Under Bridge Manchester C.JoeGardner
View of Manchester from underneath a bridge. c. .Joe Gardner for Place North West

GM retains 60% Green Belt release reduction in Places for Everyone

Julia Hatmaker

The revised Greater Manchester spatial framework increases employment land allocation compared to last year’s proposal while keeping much of its heart, promising to build 90% of new homes in urban areas.

Places for Everyone builds on the third draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, the long awaited joint spatial strategy for the city region that has been in the works for almost five years. That version was published last October but its future was upended when Stockport Council decided to quit the framework in December.

The new draft framework has been designed by the remaining nine Greater Manchester boroughs and outlines their development ambitions through to 2037.

Like the latest proposal for the GMSF, Places for Everyone includes a reduction in allocation of Green Belt land for development by 60% compared to what was proposed in the first draft of the GMSF in 2016. However, Places for Everyone cuts employment land by 40% compared to the 2016 proposal, rather than the 50% proposed last October.

Places for Everyone details how Greater Manchester will meet the Government’s housing target for the city region of 165,000 homes by 2037. The new homes would largely be developed on brownfield land, thanks to a £97m commitment from the Government’s Brownfield Housing Fund, according to Places for Everyone. The participating boroughs estimate that the money would enable 57 schemes to build at least 5,500 homes on brownfield land, of which 2,000 would be affordable homes.

Greater Manchester is undertaking a “brownfield priority” approach for development, the draft plan adds.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham highlighted the Mayfield and Victoria North regeneration programmes as fitting his vision for city region growth in the years to come, spotlighting their commitment to creating parks as well as housing.

“We are doing what we can to back up the promise of a greener Greater Manchester,” Burnham said. “We recognise that we need to build the right homes in the right places. That is what Places for Everyone seeks to do.”

Burnham said Places for Everyone will be key to helping the city region’s development in future.

“The city regions that will prosper the most are the ones that are clearest about where they’re going in the coming period,” he said.

Key numbers to know:

  • 20.5m sq ft of accessible office space is allocated in the plan, largely divided up between the city centre, the Quays and Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone.
  • 35.8m sq ft of industrial and warehousing floorspace is included. Key locations are the Quays, Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone, Port Salford, Northern Gateway, M6 logistics hub in Wigan, the expanding city centre, and the town centres of Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan.
  • 56,528 new homes will be coming to the city of Manchester by 2037, under Places for Everyone. That is the most out of all city region boroughs. Salford has the next highest housing allotment with 26,528, followed by Trafford with 17,954.
  • 50,000 additional affordable homes are proposed in Places for Everyone. Of those homes, 60% will be for social rent or affordable rent.
  • 4,300 acres will be taken from the Green Belt for development as part of the new plan.

The four priority areas in Places for Everyone:

  • Core Growth Area: This includes central Manchester, south-east Salford and north Trafford. Places for Everyone calls for sustainable development to encourage an increase in jobs. The proposal calls for 98,000 new homes in the area, along with necessary green space and social infrastructure to support them.
  • Inner Area Regeneration: This is made up of the surrounding inner parts of Manchester, Salford and Trafford. Places for Everyone identifies enough land for nearly 67 acres of office space, 33 acres of industrial and around 30,000 new homes.
  • Boost Northern Competitiveness: This section looks into Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Wigan and west Salford. Priorities here include reusing brownfield, enhancing town centres and providing a range of homes. All of this will be complemented by transport connectivity improvements. Places for Everyone calls for 13,000 new homes in the Wigan-Bolton Growth Corridor and 19,000 homes in the North-East Growth Corridor.
  • Sustain Southern Competitiveness: This part is devoted to most of Trafford and South Manchester, as well as Stockport, which will have its own local plan. Manchester Airport plays a key role in the framework, which Places for Everyone says will be “central to raising our global profile and economic performance”. Also on the transport agenda: an HS2 station west of the airport, constructing a western leg of the Metrolink to the HS2 station and making a network of cycling and walking routes. The plan calls for completion of Airport City, to provide 1,700 new homes at Timperley Wedge and 646,000 sq ft of office floor space by the HS2 station.

Places for Everyone also calls for investment in the transport network of the city region, creating a larger and more integrated transit network.

The framework is intended to be looked at alongside the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s other development-related proposals and ambitions, including the call to deliver 30,000 zero-carbon homes, the push for a Green Spaces Fund to create pocket parks across the city, and the mission to make the city region net zero by 2038.

Places for Everyone outlines ways to help meet those other policy goals. It calls for the retrofitting of existing buildings to improve energy efficiency, creating a balanced and smart electricity grid and increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points.

The draft will go before elected members across Greater Manchester on 20 July for initial approval. The GMCA hopes the document will be published for public consultation from 9 August to 3 October.

If all goes according to plan, Places for Everyone will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for official approval in January 2022.

Your Comments

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Looks like a measured plan that will allow, over the next 20 years, controlled sustainable development meanwhile over in Stockport greenbelt will be lost to uncontrolled construction. Unbelievable!

By Anonymous

But hang on the 2016 proposal had exhaused all options regarding Greenbelt…. and low and behold they can now reduce it by 60%! Proof (if needed) that these councils talk rubbish and couldn’t care less where gets built so long as they benefit financially. Good job the residents care enough

By PS

Homes in places people don’t want to live.

By YS

We should protect our greenbelt and protect our lovely scenic beautiful countryside.

By Darren born bred.

The Green Belt….golf courses, ratty scrub, and farmland leached and grazed to within an inch of its life. Wrong headed early 20th century gubbins about “bad” cities encroaching on rural landowners. Needs a complete rethink as to what its all for really.

By Sceptic

@YS your comment makes no sense. Where precisely do people not want to live? There is a massive shortage of homes and Brown field sites as well as green have to be utilised to meet the incredible demand for housing. It’s only going to get worse if they don’t have a coherent plan.

By Anonymous

I’m convinced a lot of folk don’t know the difference between greenbelt and green field sites. Both of the runways at Manchester Airport are in the greenbelt, as is the sewage works at Stockport. It’s not all rolling hills and lambs frolicking.

By Red Rose

@Anonymous – There are 10,000 empty properties lying arund the NW currently and empty shops and properties strewn across the every town and city. Why not start there? We know why. £££££ Also with regards to Greenbelt, you need to look at each area individually. For example, in Bury the very heart of the town will be built on in areas where there are wild deer roaming and endangered species living. People use these areas identified for building on regular and have been essential over the last 2 years.

By PS

Nature sites and areas of countryside can be ‘designated’, which means they have special status as protected areas because of their natural and cultural importance. Protection means that these places: have clear boundaries have people and laws to make sure that the nature and wildlife are not harmed or destroyed. The land can also be used by people for recreation and study
Places are made into protected areas by:
organisations, such as Natural England local councils and bylaws
national and international laws and organisations, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
There are restrictions on activities and developments that might affect a designated or protected area, for example building new houses or roads. This includes areas next to as well as in those areas.

By Anonymous

Worth noting only 3.3% of the current Green Belt is proposed to be removed under this plan. Hardly exactly tearing up the Green Belt which let’s not forget has been in place for almost 40 years! Also the plan is officially submitted to the SoS for a public examination by the Planning Inspectorate – if it is found to be ok, the right strategy and evidenced, then it will be each of 9 districts to formally adopt it. If one doesn’t the whole thing folds. GM is still probably 2 years from adoption and that’s being optimistic.

By Informed planner

Politicians need to find a way to change the narrative on green belt. If the alternative is putting housing in locations further away from transit, active travel, local amenities, and more car dependent then that’s a perverse outcome, and if land is of genuine amenity then take steps create rights of way or country parks.

By Rich X