HUNDREDS of people marched in protest against plans to build thousands of homes on green belt land across Bury today.

The Bury Folk Against Manchester Spatial Framework group walked from Elton High School to Elton Reservoir on Monday morning to highlight their opposition to the proposals.

More than 12,000 new homes are earmarked for sites across the borough under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plans, which were revealed last year.

Bury residents have until January 16 to submit their objections through the consultation process.

James Mason, whose protest group now has more than 3,000 members, said: “I think Bury Council and the Greater Manchester Combine Authority have underestimated the strength of people’s views on this.

“Unfortunately, I am still bumping into people who don’t know anything about these plans.

“We have delivered 13,500 leaflets about this and there are still people who don’t take notice.

“Everyone in Bury has to be made aware of what the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is and how it will affect them.

“It has been our pressure that has made the council push back the consultation deadline and we need to keep it up.”

Among the projects under consideration are a major employment site on almost 500 hectares of green belt near Pilsworth and 3,500 homes around Elton Reservoir.

The full plans will be available to view at a drop-in session at Bury Town Hall’s Elizabethan Suite from noon to 7pm on Friday, after which the protest group will be holding a public meeting.

Cllr Iain Gartside, Bury Conservatives leader, attended the march and said: “There has been a fantastic turnout and I think it shows how passionate the people of Bury are about protecting their green areas.

“I am sure this will be the first of many similar events that will send a real message to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and all of the planning authorities in the area.”

Kath Cameron, from Walshaw, added: “All of the green land we have seen around us on this walk is land that they want to use for housing. There is no way our infrastructure can cope with it all.

“The plans are absolutely massive and we need to make sure that everyone in Bury knows about them and not let the developers have their way.”

The protesters marched through Walshaw and Starling, before moving into Radcliffe to finish the walk at the reservoir.

Eric Dixon, of Sharples Drive, said: “My family moved here 20 years ago because it was a green area that would be a great place for our children to grow up.

“To see that developers want to destroy that land is almost beyond belief. There is so much other open land in the borough that isn’t green belt, so they should be building on that first.

“The infrastructure around our area just could not cope with another few hundred houses.”

Cllr Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “I think it is fantastic that so many people came out to voice their opinions.

“I would urge them to take part in the formal consultation, which closes on January 16, so their opinions can be formally taken note of.

“I am committed to engaging as many people as possible, which is why I secured the extension to the consultation process, which had been due to end on December 23, and why I have offered the free use of the Elizabethan Suite at the town hall for the group’s meeting on Friday.

“It is the policy of Bury Council to prioritise development on brownfield sites. A housing target has been set for us of 12,700 between now and 2035 and there is not enough brownfield land to deliver that level alone, without encroaching onto the green belt.

“I will be actively reviewing the consultation responses received from Bury to ensure those views are taken into account.”

Copies of the GMSF can be viewed at, in Bury libraries, and at Bury Town Hall.

Responses can be made online at; emailing; or by post to: Greater Manchester Integrated Support Team, PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester M60 2LA.