultation and I will be encouraging all residents to take part.