Insight

Have things got a whole lot harder for GMSF?

Stockport Town Hall

The odds of the GMSF being successfully delivered fell a little lower this week in the council chamber at Stockport Town Hall, after the local Conservative group failed to rule out voting against any final draft that they were asked to endorse.

For the GMSF to progress, all ten local authorities in Greater Manchester need to sign-off the final draft, with a majority of councillors in each area voting to approve the final version before it is submitted to the planning inspectorate in late 2020.  So what could this mean?

The first rule of politics: learn to count

Unlike other Greater Manchester councils Stockport is currently on a political knife edge. Labour run the council with 26 seats, the Lib Dem opposition also has 26 with the Conservatives on eight seats and three independent councillors.  

Stockport Lib Dems have opposed the GMSF since 2017 and look likely to maintain this position – especially as the party’s mayoral candidate Andy Kelly has vowed to scrap it.  Should the Conservative Group follow the lead of Cheadle MP Mary Robinson and vow to oppose GMSF, it is hard to see how a majority in the council chamber could be found to endorse the document.

With a third of council seats up for election in May 2020, there is every chance that the political arithmetic in Stockport could change.  BUT as things stand it doesn’t look promising.

With repeated delays to the GMSF, mayoral and borough council elections to take place next year and a general election due to happen imminently, things may have just got a whole lot harder.

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Any plan that undertakes to take greenbelt land should be scrapped. I appeal to the conservatives- do not support this plan.

By Sylvia wild