The joint plan isn't popular with everyone. Credit: via PfE

GMCA plots ‘breakaway’ solution for GMSF 

Greater Manchester leaders are to meet tomorrow to discuss proposals to create a spatial framework for just nine local authority areas instead of 10, after Stockport rejected the plans last week. 

Having decided against being part of the framework, Stockport Council will now focus on drawing up a local plan, while the remaining nine Greater Manchester boroughs look to salvage the joint strategy among themselves. 

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority executive board, comprising the leaders of the 10 Greater Manchester councils, must now vote on whether to forge ahead with the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework without Stockport. 

At the meeting on Friday 11 December, Salford Mayor Paul Dennett, who is also the GMCA’s portfolio lead for housing, will ask the leaders of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan to agree in principle to the formation of a joint committee to draw up a revised framework for the nine boroughs. 

Stockport’s rejection of the GMSF, a plan that allocates land for housing and employment development across the conurbation over the years to 2037, was caused largely by opposition Conservative councillors that claimed the proposal would cause unacceptable harm to the borough’s Green Belt. 

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Hopefully the 9 authorities can kick on now with the GMSF and get it adopted next year. Hope the Government come down hard on Stockport with their housing numbers for their petty political rejection of the GMSF and show them how big of a mistake they have made. There is a very big chance they are going to lose more green belt than was proposed in this plan

By Anon

Crack on without them then and get it done so some actual work can get started.

With Stockport now having to build their full allocation themselves it should actually give a bit of slack to the 9 boroughs that are cooperating.

By Thumbs Up

Great if this can go ahead with the 9 boroughs. Its going to be a harsh reality check for Stockport when they have to build on the green belt anyway and incorporate the extra numbers that Manchester and Salford offered to take. Maybe they also want to can the proposed Metrolink to Stockport.

By Bob

Not a surprise, the GMSF had taken years to get to this stage. Stockport are likely to see opportunist developers pushing forward, why should the world stand still why politicians prevaricate. Stockport residents have not been well represented.

By Anonymous

Unless Stockport have a Plan B ready to be implemented soon’ish and a version of their Brownfield Register that no one else has seen then i worry that they have been a little naive. The consequences could be challenging for them. The democratic process has however spoken and we all move on [as quickly as possible please]

By Paul

I think that going ahead with GMSF plan by the 9 council would be a great decisions, as years of hard work and efforts made by the 9 authorities would not get wasted. I support the GMSF plan, as it would bring more economic opportunities in Greater Manchester region and under the GMSF we would lose less greenfield. Stockport will regret their decision later of rejecting GMSF, when they are forced to build on greenbelt to meet their housing requirement under their local plan.

By John

Great work, go on 9 council, and get GMSF started as soon as possible

By Anthony

With the hard work put on the GMSF project by the 10 councils for the last few years and the constructive and very beneficial GMSF plan, I would strongly recommend the nine councils to go ahead with the GMSF project as this project creates jobs, contributes to the economy, fulfils the government housing requirement, and also save much more of our green belts.

By Javed

Great news that the 9 will carry on. As other comments say, this takes some pressure off the other outlying authorities and means massively more Green Belt development is inevitable in Stockport. This is absolutely the correct and inevitable outcome of their ludicrous decision, for which the politicians and anti-development campaigners there must take all of the blame


Anon GMSF was never going to be adopted before 2022 at the very earliest. Even if the plan of 9 does happen there is considerable work needed to re-write and re-visit evidence to ensure it works. Then it will need all political approvals again. Assuming it gets through its public examination without requiring a fundamental re-write, against intense attack from the development industry for being too cautious and the public opposing Green Belt release, late 2022 is likely to be the earliest adoption I’d reckon.

By Informed planner

Think you all need a reality check on the greenbelt and stop seeing pounds signs before the health and well being of the constituents that live there. We are not nimby’s we are purely people that love having somewhere safe for our children to grow up in! Greenbelt was brought in for a reason and that reason is more relevant that ever!

By Claire

The 9 Boroughs should crack on and leave Stockport to continually shoot themselves in the foot.

By Monty

You just need to be realistic. The outcome is going to be a lot worse for Stockport residents now. The housing numbers they will be required to adhere to will be a lot higher. They were actually getting off lightly with other authorities taking a lot of the brunt. The residents will have a big shock coming their way when they see the actual greenbelt they are going to lose now.


Well done Stockport!! Its about time someone saw sense & protected our precious greenbelt.

Coronavirus has proved that areas with a high population density are more vulnerable to pandemics – it has already had a devastating affect on Greater Manchester. The last thing we need is more houses, more people, more cars, more pollution and less green space.

Also worth mentioning that our roads/motorways ,schools,hospitals,doctors surgeries are already filled to capacity.

By L

So many years to wait for a framework with pathetic housebuilding targets, and it’s still rejected anyway because of one borough.

And every delay means more missed housebuilding. Just like at national level, the recognition of the problem, and the setting or targets is done at a high level, but it’s meaningless because it can all be held back by opposition at local level.

The whole point of frameworks like this, is that they’re supposed to avoid that problem – by having the targets set at medium scale, by the same people who grant permission. If individual boroughs can still filibuster the plan, then the whole thing is just a pointless extra layer of beaurocracy.

Unless GM can make it’s own planning decisions on a majority vote, then there is no point in a GMSF. If it’s just going to be a “target” that local authorities can ignore, we might as well just stick to ignoring national targets like we used to.

By Anonymous

I hope all the other councils follow Stockport’s decision. In view of the recent pandemic, there will be no need to take our greenbelt land. As more and more people work from home there will be plenty of brownfield sites to build on. Greenbelt belongs to nature and the animals that live there.

By Sylvia wild.

At last some sense by the 9 councils to carry on without Stockport after all the rewrites and the related costs that have been involved.
This must go ahead without anymore delays, to deliver a great future for the county.

By Anon

I love all these people that want to “crack on” and get these houses built – regardless of the impact on local people, wildlife and green spaces in greater manchester.

If I were to guess….. some of these comments are probably from developers/ councillors/ mayor who stand to make hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds £££ out of all this. And when the rest of us are overcrowded, with inadequate infrastructure & no green spaces left.. you will be living it up in a beautiful mansion in a lovely rural location,having left this mess behind for the rest of us to live with.

Local people should have a say in these plans & greenbelt land should be protected.

By Sam

Seek out the speech made by Adrian Nottingham, an independent councillor for Heald Green. He spoke eloquently & sensibly about how out of date the GMSF was in relation to government demands and a changing world. Is Brexit likely to see a decceleration in population growth? So many unanswered questions and building on every bit of green belt in Heald Green was not and never will be a solution. They politicians could not even be bothered addressing the infrastructure ‘000’s of extra houses need. All any councils see now is build private housing, get the cash for spurious school place funding, road improvements at the developers cost and all that extra council tax while absolving themselves of looking after the new build estates in the same manner as existing properties. Scandalous.

By David Etchells

10 out of 10 to Stockport defenders of the green belt,

By Ray brown

Anybody who thinks the decision by Stockport Council will defend the greenbelt is mistaken. The council have to reach Government targets for the construction of houses and they simply do not have available land which means developers will be able to get permission to build on greenbelt land. The GMSF allowed for Salford and Manchester to take some of Stockports allocation which they will now have to provide themselves therefore putting more pressure on the greenbelt not less.

By Anonymous

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