Latest Manchester masterplan for jobs and housing includes major changes

The third and latest version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has been published – outlining the masterplan for job creation and housing developments in the area over the coming 17 years.

Regional leaders including Mayor Andy Burnham hope this latest attempt will win the backing needed from the ten borough councils and residents.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the GMSF outlines what land across the region is suitable for various different kinds of development over the next 17 years.

Just under 209,000 new homes are planned overall, down from 227,000 in 2016 but higher than the 201,000 suggested in 2019.

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Development in the green belt – the main point of contention amongst objectors – will be reduced by 60pc compared to the first draft in 2016.

Meanwhile more than £80m provided by the government will also be used to unlock more brownfield sites for development.

The latest version of the GMSF is almost identical to the copy that was leaked earlier this month.

Several controversial schemes proposing thousands of homes across Greater Manchester, most notably in Oldham, have been withdrawn from the masterplan, while some remain.

They are:

  • An expansion of the MediPark and Global Logistics Hub near Manchester Airport, as well as 20 new homes at Southwick Park in nearby Wythenshawe
  • More than 320,000 sqm of extra industrial space at Salford’s Quays, as well as 400 homes at Hazelhurst Farm in Worsley and 300 more at land near the RHS site near Boothstown. Controversial plans to build 1,600 homes north of Irlam station have been scaled back to 1,400 properties but could drop further to 1,100 if transport capacity in the area can’t be improved
  • Plans to build 3,000 homes north of Bolton, and thousands more at Hulton Park and south of the Chequerbent roundabout, were removed in 2019. But almost 500,000 sqm of industrial space is still planned either side of the M61 at Chequerbent North, Bewshill Farm and at Junction 6 of the motorway west of Wingate
  • Proposals for 1,250 homes on farmland near Tottington and Elton in Bury remain intact, as do plans for 3,500 homes at Elton reservoir and 140 more at Seedfield in Limehurst. A scaled back expansion of 1,500 homes at Simister and Bowlee – down from 2,700 – remains in place.
  • In neighbouring Rochdale plans for a vast housing and industrial expansion at Heywood and Pilsworth remains unchanged, with 1.2m sq m of warehousing and 1,200 homes planned. The number of homes at the Stakehill business park expansion has risen from 900 to 1,680, but there will be less industrial space, which will come to 155,000 sq m. At Trows Farm the number of homes has risen again to 550, having dropped to 360 in 2019.

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  • Four housing allocations have been taken out of the GMSF entirely in Oldham : Thornham Old Road in Royton, Spinners Way/Alderley Farm, the Bardsley-adjacent site off Ashton Road and land around High Crompton. When combined with smaller housing schemes elsewhere, this means there will be 1,400 fewer homes on the green belt.
  • Tameside’s proposals remain unchanged with new garden villages at Godley Green and south of Hyde still planned. But industrial proposals at Ashton Moss West have been scaled back in terms of housing and employment space. Only 160,000 sq m of commercial development is now planned.
  • The highly controversial expansion of Bredbury Park in Stockport remains in play but has been reduced by a third following objections from councillors in the borough, neighbouring Tameside, as well as local MPs. Plans to build 250 homes at Unity Mill in Woodley are no longer mentioned in the GMSF document.
The derelict Unity Mill from above in 2015. It is no longer in the latest plan
(Image: @Manchesterfire)
  • Trafford has increased the number of proposed homes at Timperley Wedge from 2,400 to 2,500 but the development at New Carrington has gone the other way. Up to 10,000 houses had been planned on a huge swathe of land but over subsequent drafts this has now been cut to 5,000.
  • In Wigan the development on greenfield land south of Pennington has been removed from the GMSF entirely. But plans for a huge expansion of industrial space at Junction 25 of the M6, key to Wigan’s economic growth plans, remain in the latest draft. So, too, do proposals for 600 new homes and 15,000 sq m of employment space at Pocket Nook.

Mayor Andy Burnham said the GMSF sets out how ‘sustainable growth’ across communities could be achieved to help the city-region recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “Our plans will protect our most important natural areas, deliver a sustainable travel network, and guard our boroughs from the risk of unplanned development.

“While we continue to confront the coronavirus pandemic, we also have a duty to look ahead and make sure our city-region builds back better for our people and places.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham speaking to the media outside the Central Library on October 15, 2020 in Manchester.
(Image: Getty Images)

“The [GMSF] is about making sure our city-region leads the way in providing good jobs, good housing, and tackling the climate crisis.”

The combined authority’s plan to unveil their latest draft of the GMSF earlier this month was scuppered due to a row over the Bredbury Park expansion in Stockport.

Stockport council had hoped to add an extra 90,000 sq m of new warehouses onto Bredbury Park, but the infringement onto the green belt was opposed by neighbouring Tameside council, as well as Labour MP Andrew Gwynne and Conservative MP William Wragg.

But the latest version of the GMSF shows that the Bredbury Park extension has been reduced to provide 60,000 sq m of new warehousing instead.

While it may have overcome this latest hurdle there are indications that Stockport council’s Tory opposition will vote against the ‘minimal changes’ to the Bredbury proposals, as well as other potential schemes in the borough.

The new GMSF will go before the ten Greater Manchester leaders – and mayor Andy Burnham – at a meeting on Friday, October 30.

If endorsed it will then be thrown out to debates in town halls across the city-region through November as every councillor gets their say.

Then, if the plan is approved by all 10 districts it will then go out for an eight-week public consultation starting on Tuesday, December 1.

Salford city mayor Paul Dennett said: “This plan represents a shared vision for Greater Manchester, and it’s by working together across the city-region that we’ve been able to direct development to the most sustainable brownfield areas – primarily the cities and town centres – and minimise development on green belt as much as possible.

“We’ll be delivering almost 4,500 homes across Greater Manchester with the first tranche of funding from the government’s Brownfield Housing Fund, and over the next five years will need to deliver a minimum of 5,500 throughout our city-region.”

Business Live – North West