A LEADING campaigner and the Labour group leader are at loggerheads over development plans earmarked for green belt land in Flixton - even though they both oppose them.

Labour leader Andrew Western and campaigner Michelle McGrath are at odds with one another, despite the fact they both want to prevent the controversial proposals to build on half of the former William Wroe golf course from going ahead.

Messenger reported last week that Cllr Western has pledged to scrap plans to build on the Flixton green belt land if his party gains control of the council next year.

He spelt out the Labour position after the leader of the council, Sean Anstee, and council officers had met Flixton residents and told them they were looking to reduce the number of homes to be built on the land from 750 to 375.

The Labour group has put forward a motion that will be considered at a council meeting tonight, calling on the Conservative group to "withdraw its support for and all house building on Flixton's green belt."

That led to Mrs McGrath, of the Flixton, Urmston and Davyhulme Future Planning on-line group, challenging Cllr Western to give details of where his group would instead build the homes that had been earmarked for Flixton.

The proposal is part of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) - a massive housebuilding scheme for the region over the next two decades.

Cllr Western responded that 750 extra homes could be built on land at Timperley Wedge, in addition to the 3,300 already planned for this site.

He claimed this was possible because the current Timperley Wedge proposals are for 'high value, low density' properties.

He said in a post on the website of the Flixton, Urmston and Davyhulme Future Planning on-line group: "Given that more than 3000 predominantly high value, low density properties are currently proposed here, this shift in priorities from building expensive homes to smaller, affordable property on the site would give ample space for an extra 750 properties at Timperley Wedge – indeed by this logic there is scope for thousands more properties on this land, but a development of that magnitude is not something the Labour Group could support."

He added: "I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Flixton residents from the outset on this issue because I believe that these proposals are entirely avoidable and they absolutely can be halted.

"My position has not changed and I will continue to make clear my opposition to any building on Flixton’s green belt."

But Mrs McGrath remains sceptical about the Labour group's plans, and questioned the low density levels he says are currently proposed for the Timperley Wedge.

She said: "I have been informed by Trafford Planners that there is a misconception around densities on Timperley Wedge.

They have advised that densities range from 30/35 homes per hectare in some parts of the development (similar to existing housing stock in Flixton) to 60/70 homes per hectare in other areas of the development.  It is crucial that a Local Plan is both developable and deliverable and it is the opinion of Trafford’s planners as shared at our resident’s meeting that they are already pushing the boundaries of what is achievable in the plan period for the Timperley Wedge site. 

"In summary, whilst I am in no doubt of your wish to assure residents that Flixton's allocation can be transferred to Timperley Wedge, I do not share your confidence that this can be achieved."