OPEN letter to Geoff Little, Chief Executive, Bury Council

RE Impact on Simister due to housing/road infrastructure development under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Further to your recent letter notifying residents of the second draft of proposed GMSF, I feel compelled to write to you with my grave concerns regarding the impact it will have on Simister and its residents.

The term “shell shocked”, would not be over stating the current mood and feelings of the residents in what is being proposed by Bury Council.

I start with your intention to destroy 95 per cent of the green-belt land in and around the village to facilitate a massive house building development.

We are at a loss as to why your planning department has decided to see fit to obliterate most the green space around us.

We are presently a community of several hundred dwellings and you plan to allow private house developers to saturate all available green belt space with the construction of a breathtaking amount of circa 2,700 houses.

I note in your letter you only quote the total borough loss of 12 per cent green belt land.

Your letter mentions briefly a reference to “the unique character of Simister”.

Conversely, your plans are in direct conflict with any attempt to uphold this statement as the construction of 2,700 new dwellings will ensure Simister as a semi-rural community with its current character will be completely obliterated.

Simister seems to be by far the most dramatically affected area within the borough of Bury under the GMSF initiative.

As residents of the borough, we cannot help but notice the wide disparities which prevail between the borough townships.

Some townships appear to be totally unaffected, yet Simister, with clearly an unsuitable geographical location to start from, will face the most negative impact within your current proposal.

You will be aware that Simister is surrounded already by the motorway network.

We as residents, have very worrying concerns about the current level of emissions produced by vehicles using these adjacent motorways.

Furthermore, we endure higher than normal noise levels from the same motorways. Your building proposal does nothing to reduce either of these problems. More than likely it will increase the noise and emission levels throughout the village.

Simister is currently served by one road, plus has very restricted access by a farm track via Heywood road.

The vehicle restrictions in force at present for the farm tracks are being ignored by outside traffic. The problem of cut-through traffic is increasing daily, and the relief road you plan may well aggravate the problem to become even worse.

Your current proposal fails on many levels and will only achieve the following:

• It will destroy virtually all green belt land in Simister. (Not mentioned in your letter)

• 2,000 plus new house dwellers will have to use their cars to enter/exit through the village centre.( Not mentioned in your letter)

• It will require compulsory purchase of properties to accommodate the upgrade/increase in traffic in local roads (not mentioned in your letter)

• It will further reduce the air quality we and our children breathe.(Not mentioned in your letter)

• Thousands of extra vehicles will make Simister a much more dangerous place to live. (Not mentioned in your letter)

• Very few new jobs, if any, will occur for Simister as a result of your plans.

• Your plans do not deliver any type of sustainability for our area.

• Your plans a will reduce our property values and blight our area.

We entrust Bury Council to look after our interests as residents and help protect our quality of life, not be party to what seems to be a huge land grab which will guarantee to damage a small vulnerable community.

I urge you to look again at what is being proposed and engage us positively in that we may assist you in meeting the needs of the borough and equally we may retain some modicum of quality of life.

Chris Jackson

Mount Pleasant