Timperley Wedge Allocation
The Timperley Wedge allocation in the GMSF

Trafford pushes back on GMSF housing numbers

Charlie Schouten and Jessica Middleton-Pugh

While a Conservative motion urging Trafford Council to pull its support for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was defeated last night, a move by the Green Party to reduce the borough’s housing allocation was supported.

The council’s Conservative group put forward a motion last week, arguing Trafford “cannot support the GMSF in its current form” due to Green Belt release and uncertainty over the area’s housing allocation.

It followed comments made by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse in February as to where responsibility should lie for assessing housing need; Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham later demanded Malthouse provide clarity on the issue.

The motion said that the comments from Malthouse “casts further considerable doubt on the integrity of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

“The Minister has confirmed the Government’s policy position, that it is for local areas to determine and make the justification for any deviation from assessed housing need in a local area.

“Council is concerned that Trafford is releasing more Green Belt land as a percentage of its proposed allocations to meet need than any other borough in Greater Manchester, and is doing so whilst this uncertainty exists.

“Given these factors, and until a satisfactory resolution is found, the council cannot support the GMSF in its present form.”

The motion was defeated along party lines last night, with all 28 Conservative councillors voting in favour, but the Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Green groups voting against.

An amendment by Green councillors, Dan Jerrome and Geraldine Coggins, was passed. This argued for the protection of areas such as Carrington Moss, a large amount of which is earmarked for release under the draft plan.

Although Flixton’s Green Belt has been spared from the GMSF, a key campaign pledge of Labour’s Andrew Western in 2018, the Timperley Wedge and Carrington are earmarked to be released from the Green Belt, putting them in line to house up to 12,400 homes and more than 4m sq ft of employment space.

The Timperley site sits between Hale, Hale Barns, Timperley, Baguley and Wythenshawe Hospital, and has been allocated to provide around 2,400 homes over the next 18 years along with a minimum of nearly 650,000 sq ft of employment space, primarily offices.

The allocation for housing here is significantly lower than the 3,300 units put forward in 2016. A large chunk of Green Belt remains to the west of Timperley Brook and Clay Lane, which the Greater Manchester Combined Authority said would maintain the separation of Timperley and Hale.

The Green Party’s motion stated the council should “continue to push for a reduction in Trafford’s housing allocation, to minimise Green Belt take in Trafford”, as well as “confirm[ing] that the council wishes to work constructively to see a satisfactory conclusion and is willing to work cross party to achieve as such”.

The motion also argued the council should “do all we can to protect all our green spaces, in particular Green Belt land such as that at Timperley Wedge and Carrington”.

Another Green motion, backed by the Lib Dems, also passed, which will end the use of dangerous herbicides across the borough’s green spaces over the next year.

It will now be down to leader Cllr Andrew Western to communicate Trafford’s concerns to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who is experiencing push-back over the revised GMSF from various angles, including the Government’s own civil servants who have said that the decrease in the City Region’s housing targets could see it lose a £70m housing deal.

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The GMSF process is almost as bad as Brexit…

By Bobby Zamora

We can’t have housing near rich people! Put it next to the plebs!

By Nordyne

I thought Labour was for the protection of Greenbelt…only when it suits it seems.

By Anonymous

Local councils should decide what can be realistically and sustainably built in their area, since they live, work and talk to the local area, rather than Andy Burnham who is unlikely to ever understand the implication of enforced housing targets on an area’s landscape.

By Anonymous

We have a national housing shortage yet politicians continue to play games with the planning process.

By Lenny1968

Mr Burnham won’t like the idea of losing £70m!

By Anonymous

In an expanding and forward looking vibrant city, people generally want two basic things to improve their lives. A good job which they live fairly close to and a nice house in a nice place. To achieve this something has to give! For the large amount of new housing required, in the right places there is only one place to go, Green Belt. Yes it needs to be managed carefully and sympathetically where possible but progress cannot be held back by being too precious! The answer after the last war was to build on green fields the many estates needed for the housing need. The same applies now following years of housing stagnation and infrastucture denegration. Stop messing about and get on with it otherwise we will miss the boat again!

By Carlo

I travel the length and breadth of this country, there are houses being built everywhere, and I mean everywhere! Plots of land are snapped up and built on (to the financial gains of building companies) and villages/towns are expanding fast and in my opinion being ruined. If our population is really expanding at the rate that houses are being built then we will be in serious trouble in a few years

By Anonymous

Firstly Nordyne, how dare you! Building on green belt is nothing to to with who’s got what I live in this area and I am certainly not rich. Protests on climate change are futile as there is no point in doing anything if you want all our green spaces taken away, it is these areas that help pollution, and what about the wildlife? These are just a couple of the reasons, there are many. 2400 houses will be an enormous amount of cars, the roads around this area are already choked. There are many many brownfield sites available for building houses, it’s developers that want easy money, approx 75% of these properties will go up for sale at high prices, I’m not happy with this it stinks of lining pockets. So try doing research instead of coming on here and insulting people!

By Rita S