BOLTON will not block the region's controversial masterplan for homes, jobs and the environment, the council leader has told The Bolton News.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, who could veto the latest draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), has said that the new Conservative administration will support the plans.

This comes after Tory councillors from across the region have lobbied Bolton's new council leader, the only Conservative leader in Greater Manchester, pleading with him to vote against the plans which would see vast swathes of the countryside developed for housing and new industrial sites.

But Cllr Greenhalgh has now confirmed that he will not oppose the proposal in which no protected green belt sites have been earmarked for housing.

He said: “We will support the GMSF because Bolton gets a good deal in it. There is no proposed housebuilding within Bolton's green belt. It’s for [other Conservative groups] to fight their own battles. They need to fight their own Labour councils.”

Under the revised version of the GMSF, which was revealed in January, all 13.940 that must be built in the borough by 2037 would be located on brownfield sites.

Three green belt sites have been marked down for industrial development, including a five-hectare extension of Logistics North which did not feature in the first draft.

The local authority also proposed to reclassify two new sites as green belt land – Horwich Golf Course and Ditchers Farm in Westhoughton.

New housing originally proposed at green belt sites and protected open land, such as Hulton Park, Bowlands Hey and Lee Hall, have been removed.

This takes the net loss of green belt land down to under two per cent, compared to the previous proposal which would have seen Bolton lose 5.3 per cent.

Deputy leader Martyn Cox praised the previous administration which oversaw Bolton's submission to the long-awaited document.

He said: “We think the Labour group got quite a good deal out of the Spatial Framework and we think that’s down to pressure from other parties. If it’s a good deal for Bolton, we will sign it.”

A public consultation on the latest version of the GMSF ran from January 14 to March 18 earlier this year.

Results are currently being analysed.