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.”