THE Shadow Housing Secretary has announced that Labour will unveil commitments to protect the green belt in the party’s upcoming manifesto.

John Healey visited Bury at the invitation of James Frith, who is seeking re-election as MP in the upcoming General Election.

The pair visited green belt sites earmarked for development in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), with thousands of homes set to be built within the next twenty years.

Under the current draft of the framework, which Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has been a key component of, 12 per cent of the borough’s green belt is set to be used for housing and industrial development.

Mr Frith said: “I have fought for two and a half years to protect our precious green belt, locally and nationally.

“The green belt allocated for development in Bury, Tottington and Ramsbottom was reduced significantly in the second draft of the GMSF following representations by me and others but more can be done.

“If the Government used the latest household projection figures to determine housebuilding based on need and not an arbitrary political target, we’d be able to protect all of our green belt.”

However, the Conservative candidate for Bury North has blasted Labour for their previous record in Greater Manchester.

Cllr James Daly, who is hoping to turn Bury North blue, said: “Labour are trying to ruin the green belt in Bury and they have done nothing to protect it. Their only plan is to ruin the greenbelt.

“The plans are there and were put forward by Labour, so it is ironic that they say they’re going to keep it.

“I have previously said we should put ten million towards setting up a new property development to help build affordable housing, but they turned it down.

“They’ve done literally zero to provide affordable homes – they have done nothing.”

Mr Frith added: “I’m delighted that Labour has made clear that we will protect the green belt and adopt a brownfield first approach.

“Local Tories may promise to protect our green belt but with senior Ministers like Liz Truss saying we should build 1 million homes on the green belt I think it’s clear what their true intentions are.”

Bury North is set to be a tight contest at the election, with Mr Daly hoping to turn over a Labour majority of 4,375.

The green belt has been a leading point of conversation in Bury, with candidates promising to protect it and build purely on brownfield.

The number of houses that would be built in Bury is set at 9,500 under the current masterplan for Greater Manchester.