GMSF Delay- Maybe it means Consultation?!

Many of you will already be aware that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has been delayed again. 

Find out more about the GMSF here

The GMSF is the strategy for the region which incorporates Trafford’s plans for the future of Carrington Moss. 

A number of perceptions have been circulated about the delay, one of which is that the Government will not approve the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) request to allow the release green belt as part of the approach they are taking.  Not quite correct. 

For clarity, there are two ways in which the regional strategy can be presented:

  • as a Joint Development Plan (JDP), which is what has been produced to date
  • as a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS), which is the preferred future approach of the GMCA

Under the current regulations, an SDS CAN remove land from the Green Belt, but ONLY local/neighbourhood plans can redefine the Green Belt boundary.  This is the issue that is still being discussed with the Government.

So, what are the next steps for the GMSF? 

Information in the papers supporting the GMCA meeting on 27th September suggest the following:

Over 17,500 individuals and organisations responded to the GMSF consultation in January 2019 and more than 67,000 comments were made.  These have been analysed and a Consultation Summary report will be published over the coming days.  We will provide links to this in a future newsletter.

In summary, the specific New Carrington question received 523 responses and New Carrington Allocation questions received 738 responses (note that the Timperley Wedge Allocation questions received 942 responses).  These low numbers reflect the very poor communication about the plan.  In Trafford we received a glossy leaflet to every home about the marathon, which is a one-day event.  We received nothing which set out the huge human and wildlife impact of these plans!

The key issues that arose in the comments will inform the further evidence work that needs to be undertaken and, also, the GMCA’s engagement strategy over the coming months.  A Consultation Final Report will be produced with the next Draft GMSF, which will outline how these issues have been considered and how the plan has been changed as a result of comments made, or why some comments have not resulted in changes.  It is not intended to respond in detail to every comment made.

It is recommended, by the GMCA, that, in order to allow time for Government to amend the SDS regulations (mentioned above), engage more fully with residents and other interested parties, and undertake a 12 week consultation, the timetable would look as follows:

Programme of engagement around evidence
(for example transport, affordable housing, viability)
October 2019 – March 2020
Town Centre/Urban Living/Affordable Housing campaigns October 2019 – January 2020  
District approvals June/July 2020
GMCA approval July 2020
Public Participation (12 weeks) July 2020
Submission Dec 2020/Jan 2021
Examination May – October 2021
Publication (adoption) December 2021

The full report is available at this link (agenda item 20).

For a region which purports to want to minimise the release of green belt, the work of the Save Greater Manchester Green Belts group has revealed that

NO Release of Green Belt would be required

anywhere in Greater Manchester, if:

  • the latest household projections (2016) were used in the Government’s standard methodology (these have been produced by the statistical experts, the Office for National Statistics – ONS), rather than the 2014 projections which the Government currently requires Authorities to use (these were produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government MHCLG);


  • the GMSF included projections (as allowed by the National Planning Policy Framework – NPPF) for large and medium sized windfall sites;


  • a 15 year plan was submitted (as allowed by the NPPF) rather than the current 19 year plan.

In addition, local and regional politicians could accept the MHCLG statement that the methodology for calculating the number of homes to be built in an area is a starting point, NOT a target!  In Trafford that would mean we could look at the housing actually NEEDED here and prioritise building homes which address our local housing crisis. 

There is NO housing crisis anywhere in the region for

people who can afford to buy their home.

So, it is important to recognise that the release of green belt is totally in the hands of our local and regional politicians

Remember, Trafford currently has the lowest proportion of green belt land in the whole of Greater Manchester, except for the city areas of Manchester and Salford.
Remember also that most of the other GM Authorities benefited from a more than 50% reduction in green belt loss when the 2019 version of the GMSF was produced (this means that the green belt loss set out in the 2016 iteration of the GMSF was reduced by over 50% on average across GM – Tameside, for example, reduced their loss of green belt by over 80% between the two iterations of the strategy – fantastic news for their residents). 

For Trafford overall, our reduction in green belt loss

was only 22% and for Carrington Moss it was a very

poor 20%!

So basically, Trafford continues to take a heavier hit than almost all the other Local Authorities in the region in terms of loss of green belt in the current plan! 

Please ask your local politicians (Councillors and MPs) their views.  Why would they accept and allow this imbalanced and disproportionate outcome for Trafford residents??? 

This latest delay brings a great opportunity to increase the level of consultation about the plans and engage with a much broader range of citizens in our communities, including those who are not typically accessing information online.  We hope Trafford Council fully exploits this over the coming months to ensure all residents fully understand the impact of these plans. 

Honesty and openness are essential, especially in

terms of the loss of health and wellbeing assets, the

reduction in air quality and the increase in noise

pollution that will be experienced by existing

residents who are impacted by these plans.

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