A DECISION on Gary Neville’s controversial plan to turn green belt land at Turn Moss into football training pitches has been put on hold after the Conservatives lost control of Trafford council.

The United legend and the former ruling Tory party want to develop some of the land, in Stretford, for Salford City FC and the planned University (UA) 92 to use.

The planning application also includes a new cafe, playground, changing rooms, exercise trail and 4G pitch.

The plans could be in jeopardy, with the leadership of the council hanging in the balance. The town hall fell into no overall control at last week’s local elections.

Labour brought 14 years of Conservative rule to an end when it wrestled away four of its wards, ending up on 30 seats compared to the Tories’ 29.

Neither party, however, has the majority of 32 seats needed to assume overall control, and would have to form an alliance with the smaller parties — the Lib Dems of the Greens — to reach that figure.

The council’s planning committee was due to make a decision on the plans for Turn Moss next week.

Labour leader Andrew Western said he has now agreed with council chief executive Theresa Grant to delay the application hearing.

Cllr Western said: “We are not yet there with negotiations. This does not mean the application has been withdrawn, but the council recognises that if we do take charge it will be.”

If Labour forms an executive, the plan will be withdrawn as the council is the applicant.

Coun Western said, as per his party’s pre-election manifesto, Labour would then "engage with the community" to come up with a plan for Turn Moss that benefits everyone, not just "a private football club".

The former Reds defender argues government austerity means the private sector is needed to improve sports facilities.

Opponents say it will have little benefit for residents, cause loss of green belt and disturb wildlife.

Some have also suggested that professional football club Salford should use facilities in their own borough.

Chairman of the Save Turn Moss group Simon Howarth said members were hopeful they can create a ‘community-led’ proposal for the area.

He added: “Andy Western has promised that Turn Moss and Flixton green belt are the first issues on Labour’s agenda.  

“We are hopeful we can now move on to the next phase for the area, which is a proper, community-led proposal that will be of real benefit to all.”

A Friends of Turn Moss spokesman said supporters were "absolutely delighted" to plan had been deferred.

“Public anger at the council’s plans for Turn Moss — and other green belt sites — played a significant role in the Trafford election results,” she added.

“We hope the current planning application will be withdrawn very soon. This is a real victory for local people.”