IN response to yesterday’s article regarding Chris Green’s comments on Bolton Council’s current planning position.

He knows that it is not possible for Bolton Council to opt out of the Greater Manchester Spatial Strategy, as all 10 local authorities are committed to the concept of a joint approach to the planning process.

May I remind him that in 2011, Bolton Council produced a Housing Land Availability Study, as part of the Local Development Framework which went to a Planning Inquiry. The inspector approved it, stating that the document was robust and approved the content of the study.

In 2013, the Coalition Government published the National Planning Policy Framework, which completely changed the whole planning process. This swept away the previous Planning Guidance Notes and Planning Policy Statements which had underpinned the planning system in England.

READ MORE: Time to put Bolton's housing first, says MP

Mr Green fails to acknowledge that the 2013 Government framework has completely changed the concept so that planning departments are now expected to issue a call for potential sites/locations from developers.

This has now effectively opened the “floodgates” for developers to pick and choose house building sites on greenfield/greenbelt sites across the whole country. Hence the planning applications for Bowlands Hey, Hulton Park and Lee Hall.

In 2016, Bolton Council Planning Committee refused an application for Hill Lane, Blackrod. The developer appealed that decision and the Planning Inspector ruled in their favour at an inquiry, because the brownfield sites in the Housing Allocation had not been started these could not be included in our five-year supply. Yet another change in Government Policy.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was appalled at the volume of greenbelt sites and decided to call in the Spatial Strategy following revised population figures. His priority was brownfield development and has changed the strategy.

I note with interest Chris Green’s concerns for local people rather than larger homes with supposed higher council tax.

If he actually understood his constituents, he would realise they do not want over development of greenfields around Westhoughton.

The only person who is faffing about is Chris Green himself. He should be talking to James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government getting his Government to revise the planning process and investing funding in brownfield development.

Cllr David Chadwick

Westhoughton South