EX-OLDHAM Council leader Dr Richard Knowles has called for opponents of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plan to join forces to stop development of green belt and green fields around the derelict Robert Fletcher paper mill in Greenfield.

The former Saddleworth councillor has hit out strongly against outline plans which include the building for 4,000 homes on green belt land over the next 20 years.

Mr Knowles, who lives in Greenfield, has sent a detailed letter to Oldham's planners highlighting a series of alleged failings he believes must be addressed before the plans can be considered any further and says he has yet to receive a reply.

He said he has sent a copy to the Peak District National Park as the Robert Fletcher site is very close to its boundary.

Mr Knowles went on: "GMSF and its Robert Fletcher site allocation has failed completely to mention Secion 62 (2) of the Environment Act 1995 that requires all public authroities to have a duty of care to the Peak District National Park.

"The Peak District National Park objected strongly to Robert Fletchers GMSF Site 18, and in great detail, to proposed housing on the existing green belt land, the new link road, additional holiday lodges and the proposed visitor education centre’s location and car park.

"There seems to be widespread support for the derelict mill itself to be redeveloped for housing and a hotel, but any housing should relate to local needs. There is however a problem as the government has cut its budget to redevelop brownfield/derelict sites and using derelict sites for housing saves Green Belt sites.

"From my experience, the best way to ensure that this outrageous GMSF proposal for Greenfield’s Chew Valley is stopped is for all opponents of the scheme to work together.”