By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter
CAMPAIGNERS have warned town hall leaders to expect a repeat of mass protests which saw thousands march against green belt development following the unveiling of Oldham’s revised 20-year plan for homes and jobs.
More dwellings would be built in the borough than in 2016 and across more green belt sites.
It would see around 14,290 homes built between now and 2037, an increase of 590 dwellings from the previous allocation.
Of these, approximately 4,050 homes and thousands of square metres of employment space would be built on allocations of land designated as green belt.
However, the total green belt ‘take’ for Oldham has been reduced to 2.57 per cent, down from the 3.1 per cent originally proposed in the 2016 draft framework.
Noel Mahon, from the Save Royton Greenbelt group, hinted they could see a repeat of the protests of two years ago, which saw more than 3,000 people march against the draft plan at Tandle Hill.
He claimed the revision, which has more homes planned, sees the borough ‘worse off’.
“We obviously weren’t taken seriously enough by Oldham council the first time, so we are much more determined to make our local politicians and our council take note,” he said.
“We are even more upset and angry at the fact that Oldham council have ignored so many available brownfield sites that exist in the region and have not done enough to obtain these sites.
“There are thousands of acres of derelict mills and wasteland laid empty across the borough that could be used for housing projects or commercial uses.”
He added: “As residents, we also have many other concerns including the huge increase in traffic, noise and air pollution that these proposed developments would bring to the area.”
Mr Mahon said they are already planning joint actions with neighbouring green belt groups in Shaw and Chadderton.
Natalie Yates-Bolton, a coordinator from the Save Chadderton Green Belt group, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they were preparing to fight the latest plans.
“We are very disappointed that they have just ignored the advice of Andy Burnham and the protest groups, and the population of Oldham,” she said.
“If Stockport and Bolton councils can be responsive to the concerns of their communities and their population, why can’t Oldham?
“They don’t seem to have listened either to Andy Burnham or to the people that they are supposed to be serving.
“They seem to have come back again with exactly the same plan – if not worse.”