Fresh delay to Greater Manchester Spatial Framework announced

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has announced a fresh delay in the production of a new spatial framework for the city region, with consultation on a final draft of the document pushed back by about a year.

Greater Manchester (pic: Stephen Burton, Geograph)
Greater Manchester (pic: Stephen Burton, Geograph)

The draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), published for consultation in January this year, set out proposals for, among other things, a minimum of 201,000 new homes in the metropolitan area and the release of green belt land to enable this target to be met.

A timetable in the January draft said the final draft of the plan intended to be produced for consultation in the summer of 2019 and then submitted for examination in early 2020, with adoption earmarked for late 2020 or early 2021.

Now, the GMCA has announced a revised timetable for the delivery of the plan which will entail a fresh round of public consultation on the emerging proposals in the new year.

This will be followed by the publication of a further draft, and subsequently further public consultations on this final draft to take place next summer, the GMCA has confirmed.

The spatial framework has suffered a series of delays in its development. A draft version of the revised GMSF, earmarking sites for 225,000 new homes and including plans to remove 4,900 hectares of green belt land for housing, had been published for consultation in autumn 2016.

However, in May 2017, Andy Burnham, who had campaigned against the extent of green belt release in the draft plan and had pledged to re-write the document, was elected Greater Manchester's first mayor.

In July last year, the GMCA said that the publication and consultation on the GMSF would be delayed until October 2018, following the publication of new official population projections. This was subsequently delayed until January this year. 

Paul Dennett, GMCA lead on housing, homelessness and infrastructure, said: "I am confident the second, redrafted spatial framework was a significant improvement on the first, with proposals for building on green belt reduced by more than 50 per cent.

"However, from the large number of responses we’ve received there obviously remain real concerns in many communities.

"We received 27,000 responses to the first draft and fewer than 18,000 this time but it remains important that we consider all feedback properly and factor it into the next redraft.

"When the revised proposals are presented for a further round of consultation next summer they will better represent what we all want – a comprehensive proposal for the homes, jobs and supporting environment we all need now and in the future."

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