Letter to papers: Draft spatial framework will lead to massive loss of Greenbelt

1 January 2017

The deadline is approaching for contributions to the consultation on the new GM Spatial Framework, which will have a major influence on future planning and development decisions in Oldham over the next 20 years.

One of the main proposals is a major loss of greenbelt land alongside the M62 and A627M motorways for the proposed Northern Gateway of homes and business premises. The Green Party is opposed to this loss of land. It is driven by road access with only vague reference to the use of rail freight and other means of transport and is incompatible with the need to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

The plan should focus more on the use of brown field sites, high density developments in urban centres, increased use of public transport, cycling and walking. It needs to say far more about improved standards for house building with higher levels of energy efficiency and about the range of options for ownership including housing associations, co-operatives and return to council house building. It also needs to look at unused businesses premises and how to use them before building yet more.

The positives are there in Oldham Town Centre being identified as a focus for regeneration with a focus on carbon reduction and flood management.

But the main headline from the framework is the loss of land to building through removal from the greenbelt. Once it is gone, Oldham will never get it back.

Yours sincerely

Roger Pakeman
Oldham & Saddleworth Green Party

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