It is clear that politically the scale of Green Belt loss proposed as part of the Greater Manchester Strategic Plan (25,000) cannot be contained.
How much will remain is hard to predict – but if Andy Burnham becomes combined authority Mayor then it could be down to less than 5,000. So where then should the 20 odd thousand go?
The obvious answer is Crewe:
- It is the closest Large town on a Plane to GM
- It is beyond the Green Belt
- With the extension of phase I of HS2 to Crewe, as Jackie Sadik has argued arguably it will be Britain’s best connected town
- It is an engine with innovation with Bentleyand other large employers
- It has a network of rails lines spanning from it with potential for new stations and local commuter services
- It could become the North’s Eindhoven with the right R&D and HFE investment
- It is already planned for growth and could further expand to the north east, west and south outside its Green Gaps.
- With HS2 it could become a pilot for land auctions of development rights, capturing land value uplift Garden City style – as proposed in the Budget for Crossrail 2.
- The Green Belt can be expanded to the South East of Crewe up to the extent of its growth – acting as a ‘Green Belt Swap’ to other areas of Cheshire East and Greater Manchester.