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Green Belt: North West

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to protect (a) greenbelt and (b) open green spaces in (i) Greater Manchester, (ii) Tameside Metropolitan Borough area and (iii) Stockport Metropolitan Borough area. (277501)

Policy RD4 of the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West (RSS), published by my Department, states that there is no need for any exceptional substantial strategic change to the green belt and its boundaries in Greater Manchester before 2011. Strategic studies may be undertaken to inform future reviews of the RSS. However, the presumption will continue to be against substantial change after that date. Policy EM3 of the RSS also promotes the conservation and enhancement of open green spaces.

At the local level, the existing unitary development plans adopted by Stockport and Tameside Councils contain policies which seek to protect the green belt and open spaces.

It is for local councils to consider whether there is any need for detailed local boundary changes to the green belt for exceptional purposes through the preparation of their local development framework (LDF). However, any such changes would need to be justified against national planning policy as set out in planning policy guidance note 2, which seeks to preserve green belts, and would be examined by an independent inspector as part of the development plan process.

In accordance with national policy in planning policy guidance note 17, local councils should also plan for adequate provision of open space through their LDF.