Stockport plots path for local plan
Having controversially pulled out of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework last year, the council aims to develop its own plan by autumn 2023 to guide the delivery of 18,600 homes between now and 2038.
Stockport Council claims the decision to withdraw from the GMSF presents the authority with “a once in a generation opportunity for Stockport to develop its own local plan”.
One of the key pillars of the Stockport local plan is a brownfield-first approach to development.
The main reason the borough pulled out of the GMSF was due to concerns about Green Belt release. Now, a document outlining the council’s approach to creating the local plan reiterates the desire to protect green space in Stockport.
“We will focus firstly on our town and district centres and their immediate surroundings, then on other brownfield land, before looking at greenfield sites in the urban area and the Green Belt”, the document states.
Critics of the council’s decision turn its back on the GMSF claimed at the time that the move would place additional pressure on the borough in terms of housing delivery numbers and Green Belt preservation.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham claimed last year that the GMSF would have allowed Stockport to cut its housing delivery target by 5,000 homes.
As it prepares to embark on a period of public consultation on a draft plan this autumn, the council has warned that failure to adopt a local plan would present “significant risks” to the Green Belt.
“Without a plan in place, the council would be under significant pressure to allow the development of greenfield sites in sub-optimal locations,” a report to Stockport’s economy and regeneration committee said.
As well as protecting the Green Belt, the plan aims to:
- Protect the best elements of Stockport’s character, identity and distinctiveness, requiring new developments to contribute positively to their surroundings
- Set a high standard of design quality, ensuring development contributes positively to placemaking, climate change mitigation/adaptation, quality of life, health/wellbeing and social cohesion
- Positively and proactively manage, preserve and enhance the borough’s heritage assets and their settings
- Realise significant enhancement and protection from loss or damage of the natural environment across and beyond a network of blue and green infrastructure
- Ensure the conservation and enhancement of landscape, townscape and scenic/visual quality
- Seek to safeguard and enhance soil quality, for the benefit of agricultural and ecosystems
- Safeguard and enhance our open spaces for the benefit of recreation, accessibility, visual amenity, and our resilience to climate change
- Ensure that new development contributes to a safe, clean and well-maintained environment, protecting it for existing and future residents.
Stockport aims to submit the final version of the local plan in around 12 months’ time.
The plan will then be examined throughout the winter of 2022 and spring of 2023, before finally being adopted in autumn 2023.
“By setting out a clear strategy and robust policies, the plan will enable the successful delivery of thriving places, bring about energy-efficient affordable housing, enable a dynamic economy, celebrate our heritage, protect and enhance the environment, and support social and community infrastructure,” according to the council.