Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

New plan for jobs, economic growth and new homes to be considered by Greater Manchester Leaders

Greater Manchester Leaders are to decide whether to approve the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) plan at a meeting on October 28.

The GMSF is the joint authorities’ plan for land allocation across Greater Manchester to provide housing and investment opportunities for sustainable growth.

Over the next twenty years there is a need to deliver continued sustainable economic growth, creating more jobs and new homes for the people of Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester’s local authorities are working together to deliver this growth to ensure new homes and jobs are provided in the right places with the transport infrastructure (roads, rail, Metrolink) to support communities and manage growth sustainably. By having a plan, greater control over land allocation will ensure development of new homes comes with investment in roads, school places, green spaces and public transport. Without a plan, development would happen in any case, without capturing benefits for local communities. In other words, a place with a plan is a place with a future.

The GMSF will help our city-region to manage growth so that Greater Manchester is a better place to live, work and visit. Greater Manchester should be as well known for the quality of its environment as for its economic success. Greenbelt will play a role in achieving this goal but there are important green spaces, parks, rivers and canals in the heart of our urban communities, which are equally valuable. The protection and enhancement of all these spaces is a central theme of the framework and strategy.

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.

As with all statutory development plans, 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. Consultation and further evidence has been gathered and tested to assess the precise levels of growth required and how best to achieve this for Greater Manchester. 

A growth option for Greater Manchester was agreed at the August 2016 meeting of the joint GMCA board. This has now been developed into a draft plan, which identifies the need for an additional 227,200 new homes across Greater Manchester by 2035. This has been apportioned to the districts in the following way: These housing figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

  • Bolton – 7%
  • Bury - 6%
  • Manchester – 24%
  • Oldham – 6%
  • Rochdale – 7%
  • Salford – 15%
  • Stockport – 9 %
  • Tameside – 6%
  • Trafford – 10%
  • Wigan – 10%

A key consideration of the development of the framework has been to adopt a brownfield first approach to land allocation. This focus has ensured that nearly three quarters of the proposed land supply is within the existing urban area on brownfield land with remaining new allocations from land being withdrawn from the greenbelt. A new greenbelt boundary for Greater Manchester will offer greater protection to prevent development in the newly designated greenbelt whilst also meeting our housing and employment needs over the next 20 years.

Greater Manchester’s greenbelt was designated thirty years ago to check unplanned development and whilst it is still relevant for that purpose the time has come to revise the boundary to ensure space for growth over the next 20 years.

The GMSF will minimise the amount of greenbelt land required for development by focusing on relatively few, large sites. This will provide opportunities to support developments with the required transport infrastructure, necessary school places and other vital services needed to create successful neighbourhoods.

The draft plan outlines a requirement for gross new office floorspace of 2,450,000m2 of which, 55 per cent of this land is within the city centre. The plan also outlines 8,126,000mland for industrial and warehousing, which will deliver around 4,000,000m2 in the plan period.

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.”

Central to the draft spatial framework is a very strong emphasis on delivering major economic, social and environmental improvements across the city region. It outlines that the land already identified in the urban area is developed, but that some new development will be required on existing greenbelt land.

The proposed new sites have been carefully selected against the following criteria:

  • Will it protect and enhance the local environment, particularly any protected sites?
  • Can it help us to be more resilient in the face of climate change?
  • Will the site maximise the use of public transport, or of cycling and walking?
  • Are there opportunities to create new infrastructure or local services?
  • Will it attract new skilled labour, or boost the local economy?
  • Will the site help to meet local demand for new, high quality homes?

Delivering the scale of growth set out in GMSF will also require a programme to encourage regeneration and development on brownfield land also transport investment, supported by a new transport fund. This will build on the existing Greater Manchester Transport Fund, and transport commitments within the 2014 Greater Manchester Devolution Agreement.

The future Greater Manchester Mayor, alongside GMCA will be able to apply new powers secured from the Government, to ensure that developers make a fair and reasonable contribution towards the infrastructure need that they generate through the development of sites.

Follow progress on or for further information follow us on: @GMSpatialFrame and also on: as well as on Making Places: Greater Manchester’s Spatial Framework

Article Published: 13/12/2018 18:23 PM