A ROW has broken out over the future of Bury’s Green Belt — after a bid to make council policy state that it is inappropriate to build on such land was voted down.
Bury’s Conservative group submitted a motion to last week’s council meeting, asking for reference to building on the Green Belt to be removed from the council’s Core Strategy.
The document sets out the town’s housing, employment and retail needs until 2029, and was recently thrown out by an independent inspector.
Bury Council says there is only space for 400 houses to be built per year, without allowing developers to build on the Green Belt.
The Tory group asked councillors to rubber-stamp a motion which also sought to remove land at Gin Hall in Walmers-ley, and references to harnessing wind power from the strategy and any future development plans.
However Labour councillors voted against the motion, after the borough solicitor warned that passing it could be illegal, because it could impinge on decisions made by planners.
Conservative group deputy leader Cllr James Daly told the meeting: “The motion doesn’t seek to do anything different. It simply seeks to reinforce what we already do.
“As a council we should stand or fall by our commitment to the Green Belt.”
In response, Cllr Sandra Walmsley said the council would stand firm in its commitment to protect the Green Belt, but that it could not accept the proposals.
She said: “Developers are pushing for more and more land to build on, and we will not bow to this pressure. We have been unwavering in our approach to Green Belt boundaries.”
An amended motion which removed references to Gin Hall and wind energy was subsequently passed with the support of Labour councillors.
It also stated that the council would take more time in assessing the independent inspector’s concerns before determining its course of action, and that a report in reaction to issues raised would be presented to the council’s Cabinet at a later date.