Stockport Lib Dems refuse to support artificial, inflated housing target

At the meeting of the Full Council last night, Stockport’s Liberal Democrat councillors refused to support a report built around an excessive housing target of 18,581 additional homes, as work on Stockport’s own Local Plan limps forward.

Whilst the Lib Dems have long support the overall approach of developing Stockport’s own Local Plan, having called for this since 2016, the report failed to acknowledge the work being done to protect our Green Belt by rejecting the formulaic Housing Need figure, which is based on outdated population growth estimates, and seeking a much more realistic target which is sustainable and deliverable.

Speaking after the meeting, Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said: “We have worked hard with the other political groups to try to make them see that we cannot just roll over and allow the government to scare us into concreting over the Green Belt. The report before us totally ignored this work and made no mention of the letter we had sent, asking the Conservative government to confirm that we could work to a lower number to protect our valuable open spaces.

“We had a response from the Housing Minister early this week, confirming that we could take this approach, but even this was not formally brought before us at the meeting.“

Cllr Colin MacAlister, Shadow Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, added: “The Labour cabinet member made much of his continued disappointment about the Lib Dem-led withdrawal from the flawed Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, and the continued use of an artificially high housing “target” just feels like sour grapes.

“Of course the Lib Dems support the continuation of work on a Local Plan, based upon a Brownfield First strategy, but we had to signal our dissent from an approach which could put so much at risk.

“Sadly, and again with Conservative support, Labour were able to force this report through. We will continue to engage and to argue for a Local Plan based on a sustainable and deliverable lower target that protects our Green Belt and green spaces.”

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