Salford plans to build on Green Belt Land
posted by: Neal Keeling - Salford Advertiser - Wednesday 9th December, 2009
A COUNCIL which boasts of its rural credentials is planning to use 98 acres of green belt land - about 56 Old Trafford football pitches - for industrial use.
Salford council has earmarked the land at Barton Moss, on the Eccles and Irlam border, to attract companies to the borough.
It would mean either Grade 1 agricultural land or Boysnope Park golf course being ripped up to provide warehousing and other industry.
The site is to the west of City Airport Manchester - formerly Barton Aerodrome.
Residents and opposition Tories have strongly criticised the proposal.
In 2005 a tongue-in-cheek poster used as part of a national advertising campaign stated: `There's Tons of Grass in Salford' and explained that 60 per cent of the borough was green with nature reserves, mossland, and hundreds of acres of parks.'
The new plan for the green belt land is included in the draft Core Strategy report, which outlines the council's planning vision up to 2027.
The report says most of the city's development needs can be met within the urban area but there is an 'essential' need to release the land at Barton.
It adds: "If this land was not released then Salford would not be able to achieve its economic growth objectives, instead seeing a reduction in the amount of industrial and warehouse development in the city and being heavily reliant on older employment areas that will find it increasingly difficult to attract investment and modern businesses.
"The release of this part of green belt is therefore essential for the future prosperity of the city and its residents."
As 'compensation', 98 acres of land on the western side of Little Hulton will be designated as new green belt.
Tory councillor Iain Lindley, who is also prospective Conservative MP for Worsley and Eccles South, said: "Green belt land is a green lung for our local communities and these proposals would remove almost all open space between Irlam and Peel Green. The A57 along the Barton stretch is already operating beyond capacity.
"Local residents are already having to cope with Port Salford, the Reds Stadium and a likely upgrade of Barton Airport, without the destruction of 40 hectares of Green Belt land on their doorstep."
"I urge all local residents in Irlam, Cadishead and Peel Green to respond to the Core Strategy consultation before the January deadline" The council's planning boss, Coun Derek Antrobus, said: "This is needed to ensure that future generations have access to decent jobs.
"There will be a shortage of good quality employment land and an extensive search has identified Barton as the only area capable of meeting the need. Our plans maintain the existing scale of the greenbelt and make amendments involving 1.2 per cent of the city's greenbelt to offer a more prosperous future for our children."
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