Pledge to spare greenbelt

Wigan and Leigh Green Party's Will Patterson
Wigan and Leigh Green Party's Will Patterson

A mayoral candidate has vowed to rip up a controversial home and jobs plan that includes building on Wigan greenbelt.

Will Patterson, the Green Party’s Greater Manchester mayor hopeful, says his “people’s housing plan” will seek out brownfield sites for development instead.

Regional authorities are currently deliberating on a second draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, said to bring almost 25,000 homes and 15,000 jobs to Wigan borough by 2035.

It has been criticised by a host of political figures for earmarking greenbelt land although council bosses have highlighted that just 4.6 per cent of the borough’s green space had been included.

Mr Patterson, who is also chair of the borough’s Green Party, had previously said the GMSF’s promises of jobs and economic prosperity were too vague.

Now, in a campaign video in the lead up to May’s elections, he has promised a re-think on the plans if he is elected.

He said: “If elected mayor, I’ll rip up the spatial framework that wants to turn valuable green space into executive homes.

“I promise a people’s housing plan that builds on brownfield sites and tackles the housing needs that we actually have in the region.”

Council deputy leader Coun David Molyneux has previously said the GMSF would help to create a “prosperous future” for the borough.

He said: “We must take the tough decisions to provide opportunities for the next generation, for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

l The inaugural vote to become the region’s top political figure takes place on May 4.

Also confirmed candidates are Sean Anstee (Conservative), Andy Burnham (Labour), Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrats) Shneur Odze (Ukip), Stephen Morris (English Democrats) and Marcus Farmer (Independent).