A COUNCILLOR has resigned from the planning committee to speak out on green belt issues.

Cllr Yvonne Wright stepped down from the committee which determines major and contentious planning decisions after 18 years as a member.

She had been considering quitting for weeks before resigning with immediate effect on February 8.

The Tottington councillor is a member of campaign group Bury Folk formed in opposition to the Greater Manchester masterplan for jobs and housing which would see the borough lose 12 per cent of its green belt.

She said: “After I joined Bury Folk, I received an email from the council suggesting that I should be careful in the future about declaring interests when green belt proposals come forward.”

Members of the planning committee make decisions based on material considerations set out by law and council policy.

They must declare any interests relating to applications put before them and cannot take part in the decision process if they have already expressed their views on it.

The Bury Folk member opposes developments on green belt sites and therefore could be seen to be prejudicial on certain decisions.

Cllr Wright voted against plans for a 17-acre business park close to the town centre which was approved at a meeting last month.

She said: “As a member of Bury’s planning committee I was incensed, spoke out and voted against the planning application for industrial units for Chamberhall, behind the new police station.”

The Conservative councillor criticised the council for agreeing to the scheme which could create up to 400 jobs on a brownfield site instead of building houses on it.

During the debate, she raised her objections to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework which will involve building houses and a major industrial site on green belt land.

Cllr Wright said: “Bury Council have sole responsibility for housing numbers within our borough. It is their choice to wipe out large parts of our precious green belt, not the government. I have resigned from planning because I believe in protecting our greenspaces for future generations.”

She declared her intentions to resign from the committee on Facebook three weeks ago, promising to “campaign fully” to stop the “destruction”.

In a blog post on the Tottington councillors’ website on January 29, she said: “Due to the enormity of the proposals to build 1,250 homes in Walshaw and the negative impact I believe this will have on your lives, I have decided that I shall step down from this committee so I can now speak out and fully support the campaign to stop destruction of the greenbelt.”

She added: “I will continue to be a vocal champion for Tottington and the borough’s green belt.”

A council spokesman said: "It is entirely a matter for elected members whether they wish to resign from a council committee.”