Last night, I read the 896 page Site Selection document, an interesting but long read! Some good points for people to consider in their responses.
From what I read, the GSMF site selection methodology was used to identify the most sustainable locations for development that can achieve the GMSF Vision, Objectives and Spatial Strategy. The objectives that helped to form the Site Selection Criteria are –
1. Meet our housing need
2. Create neighbourhoods of choice
3. Create a thriving and productive economy in all parts of Greater Manchester
4. Maximise the potential arising from our national and international assets.
5. Reduce inequalities and improve prosperity.
6. Promote the sustainable movement of people, goods and information
7. Ensure that Greater Manchester is more resilient and carbon neutral city-region.
8. Improve the quality of our natural environment and access to green spaces.
9. Ensure access to physical and social infrastructure.
There were seven site selection criteria developed for sites in the Green belt. These were –
1. Land which has been previously developed and/ or land which is well served by public transport
2. Land that is able to take advantage of the key assets and opportunities that genuinely distinguish Greater Manchester from its competitors.
3. Land that can maximise existing economic opportunities which have significant capacity to deliver transformational change and / or boost the competitiveness and connectivity of Greater Manchester and genuinely deliver inclusive growth.
4. Land within 800m of a main town centre boundary or 800m from the other town centres centroids.
5. Land which would have a direct significant impact on delivering urban regeneration.
6. Land where transport investment (by the developer) and the creation of significant new demand (through appropriate development densities) would support the delivery of long-term viable sustainable travel options and delivers significant wider community benefits.
7. Land that would deliver significant local benefits by addressing a major local / problem issue.
As far as I can see, the GM Site 38 in High Lane, meets only one of these criteria, (see the pictures) which is Criteria 7 – Deliver significant local benefits by addressing a major local problem / issue. Criteria 7 relates to sites which have the potential to deliver signifcant local benefits by addressing a major local problem / issue. These issues were identified using local knowledge.
It relates to sites which can demonstrate direct link(s) to addressing a specific local need. To meet the criterion a site would be required to bring benefits across a wider area than the development itself and / or would bring benefits to existing communities. The type of benefits that potential sites could deliver are:
• Provide deliverable sites for housing in the north of Greater Manchester where there is an opportunity to capitalise on an existing high end market housing area and / or provide an opportunity to diversify the housing market, controbuting to the competitiveness of the north.
• Provide a specific type of housing to meet a locally identified need e.g. older persons accomodation
• Development would allow for the re-use and enhancement of an at-risk heritage asset
• Development would allow for the provision / retention of unviable community facility e.g. sports pitches
• Development would deliver signifcant highway improvements which will help to resolve existing issues in the wider area.
In my opinion, it is not clear what specific local need this addresses and from the bullet points provided above, none of them would applicable. As such, I have asked Council Officers what specific local need was identified that this allocation addressed?
In addition, again in my opinion, the proposed parcel of land would go directly against 4 of the 9 objectives of the GMSF
1. Promote the sustainable movement of people, goods and information
2. Ensure that Greater Manchester is more resilient and carbon neutral city-region.
3. Improve the quality of our natural environment and access to green spaces.
4. Ensure access to physical and social infrastructure
Finally, in their own Green Belt topic paper, they put forward their case for the re-allocation of greenbelt land due to exceptional circumstances (Page 22 - https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/media/1739/green-belt-topic-paper-w-cover-web.pdf ). It states - The selected strategic locations and allocations in the Green Belt are well served by public transport, take advantage of key assets, maximise economic opportunities which have significant capacity to deliver transformational change, deliver inclusive growth, support town centres and have a significant impact on their regeneration, deliver long-term sustainable travel options and enable significant wider community benefits;
This is clearly not the case for Allocation 38 where it is -
1. Not well served by public transport
2. Does not take advantage of key assets
3. Will not deliver transformational change
4. Will not deliver inclusive growth
5. Does not support town centres
6. Will not deliver long-term sustainable travel options
7. Is unlikely to enable significant wider community benefits.
At last nights Marple Area Committee, one of the Agenda items was regarding the GMSF. While Cllr Blair welcomed the fact that SMBC have arranged some drop in events (see webcast below), he called for the other Councillors to back him in having an Extraordinary Marple Area Committee in High Lane and inviting Council Officers to discuss only the GMSF.
Thankfully, all Councillors supported this proposal so hopefully we can get the date sorted soon.
My latest leaflet will be with you in the next few weeks. This leaflet contains details about the GMSF consultation, the timeline, how to respond and some points to consider when you respond, as well as some updates as to work I have been involved with over the last few months. You can find the full copy in the leaflets page f you can't wait for it to come through your letterbox.
At last nights Economy and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee, the cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration stated in her quarterly report that the emphasis in the latest GMSF was on development in town centres, brownfield sites and on other sustainable locations. So I took the opportunity to ask her what in her opinion was sustainable about the proposed location in High Lane? The exchange can be viewed below, but I hope we will be able to receive the Technical Assessments of the High Lane allocation soon.
At the GMSF Public meeting on Saturday, I was asked whether the numbers in the GMSF for Stockport Town Centre contained the numbers that the new Mayoral Development Corporation hoped to achieve or whether these were over and above the numbers in the GMSF. I had the opportunity to ask this very question at last nights Economy and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee and the answer was that, unfortunately, the GMSF numbers contain the MDC numbers. The exchange can be found below