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Manchester Green Belt kept green

A five-year battle by CPRE Trafford to save Green Belt land finally paid off afterTrafford Metropolitan Borough Council voted to remove the road-rail Trafford interchange from its unitary development plan...

The fight has been a long one. In 2003, the inspector at the plan's public inquiry said that the interchange proposal should be removed because it did not have sufficient merit to justify the loss of Green Belt land. When the council rejected this advice, CPRE lobbied the Government Office of the North West and through it, the deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott (who was at the time the secretary of state for planning).

Mr Prescott declared that the council would have to delete the proposal, or give exceptional circumstances to justify its retention. Finding no such circumstances, and concerned about the possibility of legal action by the developers, the council asked him to confirm the scheme's deletion, but he insisted that they should vote on this themselves. In the end, they did.

Other sites are more suitable:

'...CPRE has sympathy with what the road-rail interchange proposal was trying to achieve,' explains Arthur Jurgens, CPRE Trafford's chairman. 'The problem was simply that it was in the wrong place. It would damage the countryside needlessly.' CPRE also doubts the commercial feasibility of the scheme. In fact, much of the railway there is single track. Other more suitable sites are available for development, which have better rail links, and are thus more environmentally sustainable.