Metro Mayor Andy Burnham has said he will refocus the planning debate on town centres and infrastructure-led development, in response to public concerns expressed in the first consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
More than 27,000 people responded to the initial consultation on the draft GMSF. Responses included around 17,000 letters and 18 separate petitions, as well as thousands of comments made through the GMSF consultation portal.
All responses have been published today, and are now available to view on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website at www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/gmsf
Burnham said: “We had a huge public response to the first round of consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and we have listened carefully to what people have told us. The plan does need radical change and we will consult every step of the way as we develop the next draft that responds to those concerns. There will still be difficult decisions to be made but we will take those decisions in an open, transparent and consultative way.
“I want the new plan to refocus the debate on the transformational development opportunities for our towns, and in the coming weeks I will set out details of a new town centre challenge. Each borough will have the opportunity to nominate a town with regeneration potential. Our aim will be to kickstart the regeneration effort so we can breathe new life into our smaller towns.”
A draft of the GMSF was released last year, but plans to implement the strategy have been put on hold, as Burnham fulfils his mayoral campaign promise to radically rewrite the plan. The revised version is due out after the local elections in May next year.
According to a statement from the GMCA, both positive and negative issues were raised during the initial consultation. These included:
- Concerns about the amount of greenbelt land allocated for development. This was the single biggest issue which was raised during the consultation process.
- Others recognised the need for new housing of all types and welcomed the ambition in the plan to provide much-needed housing
- Concerns around effects on the environment and air quality
- The potential for job creation which the GMSF highlights was welcomed.
- The need to link developments to infrastructure improvements
- The types of housing and jobs being created.
The redrafted spatial framework will aim to make the most of Greater Manchester’s brownfield sites and reduce the impact on Green Belt, and have an increased emphasis on affordability.
Paul Dennett, GMCA lead for planning, housing and homelessness, said: “The Spatial Framework is our plan to provide the land for jobs and new homes that will help make Greater Manchester a global city we can be proud of and is a huge part of securing the future success of Greater Manchester.
“To do justice to the tens of thousands of responses we received as part of the initial consultation, and to demonstrate continued trust and transparency in the process, Greater Manchester leaders agreed a timetable last month with a series of steps leading up to the publication of the revised plan in June 2018. Publishing all of the consultation responses is the first step in this process.”
The next step in the GMSF process will come later in the year when the GMCA will publish data and associated sources of information such as the population and household projections produced by the Office of National Statistics, the new national methodology for calculating housing need, reviewed economic growth forecasts, transport studies and information on brownfield land.
Dennett added: “We will, of course, continue to listen to and engage with the public as the new draft of the plan is developed, as well as keeping people updated on progress. This includes meeting with interested groups in the coming months. We recognise that to make our vision a reality, the process must be shaped and informed by local people.”