ANDY Burnham has vowed to stick to his campaign pledge of a “radical” re-write of the controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plan.
The newly-elected mayor of Greater Manchester said that his changes will result in a significant reduction in the amount of green belt land due to be lost.
Mr Burnham announced this morning that Paul Dennett, current mayor of Salford, will lead his rewrite of the spatial framework blueprint as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s portfolio lead for housing, planning and homelessness.
The document drew up plans for where new thousands of new homes homes and industrial land would be located up to 2035.
Mr Burnham said: “It will result in a substantial reduction in the loss of green space across Greater Manchester. It will see a shift from more development on main roads, towards town centres.
“I want to set a new goal of revitalising our town centres with higher density development and I today issue a call to developers to help us in that work.”
Mr Burnham did not set any timescale for the re-drawing of the framework, saying that the most important thing was to get the plans right.
Under the current proposals, he claimed, Greater Manchester risked becoming a collection of “decaying” town centres surrounded by urban sprawl.
The former Leigh MP emphasised that it would not be possible to protect every piece of green belt land in the area, but vowed to listen to campaign groups who have fought hard against the spatial framework.
He added that outlying towns such as Bolton need ambitious development that will revitalise the area, and cited the regeneration of Bury town centre as an example to be followed.
Mr Dennett said: “The whole concept of neighbourhoods and communities needs to be re-shaped. This isn’t just about people who live in high-rise blocks.
“Yes, we need urban density to protect the green belt but this is also about creating communities and social spaces for people to live, work and play.
“I see this as one of the most responsible jobs in the Combined Authority moving forward, and am honoured to receive this portfolio.”
On plans for more affordable homes, Mr Burnham added: “What I would like to see is more focus on truly affordable housing in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. Building more council housing, building more social housing so that we deal with the housing crisis.
“In recent times there has been a focus on flagship, high-end development, on commuter homes. Those schemes will be important in driving Greater Manchester forward and we want to see them come to fruition.
“But the focus does have to change now.”