Viewpoint - 22/06/2018

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

The 12 week consultation for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is due to begin in October 2018, so Manchester-based planning and development expert Paul Shuker reviews the process so far and the implications for the future.

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In May 2017, Greater Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham asked for a major rewrite of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) - the overarching planning framework which will cover supply of land for jobs, new homes and infrastructure across the ten Greater Manchester local authorities up to 2035.

Subsequently the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has scheduled a twelve-week consultation for stakeholders to give their views on what the revisions should be.

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework process so far

Following an initial consultation, the first draft of the GMSF was published in October 2016 which used the vision and draft strategic options papers - published during Winter 2015 – as a focus and subsequently resulted in a ‘call-for-sites’ exercise.

After his appointment as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017, Andy Burnham reviewed the draft GMSP framework and criticised its lack of vision and suggested that Greater Manchester’s Housing Fund should be targeted towards brownfield land delivery, the delivery of affordable homes and more residential development in the satellite town centres.    

The new second draft of the GMSF subsequently seeks to place a greater emphasis on the long term objective for meeting the overall housing and employment requirement for Greater Manchester which will be broken down into an allocation for each individual borough. The framework will identify broad locations and opportunity areas/sites that could meet the demand for particular types of housing. Notwithstanding the overarching GMSF direction, it will remain the responsibility of individual local planning authorities to define the detail through the preparation of their local plans.

The forthcoming consultation

The revised GMSF is now entering its second crucial stage with a full revised draft of the plan due to be published for consultation in October 2018. For the second time, we will see where the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) proposes to meet the identified need for a further 230,000 new homes across Greater Manchester over the next 20 years, and how many of the sites put forward as part of the call-for-sites exercise have made it into the revised draft or been taken out.

At this stage it is unknown how the GMSF will balance the political rhetoric against the significant demand for new employment, and land for housing that was previously expected to be delivered through Green Belt release.

The GMSF represents a defining moment in Greater Manchester’s history as it is the quintessence of the devolution agenda, it will set the strategic context for future local plans prepared across the ten local authority areas, and will have influential weight on individual planning applications once formally adopted in 2019.

Being heard
Stakeholders will have just a twelve week period to give their views and shape the framework which will be used for planning for at least the next decade. We urge you to engage with this crucial plan and make your views known, ensuring that it is fit for purpose. 

Our Manchester planning and development team has a detailed understanding of the emerging GMSF and the evidence base which has informed its vision and objectives, and we invite you to have your say. Please contact us to express your interest in the framework and a member of our team will call you to help you make the most of this opportunity.

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