High Lane site tipped for GMSF removal

A Green Belt site in Stockport earmarked to deliver 500 homes is expected to be deleted from Greater Manchester’s spatial framework, as the council continues talks after delaying its approval of the GMSF.

Stockport councillors last Tuesday night voted to postpone a decision on whether to approve the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, asking for a further “two to three weeks” to build consensus among opposition groups.

The latest draft of the much-delayed GMSF was published in October and sets out land allocations for housing and employment uses in the city-region over the period to 2038. An eight-week public consultation was expected to launch next week, however, Stockport Council is facing opposition to proposals contained within the document to release some Green Belt sites across the borough for development, causing delays

Controversial proposals for Stockport in the strategy include 1,700 homes in Heald Green, 500 in High Lane and 750 homes at Woodford Aerodrome.

Place North West understands that councillors met with Caroline Simpson, Stockport Council’s director of place, on Friday and a decision was reached to remove the High Lane site from the GMSF. The council is still discussing the contents of the document, and High Lane is just one proposal it could put to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for approval when it concludes its discussions.

The High Lane Green Belt site is located off the A6 Buxton Road, between Hazel Grove and Disley. Under the GMSF, developers interested in building homes on the site would be expected to provide “suitable access points” north and south of the A6 and improve local transport infrastructure. They would also need to protect certain heritage assets in the local area, such as the grade two-listed Marsden House.

Local Conservative councillors welcomed the news. “This is a huge victory for the tireless campaigning of High Lane’s formidable residents, who for the last five years have fought against the planned decimation of local Green Belt land,” said William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove, in a statement on his website.

“We knew all along that the plans were disproportionate and would adversely impact the lives of residents. What we have proved in High Lane, is that there is no methodology to support building on the Green Belt, and we will not stop here.

“Residents in Bredbury, Offerton, Romiley and Woodley have worked tirelessly against building on local greenbelt, and I continue to support them with their campaigns.”

Nick Lee, managing director of planning advisory firm NJL Consulting, told Place North West: “The proposal to delete High lane completely is not overly surprising as it is the simplest way for the Conservative group to see a positive change from their perspective. The main question is how the lost 500 units will now be provided.

“There will be ongoing pressure to seek brownfield site solutions, but I would not be surprised if such alternatives are pretty well used up, otherwise the allocation would not have been pursued.

“It would make some sense to look at the other proposed allocations that are the most sustainably located and see if they can take more numbers or not. This would be the least disruptive way of amending the document and would not change its strategy.”



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The “I’m alright jack” approach taken by Stockport Lib Dems and Tories is devastating. If it wasn’t for the GMSF, we’d see a lot more greenbelt taken out in Stockport. With the current plan, Stockport was offloading some homes to other boroughs, which must have been massive for the others to swallow. Now they want to take even less of the load? I hope future GMCA spending decisions recognise this selfishness.

By Remember This

The High Lane site was unsustainable – active travel and public transport is poor and difficult to improve, so 500 houses at a low density would mean almost 100% car access and a disaster for the local area. HOWEVER. The Conservatives have made a big deal about this ‘victory’. Are they prepared to stump up the extra money at national level to develop homes in the existing urban area.

By Peter Black

Political fudge typical of Stockport. The Lib Dems in particular should be ashamed of themselves.

By Monty

The GMSF documents clearly state that sufficient brownfield sites exist in Greater Manchester to accommodate its housing need. Read the plan it’s there in black and white.

By Ken Dodder

This Stockport stuff is the typical grubby micro-politics of NIMBYism, but looks like it’s solvable with tweaks to the GMSF – we are incredibly fortunate that at this point in the electoral cycle, nearly all GM local authorities are from the same party. Its slightly galling when Stockport talks about brownfield land in other local authorities being the solution. At the macro-level, there’s a huge flaw that few politicians, including Burnham, want to talk about. GM will probably be one of the places that actually hits its government housing targets – but who says those targets are the right ones, do they significantly compress the affordability ratios of market rate housing or just keep our head above water with growth of the metro. It’s much more the latter than the former.

By Rich X

The documents show the High Lane allocation to be one of the most viable and with enough financial capacity to deliver the necessary transport improvements.

It’s not just about Greater Manchester’s housing need, but each individual districts. You can’t meet Stockport’s housing needs on brownfield land in Wigan. Also brownfield sites- especially if they’re conversions of old buildings – don’t provide the right type of housing to meet needs, especially for families needing gardens, for example.

By Gethin

The high lane development was excessive for the area. I don’t know why they don’t allocate smaller schemes of 100-150 houses and spread them out more. Locals would find it easier to accept smaller developments rather than huge sprawling estates that change the character of the area

By Jon P

Greater Manchester is competing on a world and domestic stage for future investment. Efficiency is the main lubricant. In addition to the important and urgent and much needed future habitats, an elevated or semi-elevated corridor completing the Airport relief road through to the M60 might be an idea to wit how most of the world’s advanced economies go about these things.

By Just Thinking

This is what happens when politics are allowed to get in the way of sensible decision making. Perhaps more but smaller sites would’ve been accepted, but then the cost of providing essential supporting infrastructure would’ve likely been prohibitive.

By the by

Total shambles from the Lib Dems and Tory politicians in the Borough. The irony is that Salford and Manchester, as well as the other boroughs, took on additional housing that Stockport thought was unpalatable. The hypocrisy of the situation is that if Stockport pulls the plug, the Bborough will have to deliver a lot more housing than had been originally been proposed and if they push towards 100% brownfield, say goodbye to the affordable housing and contributions to transport, education and health due to developers screaming ‘viability issues’. They should be ashamed of their grandstanding at the 11th hour.

By Anonymous

Build build build and build more housing developments, don’t care about the lovely greenbelt and the lovely countryside..

By Darren born bred

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