by Iain Roberts on 9 March, 2016
We all know that Greater Manchester is growing. We want more jobs, better shops and facilities and all the rest that comes with a thriving area. But we know that to achieve that we need more offices, more homes and better infrastructure (roads, trains, trams, schools, medical centres and so on).
So we need to plan. We need to figure out where we want the new houses and offices to go, and how we’re going to make sure we can cope with the extra people and traffic. After all, if we don’t decide then someone else will, and we might not like the decisions they make.
The ten Greater Manchester councils are working together to develop a joint plan – called the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). It’s in the early stages. So far people have been asked to submit sites they think might be suitable for development. Those sites have not been looked at yet.
So we have a map showing places where someone thinks there may be scope for houses or offices to be built, and over the next year or two they’ll be looked at, with a public consultation, and where they are suitable they’ll be given that status in the final plan. That then gives the local councils far more power to say “no” to developers who want to build where we don’t want them to, so it’s an important step to protect the parts of our area we want to.
It’s easy to look at these maps, assume it’s a done deal and think “Oh no, they’re going to build on X” but that’s not how the system works and there are all sorts of reasons why a submitted site isn’t suitable.
There are relatively few sites submitted in our patch, which isn’t surprising as we’ve already got a lot of housing here. There are some though:
So the one that jumps out is Abney Hall Park. There’s development within the park (Abney Hall and the new care home for starters) but is the parkland going to be built on? “No” and “over our dead bodies” are the responses that spring to mind!
Anyone can propose any site for consideration. Abney Hall Park is owned by the council, but has been proposed by someone else entirely – we don’t know why and we wouldn’t permit the park to be developed – certainly while the Council is Lib Dem-run.
You can see the full map for Greater Manchester here.16 Comments