GMSF Area
The GMSF allocates land for housing and employment across all 10 GM boroughs

Leaders unanimously approve GMSF 

Dan Whelan

The leaders of all 10 Greater Manchester councils have supported the latest draft of the delayed spatial framework, intended to map areas for future development and support post-Covid economic recovery.

In a GMCA meeting on Friday, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham praised Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, who leads on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, for his “patience and painstaking work” in achieving consensus across all 10 boroughs to approve the draft document. 

Dennett said: “Strategic planning is really important, and even more so in a context of significant national and global uncertainty. 

“Let’s not play politics with this plan. In doing so we could end up with a disaster.” 

The GMSF allocates land for housing and employment development over the next two decades to create a sustainable future for citizens, and has been the source of contention in recent years, particularly due to concerns over proposed Green Belt release. 

The latest draft, published last month, reduces Green Belt release by 60% compared to proposals in the first edition of the document in 2016. It also reduces the amount of land earmarked for employment uses, by 50% compared to in 2016. 

Bolton Council leader David Greenhalgh praised the brownfield-first approach of the framework, while Andrew Western, leader of Trafford Council, said the latest draft was “an extremely important document in terms of how we move forward as a green city-region”. 

Elise Wilson, leader of Stockport Council, said the framework would drive growth and investment in the region – an opinion echoed by Rochdale Council leader Allen Brett, who said the borough “fully supports” the plan. 

Meanwhile, Bury Council leader Eamonn O’Brien said the framework strikes a “good balance” between meeting the borough’s housing requirements and preserving Green Belt land. 

Sean Fielding, leader of Oldham Council, praised the collaboration that had been shown in drawing up the plan, adding that buy-in from the region’s only Conservative leader, Greenhalgh, demonstrated cross-party support for the framework.

Tameside Council leader Brenda Warrington said the framework was a “true Greater Manchester joint venture”, while Wigan Council leader, David Molyneux, said the changes made since the publication of the 2016 draft showed that the region had listened to residents’ concerns. 

“The plan going forward is going to play a big part in how we recover,” he added. 

The GMSF will now be debated by all 10 councils this month ahead of the launch of an eight-week public consultation between 1 December to 26 January 2021.

Your Comments

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So basically no more nice houses will be built in GM ever again

By Dan

Plan at the top is from the last draft. Some of the sites aren’t in it any more

By Gethin

Good stuff. No more miserable housing estates built in the middle of a green field occupied by miserable people living a slow, painful suburban life. Flats and apartments in sustainable locations is the way to go, nobody wants to live in an identikit house with power lines overhead needing a car to get anywhere, that’s so last century

By Anonymous

Most new build house pretty similar to me, anyway less green belt swallowed by housing developments is a good thing, lockdown has shown how much people value green space.

By Jon P

If by nice you mean shoddily-built, under-sized, over-priced noddy boxes, miles from any decent amenities, then yes, volume housebuilders might see the gravy train coming to an end in Greater Manchester finally. Instead they might have to start re-structuring themselves and innovating to take more of an holistic view, becoming proper builders, able invest for the long term in quality brownfield development rather than merely land speculators with a construction arm devoted to cheap shoddy suburban boxes, bolted-on.

By House builder basher

Superb news! Looking forward to seeing these houses developed in the years to come

By Anon

Good to hear. I am still not a fan of any greenfield use but I am glad there is agreement among the powers that be – a unified approach to ensure all the necessary infrastructure is included is far better that any piecemeal sprawl.

The new road around Wythenshawe Hospital and the airport is desperately needed, the current roads are not fit for purpose and are an accident waiting to happen.

By Thumbs Up

I understand that the plan does not yet have the blessing of every local authority. My understanding is that Stockport has not agreed, but perhaps you could clarify?

By Linda Medhurst

Thank you Linda, the boroughs have agreed in principle and are now examining the details in meetings over the coming days. We will be reporting further on this.

By Sarah Townsend