Elton Res Bury Council p.Google Earth

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

PfE survives for now as Bury rebel bid fails 

Council Leader Cllr Eamonn O’Brien accused the borough’s Conservative group of “economic vandalism” as the latter’s motion to pull out of the Greater Manchester joint spatial plan failed. 

Bury Council’s Labour majority, which supports Places for Everyone, out-voted those who opposed the plan at a full council meeting last night.  

The opposition group included the council’s 12 Tory members, plus Lib Dems, and Radcliffe First councillors.  

The Tories lodged the motion to withdraw from the plan after the government announced its proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.  

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

The revised NPPF would give councils more wiggle room when it comes to determining housing targets, a move many think renders PfE, and the methods used to calculate housing targets within it, redundant. 

Conservative group leader Cllr Russell Bernstein accused Labour of wanting to “concrete over Bury’s precious Green Belt” by supporting a plan that proposes developing up to 6,000 homes on Simister, Walshaw, and Elton reservoir sites. 

He called for the council to withdraw from the plan and begin work on a new local plan. 

Labour maintains that pulling out of PfE, which is currently being inspected by the government, would increase the number of homes the council would have to deliver in the future. 

“We are not going to withdraw from a plan in the middle of a consultation and open the door to development free for all,” O’Brien said. 

Bernstein said he was disappointed about the outcome of the vote but not surprised.

“I believe it is inevitable that Places for Everyone will ultimately fail,” the Pilkington Park councillor said. “We would be in a better place if we started work immediately on a local plan that is fit for purpose for our borough that protects our precious Green Belt.

I want to thank all councillors who did vote with us for their support. The Conservatives’ fight to save the greenbelt in Bury for future generations will continue.”

The result of last night’s vote will be welcome news for those who have been working on the plan for the last seven years.  

Such is the precarious political balance currently holding PfE together, the withdrawal of another council – Stockport pulled out in 2020 – could terminally undermine the plan.   

However, the finish line is still some distance away and more political challenges like the one seen in Bury last night could yet emerge. 

Your Comments

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You can always rely on the Tories to do the wrong thing for long-term economic and societal growth. They are the enemies of progress.

Glad that they’ve been un-successful this time. Hopefully they will be kicked out of the Red Wall for good come next year, then we can start repairing after all the damage they’ve done.

By Anonymous

Great result. Lets get on with it now

By Anonymous

What a load of rubbish, building on the Greenbelt is not acceptable, Burnham has staked his Labour Leadership bid on this so Labour will railroad through..

By Anonymous

Great news. Fingers crossed the PfE gets over the line this time.

By Active Travel Trev

Labour Councillors who have campaigned to ‘save’ Walshaw (in a bid for votes) again vote PfE through. Riding roughshod over the promises to the Elton community they represent in order to toe the party line.

By Anonymous

The Elton Reservoir area is a dump. New houses around there would enhance it.

By Elephant

May be we need to rethink how we live look at other countries
Consider apartment living with proper sound proofing safe guarding our limited green spaces.

By Anonymous

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