On 10 November 2020, the Salford City Mayor presented the GMSF to his Cabinet for approval, subject to approval of full Council on 18 November 2020. The Conservative Group decided to oppose this decision and to seek a ‘call in’ which means the decision can be referred to the Growth and Prosperity Scrutiny Committee for scrutiny. The ‘call in’ was confirmed on 17 November 2020 and on 18 November 2020 the City Mayor deferred the approval of the GMSF by the Council citing the postponement by Stockport of the GMSF. It was also no doubt because of the ‘Call in’ by the Conservatives which would have prevented it being approved by Council.
The City Mayor has now withdrawn his decision to approve the GMSF report.
The Conservatives stated that the G M Mayor Andy Burnham and Salford’s City Mayor had failed to carry out a comprehensive review (GMSF page 45 Para 2.17) of the green belt land being proposed for development. The land in question is Hazelhurst Farm Worsley and Land East of Boothstown, Worsley on which Labour want to build 700 houses. The relevant department within the City Council, external organisations such as the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit have not carried out a detailed review and as such, because the land has not been endorsed by the City Council or the GMCA” this part of the report could or should not be approved because it required that ‘appropriate advice of officers’ be obtained. On this basis we wanted this green belt to be removed from the report
The Conservatives case for not building on green belt is reinforced by the availability of adequate brownfield land particularly as the housing figures within the GMSF have been grossly overestimated. The total number of houses required over the period 2020 to 2037 (para 3.11 page 49) has been grossly overestimated in respect of (28,560 against the actual need for Salford of 22,848). This difference we believe negates the need to build 700 houses on Green Belt.
In relation to the land north of Irlam Station we do not believe that sufficient regard has been given to the protection of the Moss land and that most of the site is also grade 1 agriculture. In appendix 12. Para 11.275 sufficient evidence has not been provided to justify the comments that the provision of housing outweighs the need for agricultural farmland. this would deprive people of an important organic food source.
On page 51 Para 3.20/3.22 of the GMSF as far as the City of Salford is concerned and in particular the West of Salford, the report cannot be considered reasonable because it makes no mention of the impact these developments would have on the local road network which is already heavily congested. Other infrastructure such as schools, doctors, chemists and youth facilities are all relevant matters which have been disregarded.
In so far as consultation is concerned over 27,000 people responded to the first draft followed by over 17,000 on the second draft. A large proportion of these respondents were against the proposals to build on green belt land and we would submit therefore that in proceeding to put forward proposals to build on green belt is in complete disregard to the views of residents. The GM Mayor Andy Burnham has not kept to the promise he made when elected to protect our green belt.