We have been receiving a number of questions about our approaches to policy via email, which Richard has been answering individually. We decided to publish them online too. The first is a question about the green belt around Macclesfield.
Making sure people have access to green spaces, and that means particularly protecting and even improving our green belt, is very important to the Liberal Democrats. Our towns and cities need new green spaces, green corridors that can act as lungs of clean air, to tackle air quality and pollution.
Locally our members have been campaigning in Disley, where I am sure you will have seen Cheshire East council reports dangerously high nitrogen levels. And I’ve had some involvement with the Liberal Democrats campaign to save the green belt in Stockport, which is threatened by the Greater Manchester Spatial Plan, and the Lib Dems on Stockport Council want to pull Stockport out of the GMSP to save the green belt.
Liberal Democrats policy is as a first priority to identify brownfield sites for development, as a short term solution to housing needs, so some parts of the plan for Macclesfield, such as redeveloping the old scrap yard site, would meet with our approval.
But we are very concerned about the decision to designate green belt land between Congleton Road and Chelford Road as “strategic reserve”.
But we don’t just want to block new homes in one place only for them to pop up elsewhere. The worst aspect of this plan is simply packing in more housing with inadequate roads and shops and services.
Liberal Democrats have long term plans to look beyond the green belt to create new garden cities for the twenty-first century. In Macclesfield, we would like to see a proper regional approach to consider new towns with proper infrastructure. We want sustainable development that beings new homes and jobs but without compromising our green environment.
I hope that, if I am elected, we will be able to work together for a green Macclesfield everyone can enjoy.