More details on successor to Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Reporter: Niall Griffiths
Date published: 08 February 2021

New details have emerged about the new jobs and housing masterplan which will replace the scrapped Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Council leaders of nine of the city-region’s boroughs, along with mayor Andy Burnham, will meet to consider the next steps for ‘Places For Everyone’ this week.

The ‘plan of nine’ was born out of Stockport council’s decision in December to withdraw from the controversial GMSF, which has been met with delays and opposition since it was first announced in 2016.

Opposition councillors outvoted the Labour administration after raising concerns about the potential impacts on the green belt, traffic levels and local services.

But the council’s leader Elise Wilson, and other town hall bosses across the city-region, have argued that without a plan like the GMSF, more green belt land will be at the mercy of developers.

A report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) suggests that Places For Everyone will have much in common with its predecessor.

By producing the joint development plan the nine districts would be able to progress the strategic policies within the GMSF which ‘commanded widespread support’, such as net zero carbon development and affordable housing.

It would also maximize the use of sustainable urban and brownfield land and limit the need for building on the green belt, says the report, while also helping Greater Manchester meet its ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2038.

A decision to form a joint committee to develop the plan will be considered by council leaders of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan on Friday.

Salford city mayor Paul Dennett, who leads on housing for the GMCA, described Places For Everyone as a ‘positive step forward’.

“The need to map out sustainable growth and protect against unplanned development hasn’t ‘gone away’,” he said ahead of the meeting.

“In the midst of a public health crisis that has struck hardest in the most disadvantaged places, having a positive and ambitious vision for our city-region is more important than it’s ever been. 

“The best way to do that is with a plan that sets out clearly where good homes and jobs will created, secures our most important natural assets, and supports our goal of a carbon neutral future.

“We know that we have to deliver genuinely affordable and good-quality housing across Greater Manchester, bring in new investment, and ensure that people here have access to good jobs in well-connected villages, towns and cities.”

While the new plan will not involve Stockport, much of the evidence gathered during the GMSF process will remain relevant to the borough as it draws up its own Local Plan.

The other boroughs will need to enter into dialogue with Stockport on ‘matters of strategic, cross boundary significance’ such as the scale of housing, employment land and transport infrastructure.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “We want our councils to produce a credible plan that accommodates growth in the most sustainable way possible.

“While this is a plan that nine of our councils would be developing, every borough in Greater Manchester will continue working together to meet the big challenges we all face – building back better and fairer, tackling inequalities, and decarbonising our economy.”

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