IN the weeks since my last Bury Times column the health landscape both locally and nationally has unfortunately worsened.

At the time of my previous column the number of cases and rate of infection was falling and we were just above the threshold for the coronavirus restrictions to be eased.

Unfortunately since then we have seen a dramatic spike in Covid-19 cases, putting us at risk of further restrictions being imposed.

Not all however is bad news, since then we have had schools return and a number of businesses such as the beauty sector and soft play areas able to reopen locally.

And I would like to pay tribute to all those involved in these reopenings as Bury gets back to the workplace.

As the health landscape has been in a state of upheaval due to the pandemic, we have also seen more and more residents enjoying their local landscape for some recreation and relaxation.

This is a landscape which is under threat though due to the fast-approaching Greater Manchester Spatial Framework process, which threatens to concrete over huge swathes of our green spaces at sites like Elton Reservoir and Simister which would become unrecognisable from what they are now.

Since my election I have joined my Greater Manchester Conservative colleagues in speaking to ministers in opposition to these plans and making representations regarding the woefully out-of-date and inaccurate local housing need figures for which the housing numbers (although not the site allocations) is based.

It is important to remember that the decision on site allocations is not one of central government but from the Combined Authority, which has been backed a number of times by Bury Council.

Central Government has thus far provided millions in funding to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to bring forward brownfield sites to mitigate the need to build on any and recent discussions about the new planning white paper with the Secretary of State highlighted a need to protect and enhance our Green Belt and an understanding that the housing figures do need to be reconsidered.

The GMSF is due to be republished in a matter of weeks with it going to Bury Council for their approval in November.

In doing so I ask them to do the right thing, not only for the residents that they represent but for the local landscape that we all enjoy, and vote against the GMSF and start the process of creating a local plan as a matter of urgency.