BURY'S fight to keep Spen Moor clear of development goes to the High Court next week.

It's the final legal showdown for the local authority, which insists that the 18-acre site must be kept green.

The council has already resisted a government inspector's recommendation in the Unitary Development Plan that the area should not be listed as green belt land.

That refusal has led to a legal challenge by developers Peel Investments (Northern) who own the land, which is south of Bolton Road between Bury and Radcliffe.

The war over Spen Moor has raged for more than a decade. The council says it wants to check urban sprawl by listing the land as green belt.

Having taken legal counsel and planning advice, councillors think they have good grounds for justifying keeping the land as green belt because of exceptional circumstances. Council leader Derek Boden said: "We feel it is in the interest of the borough to fight to protect this land at Spen Moor.

"We believe we are right to try to retain green belt designated areas wherever we can."

Councillor Boden added: "Going to the High Court is not something that we do lightly but we feel strongly in this instance that we would be failing local people if we did not take the appropriate legal action."

Legal submissions are expected to be delivered in the High Court on Monday.

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