Labour assistant mayor for planning at Salford City Council Cllr Derek Antrobus has called on Peel Holdings to drop a legal challenge which threatens greenfield land in the city.
The Council refused planning permission to Peel Holdings for development of 600 homes at Broadoak because the land was protected by the Council’s Worsley Greenway policy. The Council hired the country’s top planning barrister to fight the case after Peel made an appeal again the decision.
The strength of the Council’s policy – instituted by Labour veteran Ben Wallsworth in the 1980s – was cited as the main reason by a planning inspector for turning down the appeal. But Peel started a judicial review claiming that the Government was wrong in law to uphold Salford City Council’s decision. That review is in progress. Salford has just carried out a review of its housing land and has demonstrated that it has enough to meet its need for the next five years.
Councillor Antrobus said: “That is a game changer. Developers can no longer cherry-pick sites. Even if Peel were to win their judicial review, the circumstances are now different and the Council’s case for refusal even stronger. It seems wasteful to spend money on a legal action of this kind. “I have, therefore, written to Peel and asked them to withdraw their legal action and to join us in identifying through the local plan process the land that we will need to address the chronic housing shortage.
“There are many young couples in Salford crying out for affordable new homes. We should be working together to build them rather fighting fruitless battles in court.”
Councillor Richard Critchley, Labour councillor for Walkden South, said: “This is really welcome news. Labour has campaigned hard in the local community to protect this land and it’s great to see the Council’s determination to end Peel’s unnecessary wrangling.”