Homing in... on open land
Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date published: 25 October 2016
Photo: Darren Robinson
Metrolink tram at Beal Valley
THOUSANDS of new homes could be built on Oldham's green belt as part of a plan to provide housing and employment opportunities in Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester leaders will meet on Friday to decide whether to approve the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), which sets out a plan to provide housing and investment opportunities for sustainable growth over the next 20 years.
The framework identifies that an additional 227,200 new homes will be needed across Greater Manchester by 2035, including 13,700 (6 per cent of the total figure) in Oldham.
The draft plan also outlines a requirement for gross new office floorspace of 2,450,000m2 of which, 55 per cent is within Manchester city centre.
As part of the plan, housing and employment areas have been earmarked across Oldham to help meet the need for additional homes.
The report states: "Due to the built-up nature of the borough, and its topography, there are limited opportunities to deliver new large-scale housing developments. While a significant proportion of Oldham's housing land will come from the urban area through maximising the use of brownfield land or through smaller sites on the urban fringe, it is recognised that if Oldham is to meet our housing need, then the plan will also need to identify larger scale opportunities.
"In some cases these may need to fall within the green belt or on areas designated as Other Protected Open Land."
Green belt areas earmarked for development include Broadbent Moss and Beal Valley, with a total of 1,900 new homes suggested for the sites.
The framework proposes that three quarters of development across Greater Manchester is within the existing urban area on brownfield land with remaining new allocations from land being withdrawn from the green belt.
However, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has said it is "alarmed" by the draft proposals and will examine the plans carefully to ensure that any growth in the Greater Manchester region is "intelligently" planned in order to protect urban and rural green spaces.
Jackie Copley, planning manager for the CPRE's Lancashire branch, said: "We want to work positively with the combined authority to ensure Greater Manchester prospers, but we will certainly hold up a flag if it is shown that too much development is being planned, and if too much development is being be targeted on the countryside rather than on existing brownfield sites, which we know exist.
"At first glance the amount of development targeted on brownfield land may appear high at 70 per cent, but this compares unfavourably with previous targets of the Regional Spatial Strategy when authorities had targets of between 95 per cent and 85 per cent and were successfully achieving them.
"Sustainable development principles must underpin the Framework and full recognition must be given of the value of green spaces around, and within, our towns to ensure a 'healthy and prosperous' future for all."
Greater Manchester's green belt will also be redrawn as part of the plan to ensure protection and prevent development in further areas.
If approved, the draft GM Spatial Framework will be published and the views of Greater Manchester residents will be sought during an eight-week consultation.
Views submitted will be considered and a final draft will be published in 2017 when another period of consultation will be held.
Consideration has been given to national population and economic forecasts to ensure there is provision of enough land for the number of new homes and workplaces needed to accommodate Greater Manchester's growing population.
Councillor Richard Farnell, lead member for planning and housing at GMCA, said: "Greater Manchester is a thriving city region, renowned across the world for its numerous technological and scientific advancements, sporting and artistic excellence. We support a culture of innovation and enterprise.
"In order to continue to attract business, workers and tourists, we need to grow. We will successfully manage this growth and deliver major economic, social and environmental improvements. We are mindful that this needs to support Greater Manchester's prosperity in the long term as well as meet its short-term needs.
"We want all residents of Greater Manchester to share in the benefits of this prosperity."
The future Greater Manchester Mayor, alongside GMCA will be able to apply new powers secured from the Government to ensure developers make a fair and reasonable contribution towards the infrastructure need that they generate through the development of sites.
OLDHAM AREAS AFFECTED INCLUDE...
• BROADBENT Moss: Green Belt land between Higginshaw Business Employment Area (BEA) and Heyside in the west and Broadbent and Sholver in the east: 47,040sqm employment floorspace delivered on the land to the west of the Metrolink route and south of Bullcote Lane. 1,000 new homes delivered on the land between Broadbent and Sholver.
The area will be developed for a mix of high-quality employment floorspace to complement and enhance the existing neighhouring BEA and new housing with associated infrastructure and open space provision. The scheme will include a high level of Green Infrastructure, so as to maintain the link from the urban area through to the Green Belt beyond.
• Cowlishaw, Shaw, just of the A663 Shaw Road: 640 new homes, alongside supporting infrastructure and facilities.
• Hanging Chadder, Royton, off the A627 Rochdale Road: 600 new homes, alongside supporting infrastructure and facilities. The site will be characterised by high quality design that limits the impact on the open countryside.
• Beal Valley: 900 new homes. The area will be developed for a range of new housing with associated infrastructure and open space provision, capitalising on its sustainable location and proximity to the tram stop at Shaw.
• Robert Fletcher's Paper Mill and surrounding land, outskirts of Greenfield and close to Dovestone Reservoir: 100 holiday lodges and 120 new homes to maximise the tourism potential of this unique location in a "sensitive and appropriate way".
• Area east and west of the A627(M): 480,000m2 of employment floorspace and 2,800 new homes.
• Area to the south of Junction 21 (M62), between Newhey, the A663, High Crompton and Burnerbridge: 446,000m2 of employment floorspace and 1,500 new homes.