The council has voted to adopt a plan which allows for thousands of homes to be built on green belt land over the next 15 years.

At an often stormy meeting of the full council, the Greater Manchester-wide Places for Everyone development plan was adopted.

The scheme, which has taken around 10 years to finalise, is focused on driving growth and creating new homes and jobs between now and 2039.

The Labour run authority, which supports the plan, faced passionate opposition from Conservative and Radcliffe First councillors.

There was a good-natured protest outside by local campaign group Bury Folk Keep it Green, with around 120 of their members greeting councillors as they arrived at the town hall.

Protesters outside the town hall

Protesters outside the town hall

The public gallery was also full for the meeting with around 30 from the pressure group allowed to attend.

The most contentious aspect of the plan is the allocation of housing in areas of Bury which contain elements of green belt land.

The plan allows for 3,500 homes to be built in the Elton reservoir area, 1,250 in Walshaw and 1,350 in the Simister and Bowlee area.

On jobs, the plan includes the Northern Gateway development in the Heywood and Pilsworth area which is identified as a large, nationally significant location for new employment-led development within both Bury and Rochdale.

The plan has now been adopted by all nine Greater Manchester authorities involved.

Stockport withdrew from the process earlier, citing concerns over green belt loss for development.

Proposing the adoption of Places For Everyone, council leader Eamonn O’Brien said: “There’s no question about it, this decision is one which divides opinion and causes upset, concern and anger.

“Disagreement on this issue does not mean dismissal of the points people make.

“We believe this plan must be adopted as our country faces one of the worst housing crises in modern history.

“Prices are unaffordable and supply too low- and landlord-ism replacing ownership.”

He said that "brownfield only" housing development was not the answer in Bury as there was not enough supply.

He added: “We must have a plan which addresses the lack of supply in housing.

“This plan does that while doing as much as it can to protect as much green belt as possible.”

He added that the plan enabled guarantees that infrastructure would be in place for the new housing estates.

Bury Town Hall

Bury Town Hall

Conservative Cllr Jackie Harris, said: “We all know the strength of feeling about this unnecessary plan to concrete over large areas of our green belt.

“This is a developer led plan to grab as much green belt as possible so they have a buffer giving them the chance to build whatever, wherever and whenever they decide.

“They have also watered down the requirement for affordable housing.”

Cllr Mary Walsh from Radcliffe First said: “This vote has huge ramifications.

“Radcliffe is in a valley, the only accessible place for leisure for those with mobility difficulties is along the canal, that will be lost if you build at Elton.

“The loss of biodiversity and wildlife caused by this cannot be mitigated.

“This is countryside – it’s not just green belt.”

In a recorded, named vote the plan was adopted by 29 votes to 19.

All Labour councillors present voted in favour while it was opposed by all the Conservative, Radcliffe First and Independent members.