RESIDENTS in Shaw and Crompton feel cheated and betrayed that pleas to save their greenbelt have been ignored by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
That’s the view of campaigners who have fought proposals to cover the greenbelt in concrete since the first draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was unveiled.
“The new plans are virtually identical to those we saw and rejected in 2016,” said Save Shaw’s Greenbelt spokesman Steve Lord.
“There is a sliver of land between High Crompton and Newhey, saved as green belt, and giving the thinnest umbilical between the two towns. But it’s simply a token gesture.
“The rest leaves us with genuine concern for the future of our children and grandchildren.”
The original framework – Greater Manchester’s plans for homes and commercial development up until 2037 – attracted 27,000 responses from people across the region.
Dozens of local protests groups staged rallies leading to a 2,000 strong display in Manchester’s city centre, which attracted widespread media attention.
“Hundreds of people from Shaw and Crompton, along with thousands of others around Greater Manchester spent months trying to get the plans changed,” added Mr Lord.
“We lobbied our MPs, challenged planners, talked with the Mayor and urged that brownfield sites – which we helped identify – should be used and exhausted before green space was even looked at.
“But we’re feeling feel hugely frustrated, and cheated, by our councillors, MPs and the Mayor who promised radical change to the first spatial framework and admitted the impact on green belt was disproportionate.
“Of course, we understand the need for homes and for a thriving commercial sector bringing jobs.
“But not at the expense of our beautiful greenbelt areas in Shaw and High Crompton.
“The places are where we walk, run, ride and play with our children and grandchildren. These are areas that once destroyed would be irreplaceable.
“Some residents have deer feeding in their gardens. How can you even consider destroying their natural habitat?”
The latest framework proposals would see more than 1,600 homes built in Shaw and High Crompton.
“Apart from the destruction of our green space, this would impact massively on education, healthcare, traffic pollution and public transport,” added Mr Lord.
“How does this fit with the GMSF’s boast about Greater Manchester becoming renowned for the quality of its environment?
“We can’t cope with the congestion that already exists.
“You can’t book a GP appointment inside a week, schools are full, and the 60 juggernauts a day that steam between Shaw and the M62 create more pollution and potholes than a panzer of tanks.
“It’s a vision of Armageddon and not the environment of parks, green spaces, rivers and rolling hills that our families deserve.
“We now have to roll up our sleeves, start filling out the forms, mobilising support and be prepared, once again, to man the barricades.
“This time, though, with the knowledge that our MPs, councillors and Mayor are focused exclusively on their own agendas and are patently not capable of helping us.”
• The Save Shaw’s Greenbelt group already has a Facebook page with nearly 1,800 members.
• The group staged a hugely successful first march on January 2, 2018 when along with Royton and Newhey, some 3,000 protestors gathered at Tandle Hill country park.
• The group also sent 1,300 objection letters to Manchester Town Hall and is currently creating an action plan to oppose the second framework.
Save Shaw’s Greenbelt campaigners are meeting on Friday, January 18 at the Fairview pub at 8pm. Everyone welcome.