HUNDREDS of residents took to the streets yesterday to protest against controversial plans to build homes on green belt in Bury and Radcliffe.

Organised by the Bury Folk Keep It Green group, the march set out from Elton High School and followed a five-mile route through Walshaw, Lowercroft and Radcliffe before finishing at Elton Reservoir.

Under the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), the region's vision for jobs, homes and the environment until 2037, 3,500 homes have been earmarked for green belt farmland close to the reservoir.

Meanwhile, up to 1,250 homes are also planned for land on either side of Walshaw Road, stretching from Dow Lane to Scobell Street in Tottington.

James Mason, from Bury Folk Keep It Green, said: "The turnout was great considering the poor weather. It sends a clear message to our leaders that they need to reduce the loss of green belt for Bury."

It was the second major protest undertaken by the group — the first being held in January 2017 – and protestors were encouraged to wear green for the march, which took place on St Patrick's Day.

Among those who joined in were MPs James Frith and Ivan Lewis, as well as Bury's Conservative leader Cllr James Daly.

Emma Richardson and her family had travelled from Scarborough in North Yorkshire to take part.

She grew up in the area before moving away 20 years ago, but decided to protest after hearing of the proposals.

She said: "I am totally devastated about the proposed plans for roads, non-essential housing and destruction of the beautiful area I grew up in as a child. 

"I felt by bringing my family along to the walk would show solidarity from someone who once lived there."

Jane Leston, of Edgeworth Avenue in Ainsworth, also took part in the walk.

She said she believed the proposals would "devastate" the area.

"Bury cannot take that many house on the green belt. It will have a knock-on effect throughout the area," Ms Lester added.

"The thought of losing the area around Elton Reservoir is appalling. It is a gem of natural green space in the middle of lots of houses, and people should be able to enjoy it."

The march came a week after Simister residents braved the wind and rain to protest against plans to build on green belt land surrounding the village.

Armed with banners and placards, campaigners walked from the Farmer's Arms pub to Bowlee and back to highlight their opposition to the proposals.

Under the revised GMSF, a large portion of land surrounding the village will be transformed into an industrial site called the Northern Gateway, which could potentially create 25,000 jobs. 2,700 homes have also been earmarked for the site.

According to the revised masterplan, a total of 9,500 homes need to be built across Bury.

In the latest draft released in January, the net loss to green belt land was cut by 40 per cent. Now down to 12 per cent, a fifth of the borough’s green belt was originally marked down for development when the first draft was released in October 2016.

To view the GMSF plans and find out more information, visit

The public consultation will close at midnight tonight. To take part in the consultation visit