Lib-Dems to 'lead battle' to save Oldham’s Green Belt

Date published: 21 July 2021

Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE and his party colleagues have vowed to vehemently oppose the Places for Everyone plan when it is debated by Oldham Council at a special meeting on July 28.

The local Lib-Dems expect Oldham Council’s Labour Cabinet to approve taking the plan to Council when it meets next Wednesday, and Councillor Sykes and the Liberal Democrat Group will 'lead the battle' in Council to save the Borough’s green belt from the threat of housing development.

“Oldham residents should be in no doubt that Places for Everyone is simply the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework rebadged and repackaged," said Councillor Sykes. 

"It contains the self-same fatal flaw – an assumption that it is right and necessary to build thousands of new homes on our precious and irreplaceable Green Belt and on other protected open spaces. 

“Liberal Democrat Councillors believe that it would be wrong, indeed I would say criminal, to build even one new home on any of our green spaces, when there are many brownfield land sites in Oldham town centre and in our districts that remain undeveloped and when we have empty homes, shops, pubs, offices and mills that can be repurposed as accommodation. 

"I am confident that, if we stuck to these sites, we could meet our borough’s housing needs."

The Liberal Democrats will be voting 'no' to adopting the Places for Everyone plan, and they instead want the authority to withdraw from the process and develop a local plan for the borough.

“This is a top-down plan forced upon Oldham by the Labour Greater Manchester Mayor and the leaders of eight other authorities in Greater Manchester,” added Councillor Sykes. 

“We want to follow the lead shown by our Stockport Liberal Democrat colleagues and withdraw from Places for Everyone, and instead develop our own bespoke housing and commercial development plan with input from local people and communities that fits Oldham’s circumstances and meets its needs, based on the principle of brownfield development ‘first and always’."

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