The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework – Next Steps for the City

The ten Greater Manchester local authorities, who collectively form Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), are preparing a new Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF).

The GMSF is a new Development Plan Document (i.e. a statutory planning document) and is intended to provide the basis for an integrated approach to land use planning across the City Region. It identifies and evidences the level of housing, retail and employment growth which should be planned for over the next 20 years, linking the council's own local plans.

This will be England's first statutory development plan for a city-region, with proposals to treble its current rate of house building. The document states that 224,823 new homes are required in the period 2012-33, equating to an average of 10,706 homes per year, but as only 3,700 new homes were finished in 2012/13, the average annual need for the period increases to 11,056 homes a year.

Whilst this is only at the first stage of an assessment of housing need based on assumptions, at Barton Willmore we welcome the document and believe this is a pioneering approach to planning and growth in the region. This is an exciting time for Greater Manchester and it is a clear opportunity for us all to start working together and promote the City as 'leading the way' on managing land supply and meeting targets when it comes to housing and employment.

What next?

GMSF will be advanced over the next four years, starting with the gathering of evidence and developing options. A draft Consultation Plan will be submitted in 2016, a Publication Draft Plan, submission and examination in 2017, and finally adoption in 2018.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is consulting on the initial evidence and research findings and would like to share this information with key stakeholders to test the methodology and their conclusions so far. As an initial engagement stage, AGMA wish to generate ongoing discussions about the GMSF and would be grateful for your responses. The deadline for response is 5.00pm on 7 November.

Clearly a new land use planning document is important for developers and local businesses to be aware of and to shape the future growth of the city over the next 20 years. If you're keen to find out more about the strategy for Greater Manchester's growth, please contact

You can download our full Briefing Note on the GMSF here.

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