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Residents say “NO” to building on greenbelt
Thursday 7th February 2019 @ 15:52 by Lee Wild
News

Concerned residents gathered in Hyde this week to give plans to build on greenbelt in the area a resounding”NO!”

Around 50 people gathered upstairs at the Queens Hotel Hyde on Monday night to discuss their opposition to the second draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF).

The ‘Save our Greenbelt’ group have been campaigning since the first draft of the GMSF in October 2016. However, their numbers have now swelled following the announcement of the second draft last month.

The new plans show two main developments throughout Hyde and Stalybridge, which the group are campaigning against.

The first is the well-known Godley Green Garden Village, which is a plan to build 2,350 new homes on land between Hattersley and Gee Cross.

The second is two sites designated as ‘South of Hyde’, which include plots of land off Bowlacre Road and Apethorne Lane. The plans say the two sites could yield 440 new homes close to the Joshua Bradley and Tameside/Stockport border.

The Save Tameside Greenbelt group are strongly against any development of green space and put forward a number of brownfield sites that could be built on before rural land is used. Brownfield land is land that has been previously developed but no longer in use, such as the former ABC Waxworks site or the Mill that used to house Christy Towels.

The main topic of discussion was how to stop the land that is included in the plans being declassified as as greenbelt. The group say this would stop any development dead and force planners to look elsewhere. 

Under the GMSF each of the ten boroughs of Tameside have annual targets to reach on housebuilding to provide over 200,000 new homes across Greater Manchester over the next 20 years. Tameside has the lowest target of all 10 combined authorities, needing to build an average of 466 homes a year over the next 20 years, providing an extra 8,850 homes.

The group argues that the two sites discussed way exceed the stated target of 466 homes a year and that the houses built will be profiteering off the greenbelt.

Issues around transport were raised, with campaigners saying that the A560, along which the new houses would be built, is already one of the busiest roads in the area and gridlocked at peak times. The crowd were shown pictures of the train service from Woodley station into Manchester at peak times which showed packed carriages and no seats.

Two primary schools in the area, Dowson Primary Academy and Gee Cross Holy Trinity, are already oversubscribed and campaigners say that with the planned new developments no allowance has been made.

The leader of the meeting, Caz Evans, said “Progress isn’t made without protest” and urged those gathered to object to the new plans.

All of the local councillors were invited to attend the meeting, but only Phil Chadwick, Conservative councillor for Hyde Werneth, attended. He’s been a member of the group since it’s inception and is strongly opposed to any building on greenbelt land.

He said: “Stalybridge and Hyde Conservatives have been involved with The Save Tameside Greenbelt group from day one. We have attended public meetings, been on the public march, attended a conference in Manchester and helped at local fete’s and other events. 

“We do not feel the infrastructure is in place to accommodate all the extra cars that these developments would bring, and there is simply not the school places for the extra children, not forgetting dentists, doctors etc. 

“The area is defined as greenbelt, to stop the unrestricted urban sprawl of large built up areas, in order to prevent Stockport and Hyde from merging into one another. 

“We are not against building houses, just the destruction of the greenbelt, because once it’s gone, it’s gone!”

The group are encouraging anyone who would like to object to now do so. More information is available on their Facebook page “Save Tameside Greenbelt” and you can submit your comments to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority directly at www.gmconsult.org/communications-and-engagement-team/gmsf/ .