HISTORY is about to repeat itself with protests over homes for Bury’s green belt.

Protesters against plans to release part of Bury’s green belt for development under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will march from Elton High School to Elton Reservoir on St Patrick’s Day ­— the day before consultation on the framework is due to end.

This is the second major protest by the Bury Folk Keep It Green group, following a major protest in January, 2017.

The group is angry that Bury Council is suggesting releasing 12 per cent of green belt land to accommodate its allocation of 9,500 homes.

The main housing sites in the latest draft are in Walshaw, around Elton Reservoir and at the Northern Gateway, comprising Simister, Bowlee and Whitefield.

This is a reduction from almost one-fifth of the green belt which was earmarked in the original framework, but campaigners feel aggrieved that it would be the third-highest figure in Greater Manchester ­­— while the figure for other authorities is four per cent.

The Northern Gateway is a major part of Bury’s allocation and would also bring huge investment to the town.

But what is concerning is the uncertainty that appears to have emerged over the housing figures being used in the framework.

Councils say they have understood the numbers to be prescriptive from the government and if they do not put forward reasonable proposals to accommodate the number of homes, the decision will be taken out of their hands.

But during a Parliamentary debate last week, a minister said that the figures are only a guideline and does not set the number of homes that needs to be built.

People are entitled to protest and share their views about the proposals ­— that is what consultation is all about. Campaigners need to feel their voices are being heard and alternatives are being looked at.