IN the latest Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, Bolton Labour Council worked hard to secure no housing designation on Bolton’s green belt and also extended more land into green belt.

We are the only GM town to achieve this, all based on residents’ consultation views.

The recent Bolton News article on GMCA support for the Ryder Cup in Hulton Park is old news as it is just an acknowledgement of the previous Planning Committee decision.

However, the ultimate fate of Hulton Park lies solely in the hands of Tory Government Minister James Brokenshire and always did.

The decision was always going to be that of the Minister, whatever planning decided.

The Communities Secretary, however, has a real dilemma as, by his own rules, he can only award funds for the long-awaited Westhoughton bypass that everybody wants by agreeing to let Peel build more than 1,000 houses on Hulton Park.

The Minister’s only criteria for allocation of his Housing Infrastructure Fund that will pay for the bypass is on how many houses can be built around the bypass to justify the money.

The Government says it is of no relevance that the bypass is long overdue and needed for economic/social reasons as a vital part of the road network joining the M61 eventually to the M6.

Another twist is the Government today is also now demanding Greater Manchester builds more houses than the 200,000 we have allocated to the GMSF ­— or lose the HIF money altogether.

This purely political move is due to the Government’s own failure to meet their national housing targets elsewhere.

It also completely disregards the Office of National Statistics figures that in GM we only need 150,000 houses.

If the Government forces GM local authorities to build more houses, what will be Bolton’s fate?

Is the Government going to force us to build on the only land left ­— as the brown field sites have already been included ­— Bolton’s green belt?

Local Tory councillors and the Bolton West MP need to use their influence speak out and lobby the Government before it’s too late.

Cllr Linda Thomas

Leader Bolton Council