Greater Manchester Framework reduces Housing Targets – Halves Green Belt Loss

Evening news

The new version aims for slightly fewer new homes than previously, revising down the target from 227,000 to 201,000.

Andy Burnham at the 2017 mayoral election count (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Insiders say this was because the original document was planning for more homes than the region needed.

It also concentrates even more ‘high density’ development in Manchester and Salford – apartments, essentially – as well as in town centres such as Stockport and Bolton, in order to reduce the amount of protected green space under threat elsewhere.

Around 15 green belt sites have been removed from the plan altogether.

Nevertheless, nearly 40 of those earmarked in the original version are still in the new draft – albeit substantially reduced in size in many cases, if not the majority.

The total amount of green belt space under threat has roughly halved under the new plan, with a further 65 patches of land given new green belt status.

It also provides more detail than previously about the new transport links that would connect the developments, including proposed tram stops, train stations and rapid bus routes.

And around a quarter of the homes to be built would be classed as ‘affordable’ – 50,000 – with over half of those at social rent, although how the conurbation intends to define affordability, and where those houses would go, is yet to be confirmed.

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Never Mind the Soundness – See the reduced Green Belt Loss – Greater Manchester Spatial Framework to be published Monday

A special meeting of the combined aithority wil mett next friday with the papers being published Monday.

According to MEN

‘It is understood a compromise has now been reached that will not see ‘no net loss’ of green belt ]which Andy Burnham campaigned on], but that will see a considerable reduction in the number of sites proposed for development.’

What do we know?

  1. It will be an SDS not a development plan. which means only the leaders need approve not every full council (politically impossible) so the soundness tests doesn’t apply
  2. Which means like London it can simply propose unrealistic and unevidenced targets for intensification without any evidence of deliverability and then ignore any EIP report
  3. It is likely that the ‘compromise’ involves loss in the more deprived East and North whereas Stockport and Trafford will see radically reduced Green Belt loss – the losses will be driven by politics not strategy or potential for intensification in each LPA, indeed there is likely to be an inverse relationship given the more prosperous south and west will have greater viability.
  4. Its a fix which will only be defensible as such at the EIP.

Tandridge Agrees Local Plan with Green Belt Garden Village – but only meeting Half OAN Need

Surrey Live

The controversial blueprint to build thousands of new homes in Tandridge including a new garden community in South Godstone has been effectively signed off by the council, despite ferocious opposition.

A string of councillors attacked the Local Plan during a two-hour debate of Tandridge District Council‘s planning policy committee, many saying it could leave the district without the schools, GP surgeries or adequate roads needed to support thousands more residents.

Others blasted the loss of green belt land, or said that building a 4,000-home new community at South Godstone would blight the lives of thousands of people.

The plan will now be submitted to the government. A planning inspector will examine it in late spring or early summer and decide whether to reject or endorse it.

The document sets out where 6,056 new homes should be built up to 2033. Any of the proposed schemes would still need to go through the usual planning process, but the plan is an outline of where Tandridge intends to build homes to meet its targets.

At the start of the debate on Wednesday, December 19, committee chair Keith Jecks urged members that the council would be forced by government to take thousands more homes if the plan was not submitted before January 24.

Council leader Martin Fisher said young people were being forced out of the district by a lack of appropriate housing and it faced a “demographic time bomb”.

“The preparation of this plan has been a balancing exercise, balancing the needs of our whole community and this has not been an easy task,” he said. “On the one hand we need to provide affordable homes to meet the aspirations of our younger generation whilst on the other hand our established residents hugely value the open spaces of Tandridge, which make our area such a desirable place to live.”

The plan is “infrastructure led”, the council says, and will lead to better roads, an improved Godstone railway station, improved healthcare, and schools.

However, independent councillor for Godstone, Chris Farr, called for the whole plan to be scrapped.

Proposals for the new South Godstone ‘garden community’ would blight the lives of thousands of residents, he said. He also decried the loss of two per cent of the district’s green belt.

“When we have conceded this loss and concreted it over, which bit will be next? Any loss sets a precedent that will make it harder to defend any of the green belt.”

South Godstone would be completely transformed but many think it won’t be for the better (Image: Grant Melton) 

A key issue raised was the absence of funding commitments for better infrastructure from Surrey County Council and other bodies. A string of improvements, such as new footpaths and pedestrian crossings – which would need to be paid for by the cash-strapped county council – have already been deleted from the final draft.

“The lack of detail, funding and land allocated for any of the new infrastructure in the supporting documents means it is unlikely that the promise of new infrastructure will ever be delivered,” said Cllr Farr.

“Developers will chip away at the infrastructure and other requirements until there is almost nothing left.”

Catherine Sayer, Oxted and Limpsfield Residents’ Group councillor for Oxted North and Tandridge, said the council had failed to identify the two key things it needed to improve infrastructure – land and cash – and highlighted an embarrassing denial by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership that it would provide funding.

The plan was based on weak documents and was not policy compliant, she said.

Chris Botten, Lib Dem leader and councillor for Portley ward in Caterham, said the authority was in an “impossible” position and his group members would abstain from the vote.
Cllr Fisher told councillors the plan was sound, and it was vital it was voted through, and was submitted by January 24.