Tory ministers have given Peel Holdings new hope for their plan to build 600 new homes on land at Broadoak in Worsley which Salford council has so far protected.
The land was designated ‘Worsley Greenway’ in a policy championed by Labour veteran Ben Wallsworth, the city’s planning chief for 30 years from the 1970s.
He believed that land provided a vital green lung between Walkden, Worsley and Monton. Labour councillors have also proposed that the land should be better protected by being given greenbelt status in Salford’s new Local Plan.
When the Peel application came before the Council’s planning panel, current Labour planning lead member Cllr Derek Antrobus moved that Peel’s housing plan on the protected land be refused.
Peel launched an appeal. An inspector at a public inquiry recommended that plans be thrown out because it contravened Council’s policy. The Council had employed the country’s top planning barrister to fight its case.
In the run up to the last general election, the Tory Government belatedly announced it was backing Salford’s refusal of the application.
But ministers have since caved in to a legal challenge by Peel. There will now be second public inquiry into the proposals.
CllrAntrobus said: “I think we now have an even stronger case. But I have no faith in this Government which seems to see the planning system as an obstacle to private enterprise rather than a way of creating good places to live.
“My concern is that having a fresh public inquiry could undermine our Local Plan. It would make more sense to hear the appeal after we have a new plan in place.”
The letter announcing the decision was received by Salford City Council over the holiday. No date has yet been set for the hearing.