Elton Res Bury Council p.Google Earth

The 620-acre Elton Reservoir site is earmarked for 3,500 homes. Credit: Google Earth

Bury Tories move to kibosh GM joint plan 

Twelve Conservative councillors are calling for the council to pull out of Places for Everyone, but the party’s dwindling presence in the borough means the bid could fall flat. 

A motion lodged by councillors Arif, Bernstein, Brown, Dean, Gartside, Harris, Hussain, Jones, Lancaster, McBriar, Rydeheard, and Vernon demands that the council “withdraw from the Places for Everyone Plan as an immediate priority”.  

The motion will be discussed at a full council meeting on Wednesday.  

Bury Council has a Labour majority. The party supports the PfE joint plan, which means the motion faces a tough route to being passed. 

One industry commentator, who wished to remain anonymous, is sure that the motion is destined to fail, labelling it as political “posturing”.

“Labour has a majority on the council and will just vote it down,” the source said.

Proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework have galvanised opponents to PfE in recent weeks.  

Read more about how proposed reforms could impact Greater Manchester’s spatial strategy

Bury MP James Daly wrote to Bury Council Leader Cllr Eamonn O’Brien in December demanding that the authority pulls out of the plan in the wake of the proposed planning reforms. 

In a column for the Bury Times last week, he reiterated his plea, accusing Labour of adopting a “deliberate policy that wants to concrete over large areas of our precious Green Belt”.  

Like Daly, Bury’s Conservative councillors argue that the government’s decision to water down housing targets means that the basis on which PfE has been created is now “obsolete” and “not in line with national guidance”. 

Rather than being part of the joint plan, the councillors want to see the authority adopt a new local plan based on the revised national guidance. 

The councillors also want the proposed release of several Green Belt sites in the borough to be scrapped. 

The motion asks that the council “makes a public commitment to protect the borough’s precious Green Belt by removing Simister, Walshaw, and Elton reservoir sites from any future local plan”. Together, these sites could provide more than 6,000 homes.

If Bury Council decides to pull out of Places for Everyone altogether, it could spell the end of the GM spatial strategy, which has been years in the making. 

Stockport withdrew from the plan – then known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework – in 2020.  

The other nine boroughs opted to forge ahead without Stockport, but it is thought another casualty could terminally undermine the plan. 

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God save us from politicians who want to look at their own narrow short term self-interest rather than looking at the bigger picture. The tory councillors in Bury should be ashamed of themselves.

By Anonymous

It would be an absolute disaster to pull out of the plan which would completely destroy places for everyone. We must stop dilly dallying and continuously wanting to delay every single plan that is put forward. Greater Manchester, (especially the northern half) needs significant investment. We desperately need homes of all types from affordable, social to executive sized homes which simply cannot all be delivered on brownfield sites.


Here’s hoping. That plan is already a dead duck.

By Anonymous

There is more to PfE than housing and it appears that these political desperados are happy to throw out industrial development, job creation and much needed income to Bury, with their residential bathwater.

By Anonymous

Classic tories – isn’t it a tory government policy to build more homes? I’d see this as Tories don’t want to help anyone, any family get a home and continue to appease their main voters. But it will just be blamed on immigration!


There will shortly be no requirement to alter green belt boundaries to meet housing need and housing requirements will be able to be reduced where the ability to deliver them is dependent on changes to green belt boundaries. PfE in its current form is dead in the water.

By Ralph

Wish Bury Labour would see sense. They are supporting the removal of Walshaw from the plan yet they know it cannot happen unless they vote OUT of P4E.This plan was NEVER in the best interests of Bury people and Councillors are just cow towing to GM Labour and the developers they designed this plan with. Bury people need the right kind of housing, in the right quantity, in the right places. P4E does NOT meet our need and the sooner its thrown out the better. This is not about politics it’s about common sense and justice.

By Anonymous

Aren’t places for everyone’s housing targets commensurate with supporting the desired level of economic growth rather than just to meet the (perhaps arbitrary) local housing need figure provided by the government? At a simplistic level, you won’t realise the economic growth if you don’t build enough housing for workers to live in. Perhaps Bury’s Tories would rather regression to growth.

By two-step

The Tories can’t think beyond their electoral term. They have never been able to plan long-term, that’s why this country is in the mess it is.

By Anonymous

And that in a nutshell is why the NPPF changes were proposed, for the elections

By Anonymous

I think most people in Bury would agree with the tories on this one.

By Cal

Roll-on the May local elections – hard to see the Tories gaining ground. Everyone needs to hold their nerve.

By Rich X

Yeah, the so called homes for everyone nonsense is as good as dead. Good riddance to it too. Need a real plan in place then , hopefully not this ill conceived nonsense.

By Anonymous

I believe it will only take 5 Labour Cllrs to ignore the regional head office whip and vote in favour of the motion and the motion would pass.
How can Labour in Bury vote to try and remove Walshaw from the #PlacesforEveryone plan and then vote against the motion on Wednesday? Any Cllr in Labour voting against the motion will effectively be voting to hang Simister and Radcliffe out to dry, but protect Walshaw, for their own political gain.

By Philip Smith-Lawrence

The labour councillors should look deep into their souls before they destroy the area.

By Wise owl

Ah Wise Owl you are assuming they have souls. What they have are agendas and vested interests. Rarely do those things align with the people that are impacted most. ‘It’s for the greater good’ apparently, except when you look a little more deeply it never is.

By Anonymous

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