Hundreds march against plans for development in Tame Valley

HUNDREDS, including two MPs and five councillors, took part in a protest march against plans for a proposed expansion of Bredbury Industrial Estate into the picturesque Tame Valley.

It sent out a loud message to those drafting the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework that residents are not prepared to lose greenbelt land without a fight.

Three protest groups started off from different points – Woodley Station, Crown Point North in Denton and St Mary’s, Haughton Green – and converged on the Ardern Arms where a rally was held.

Denton South Action Group, Save Woodley Greenbelt and campaigners from Haughton Green took part along with MPs Andrew Gwynne and William Wragg, Denton councillors Claire Reid, Jack Naylor, George Newton and Allison Gwynne along with Tameside’s first Green Party councillor Lee Huntbach.

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, explained it is important to keep protesting, describing the turnout as “magnificent” from the people of Denton and Haughton Green.

“Myself and the councillors were like the pied piper as we led the walk,” he explained.

“The message is clear: hands off our greenbelt. This is our Tame Valley and we will fight tooth and nail against unnecessary development.

“Myself and William Wragg (MP for Hazel Grove) have worked closely on it in Parliament and with councillors on both sides of the river so our voices can be heard.

“It is not a case of left and right in politics but right and wrong. We all own and cherish the Tame Valley.

“What was brilliant was as we walked down Stockport Road the number of drivers who honked their horns and shouted ‘come on’.”

Mr Gwynne is concerned the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, currently being finalised, may no longer keep the land protected.

He continued: “I am worried they may want to see it removed.

“This land is still greenbelt and if it is to removed there will be a public inquiry when we will fight all the way if needed.

“We will also be keeping an eye on the council website to see if a developer tries to sneak in an application. We will object to any pre-emptive strike.”

Mr Wragg added he advocated using brownfield sites first, explaining there are many in Stockport that should be developed before turning to greenbelt.

He said: “I am also asking questions about occupancy rates on the industrial estate and whether it is needed.

“It is bedlam in Bredbury on the roads without a distribution centre which would create a lot more lorry movements. There is not the infrastructure to support it.”

Mr Wragg said it is a case of waiting to see what is contained in the revised GMSF but it is “good to keep it in the limelight”.

Cllr Newton, who represents Denton South, said: “Local politicians are all behind residents in opposing it.

“It is unacceptable to be creating low inspirational warehouse jobs in the Tame Valley where we would lose green belt.

“The financial benefits would be that way (Stockport) and the pollution would come this way.

“We do not want to lose our beautiful and cherished greenbelt and will be collecting more petitions and holding more protests.”

Cllr Huntbach, who used to work at Denton Nursery, knows under-threat Hulme Woods well.

He said: “We are talking about having only to 2030 to reduce carbon emissions and my main focus is on climate breakdown.

“We should be planting more trees and not ripping them up and ploughing through woodland when there are alternatives.

“To get without trees for an industrial estate is unthinkable.”

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