Frequently Asked Questions
What is Places for Everyone?
The Places for Everyone (PfE) joint development plan document (DPD) is a long-term plan of nine Greater Manchester districts (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) for jobs, new homes and sustainable growth.
It sets out where we will build the new homes we need, where our businesses will locate to sustain and create jobs for our people, what infrastructure is needed to support the development and to protect and enhance our towns, cities and landscapes. Through the proposed modifications it covers a timeframe up to 2039.
Why is Places for Everyone being produced?
Alongside other strategies, Places for Everyone will help to shape a better future for our communities and deliver the ambitions set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy:
- a good start in life for everyone;
- good opportunities for our young people to equip them for life;
- good work and the best jobs in a valuable, productive, zero carbon economy;
- safe, secure housing in inclusive and diverse communities;
- a good cultural and leisure offer for everyone;
- a green city-region;
- good health and support for people to live fulfilling lives, with quality care for those who need it;
- to be a good place to grow older and to be a place where everyone is connected – socially, digitally and by a clean, integrated and accessible transport system.
How will Places for Everyone relate to Local Plans?
Places for Everyone is the strategic spatial plan for the nine constituent boroughs and sets out a collective planning policy framework. All policies within the Plan are ‘strategic policies’.
Once Places for Everyone is adopted, it will form part of the wider development plan of each of the nine districts. District Local Plans will need to be consistent with it and any neighbourhood plans would need to be in general conformity with the strategic policies within it.
There will still be a requirement for districts to produce a Local Plan to sit alongside Places for Everyone as the Local Plan will set out more detailed, locally-specific planning policies that are particularly relevant and important to each district.
What consultation has taken place so far?
So far, five consultations have taken place in relation to the Plan, the first four in relation to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (all 10 GM districts) and the fifth in relation to Places for Everyone (9 of the GM Districts excluding Stockport).
- November 2014 - Scope and initial evidence base
- November 2015 - Vision, strategy and strategic growth options
- October 2016 - Draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
- January 2019 – Revised Draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
- August 2021 - Publication Places for Everyone
Further information on these previous stages is available on the GMCA website.
What stage is Places for Everyone at now?
Places for Everyone was submitted for examination in February 2022 and independent Inspectors are continuing to examine the plan. The Inspectors have considered all the submitted evidence and representations that were made as part of the 2021 consultation and have held a number of hearing sessions over a 6-month period.
The programmed hearing sessions have now finished and at this stage of the examination, the Inspectors have effectively concluded that the plan could be found sound with some modifications. However, this is without prejudice to the Inspector’s final conclusions, and consideration by the Inspectors of all representations made on the main modifications.
Who has examined Places for Everyone?
Given the scale of the examination, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) appointed three Inspectors to hold an independent examination of the Plan: William Fieldhouse, Louise Gibbons and Steven Lee.
All three are experienced planning inspectors and have conducted the examination in a very thorough and professional way throughout.
What is the role of the Planning Inspectors in the examination?
The examination of Places for Everyone started when the Plan was submitted in February 2022 and will remain on-going until the Inspectors issue their final report.
The Inspector’s role is to examine whether the submitted plan meets the tests of soundness defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and meets all the relevant legal requirements.
The NPPF specifies that plans are ‘sound’ if they are:
- Positively prepared – providing a strategy which, as a minimum, seeks to meet the area’s objectively assessed needs for development; and is informed by agreements with other authorities, so that unmet need from neighbouring areas is accommodated where it is practical to do so and is consistent with achieving sustainable development;
- Justified – an appropriate strategy, taking into account the reasonable alternatives, and based on proportionate evidence;
- Effective – deliverable over the plan period, and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic matters that have been dealt with rather than deferred, as evidenced by the statement of common ground; and
- Consistent with national policy – enabling the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the NPPF and other statements of national planning policy, where relevant.
Points of legality include compliance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) and the preparation of a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) /Integrated Assessment. A Sustainability Appraisal is a tool for appraising the plan to ensure it reflects social, environmental and economic factors.
As part of the examination, the Inspectors consider all the written material in the examination library (including representations, written statements and background evidence) and everything that they heard at the hearing sessions. The Inspectors give the same weight to all written comments as they give to any evidence given verbally at the hearings.
All information relating to the examination is on the examination website hosted by the Programme Officers (impartial officers working under the direction of the Inspectors). This is where updates and documents in relation to the examination were made available to participants and the public during the examination.
What was the purpose of the examination hearings?
The hearing sessions for the Plan started on 1 November 2022 and sat for a total of 12 weeks, including a final session at the beginning of July 2023. All hearing sessions were livestreamed and remain available to view via the GMCA website.
The main purpose of the hearing sessions was for the Inspectors to probe the evidence further, by asking questions of the participants and hearing their views on the issues and questions raised by the Inspectors. The Inspectors also used these sessions to encourage discussion on how any soundness or legal compliance issues with the Plan could be resolved.
Why hasn’t the examination of Places for Everyone taken account of draft changes to the National Planning Policy Framework?
In December 2022, the Government consulted on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The consultation ran from 22 December 2022 to 2 March 2023.
The Inspectors made a statement that, in light of the transitional arrangements (contained within the draft NPPF changes), they would carry on with the examination as programmed in the context of the tests of soundness set out in current National Planning Policy Framework, published in 2021.
The Government is still analysing the consultation responses and, as such, the draft (as proposed to be changed) version of the NPPF cannot be used to determine whether a Plan is sound.
Can weight be given to Places for Everyone in decision making?
Places for Everyone is a material consideration and therefore should be taken into consideration by the districts in decision making.
As the Plan is not yet adopted, it cannot be given full weight in planning decisions. However, given the advanced stage reached and the conclusions of the Inspectors at this stage, the Plan (as proposed to be modified) can be given weight in determining planning applications.
At this stage, the degree of weight to be attached to the Plan is a decision for each of the participating districts on a case by case basis.
What was the outcome of the Places for Everyone examination hearings?
The Inspectors have confirmed that, at this stage, they are satisfied that the proposed main modifications are necessary to make the Plan sound and/or legally compliant and would be effective in that regard.
They have reached this conclusion after reviewing the extensive evidence, reports, representations and discussions throughout the hearing sessions. The modifications that they are seeking do not go to the heart of the strategy, which remains as submitted.
This conclusion is, however, without prejudice to the Inspectors’ final conclusions that they will reach following consideration of the consultation responses to the main modifications.
The Inspectors have asked that these proposed main modifications be published and made available for consultation.
What are main modifications?
Main modifications considered by the Inspectors at this stage to be necessary to make the plan sound and/or legally compliant. All proposed main modifications must be subject to public consultation before the Inspector can make final recommendations on them.
What are additional modifications?
Additional modifications (sometimes referred to as ‘minor modifications’) fall outside of the scope of the examination. They are modifications that do not materially affect a plan’s policies and are not required to make the plan sound or legally compliant.
For example, these might include factual updating, clarification and corrections to grammar and presentation.
As these modifications are beyond the scope of the examination, they will not be considered by the Inspectors but the nine councils will consider comments received on them.
There are a lot of main modifications proposed for Places for Everyone. Does this mean that the plan isn’t right?
It is normal practice at examinations for Inspectors to recommend main modifications to a plan where these are considered necessary to make the plan sound and/or legally compliant.
As a joint plan of the nine districts, Places for Everyone is substantial and complex document that has required the Inspectors to undertake an extensive examination that has already taken 20 months to get to the current stage. It is inevitable, therefore, that an examination of this scale and nature has given rise to a significant number of modifications.
Nevertheless, these modifications do not change the overall Vision, Objectives and Spatial Strategy of the Plan.
Why has the Plan period changed from 2021-2037 to 2022-2039?
The submitted Places for Everyone covered a plan period from 2021 to 2037. However, the Inspectors consider that the plan needs to be modified to extend this to cover the period 2022 to 2039.
This will ensure that, in line with the National Planning Policy Framework, the Places for Everyone’s strategic policies look ahead over a minimum 15-year period from adoption and, as a result, provide an adequate policy framework for the more detailed district local plans, which will follow on from the adoption of Places for Everyone.
What can I comment on?
It is important to note that, at this stage in the process, comments should only relate to the modifications to the PfE plan and consequential changes to the policies map. This is not an opportunity to make comments on any other parts of the plan.
Please note that the Inspectors will only consider comments received in response to the Main Modifications and Policies Map change(s). The nine PfE councils will consider comments relating to the Additional Modifications.
When is consultation on the modification taking place?
Consultation will take place over an eight-week period running from 11 October 2023 to 6 December 2023.
How can I view the modifications?
The proposed main and additional modifications and any related policy map changes, are set out in respective schedules and these have also been highlighted within a composite version of Places for Everyone so that the modifications can be viewed more easily within the context of the Plan itself.
The schedules of main and additional modifications, the Composite Plan and related policy map changes can be viewed at GMCA Website
For ease, the main modifications are shown in the Composite Plan in green text and the additional modifications are shown in amber. To aid the reader, the main and additional modification references have been included at the relevant sections within the document.
An updated Sustainability Appraisal report and Habitat Regulations Assessment report of the main modifications have also been prepared and are available to view via the above link.
How can I submit comments on the modifications?
At this stage, we are only asking for comments on the modifications (and associated documents) themselves. Comments on other aspects of the Plan not subject to a specific modification will not be considered.
All comments should be made to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
We would prefer comments to be submitted by completing the online response form at: www.gmconsult.org (external website). Alternatively, you can download the response form available on the GMCA Website and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also submit your comments to us by:
- email to: email@example.com; or
- post to: The Planning and Housing Team, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Tootal Buildings, 56 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6EU.
Comments and names will be published. Full details of how your information will be shared can be found in the Places for Everyone Privacy Notice, which is available on the GMCA Website.
Please refer to the representation guidance notes when preparing representations.
What happens following consultation on the modifications to the plan?
After the consultation on the modifications has ended, the representations received in relation to the main modifications will be forwarded to the Programme Officers (impartial officers working under the direction of the Inspectors) along with a report listing all of the duly made representations; a summary of the main issues raised; and a brief response, on behalf of the nine districts, to those main issues.
The Planning Inspectors will consider the representations made on the Main Modifications and consequential changes to the policies map before finalising their examination report and determining whether to recommend that Main Modifications are made so that the plan is capable of adoption. Further hearing sessions will not usually be held, unless the Inspectors consider them essential to deal with substantial issues raised in the representations, or to ensure fairness.
The nine PfE councils will consider the comments on the additional modifications.
The Planning Inspectorate have published guidance about the examination process (external website), including the modifications’ stage, which may be of interest.
What impact do the proposed modifications have on proposed Green Belt release?
Figure 6.6. in the Green Belt topic paper (07.01.25) illustrates the proportion of Green Belt to be released in various drafts of the GMSF and in the PfE 2021. The table below provides updated information in relation to PfE 2023.
Proposed Green Belt (Ha) 2023
Net Green Belt loss when compared to Current Green Belt 2023 (Ha.)
Net Green Belt loss when compared to Current Green Belt 2023 (%)
Difference in net loss of Green Belt from 2016 (%) - Between 2016 and 2023