Constituents have recently been in touch with me expressing concerns about the draft version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. I share many of these concerns.
The leaders of the 10 councils (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) in Greater Manchester along with the interim mayor, who will be replaced with the elected Mayor in 2017, make up the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).
As many people are aware, in August 2014, the GMCA agreed to prepare a joint Development Plan Document, the Greater Manchester Spatial Development Framework (GMSF), to set out the approach to housing and employment land across Greater Manchester for the next 20 years.
The GMSF is looking to accommodate land for 200,000 jobs and provide over 227,000 new homes. There is a strong and continuing emphasis on directing new development to brownfield land in urban locations however, the GMCA state that the scale of growth requires the release of land from the Green Belt.
Although I am not a formal statutory consultee for this consultation on the DRAFT GMSF proposals, I am very concerned about some aspects of the methods and process used, for example, the GMCA invitation to developers to identify land for development, as well as the assumptions that have been made to justify these proposals. In particular I cannot support the identification of approximately 3% of green belt across Oldham for development purposes. I have met with and had discussions with constituents, local planners as well as other Greater Manchester elected representatives. I recognise Oldham Council’s obligation to identify appropriate sites for building our future homes and businesses, but I will press them to consider alternative options which protect our natural environment and secure this for future generations.
The public informal consultation runs until 16th January 2016. Views submitted during this period will be considered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and a final draft will be published in 2017 when another period of consultation will be held.
You can contribute online at http://gmsf-consult.objective.co.uk/portal; by email to GMSF@agma.gov.uk; or post to: Greater Manchester Integrated Support Team, PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA by 16 January 2017.
I will also be providing a more detailed response to the consultation in the coming days, which I will post on my website.