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Greenbelt row over Manchester Airport City development

21.07.11

A row has broken out between councillors over the future of a green ‘buffer zone’ between Hale Barns and Manchester Airport, the MEN reports. Labour councillors say Davenport Green – on the other side of the M56 from the airport – must be designated green belt to stop the new ‘airport city’ [the enterprise zone development around the airport] creeping onto it. However, council planners say it would be difficult to legally carry out the change, adding that it already has enough protection.

The 335-acre area has tough restrictions to prevent anything but a ‘world class’ development being built on it. At a meeting of Trafford Council, Labour said only green belt status would safeguard it. Councillor David Quayle said there is a ‘toxic mix’ of problems – including suggestions it might feature in the planned enterprise zone. If that happened, the council would lose control of what is built on it, making the site is very vulnerable.

Labour leader Dave Acton said including the area in the enterprise zone would be ‘disastrous’, adding: ‘Protecting it is absolutely vital.’ However, Councillor Michael Cornes, executive member for economic growth and prosperity, said the council would face a legal challenge from the site’s owners if it tried to put into the green belt. A public consultation on the future of the land is due to open in the next few weeks.

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