Debbie's response to the latest draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
Debbie sets out how the GMSF will affect Oldham East and Saddleworth
As you will be aware, the GMSF sets out the approach to housing and employment land across Greater Manchester for the next 20 years. Following an original proposal in 2016, the plan has now gone through a rewrite under the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.
The second draft of the GMSF is certainly a welcome improvement from original plans. The proposals provide a more balanced mix of homes including a minimum target of providing 50,000 affordable homes, 30,000 of which will be social housing across Greater Manchester.
There has a been a reduction on the numbers of homes proposed on the majority of greenbelt sites, including across Oldham Borough, with the exception of Broadbent Moss.
I still share concerns regarding the number of greenfield sites proposed for development and I will continue to monitor this closely and speak with residents. Disappointingly, the draft GMSF plan identifies that under national planning policy it is not possible to demand all the brownfield sites are developed first. But, as part of Oldham’s updated Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (April 2018) the council has carried out work to find more available brownfield sites which was one of my key asks from the previous plan. The target set by national government for the number of homes that we need to build locally makes it more difficult to build only on available brownfield land.
The public consultation is running for eight weeks and all comments must be received by March 18 2019
Locally the key changes to the draft GMSF in my Oldham East & Saddleworth constituency include:
-Cowlishaw sees a reduction in the number of homes proposed from 640 suggested in 2016 to 460. Beal Valley is earmarked for 480 homes down from 900.
-Broadbent Moss, near Sholver will see an increase of 50% more homes than in the original plan, replacing around half the amount of new employment space.
-A new tram stop has been proposed for Cop Road to serve the new housing development for Broadbent Moss and Beal Valley.
-50 new homes have been proposed at Spinners Way to the north east of Moorside; this site has been mooted for residential development before.
-Plans at Fletchers Mill also see revised proposals with a mix of commercial, retail, housing and tourism space. In the last plan it was earmarked just for holiday homes and ‘executive’ housing. But the new draft also sees ‘low density’ homes for families, plus affordable two and three bedroom homes.
– There is also a cross boundary proposal between Rochdale and Oldham. Kingsway South, will see 700 new homes (around 518 in Oldham) and 310,000 sq metres (around 180,000sqm in Oldham) of employment space at the established Kingsway site in Rochdale. The draft plan states development will take place in a green park setting. The proposed development would involve the loss of 119ha of Green Belt. However, a proportion of the site to the east (76ha) is proposed to be retained as Green Belt, maintaining the separation between High Crompton and Newhey.
I will work closely with Oldham Council, GMCA and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
I also stressed the importance of better joined up thinking between different parts of the public sector, for example, planning and transport, planning and education, planning and health. I welcome initiatives including the new ‘opportunity pass’ for 16-18 year olds – free bus travel plus various other offers involving eg cultural institutions – from September, an aim that by 2040, half of all daily trips in Greater Manchester will be made by public transport, cycling and walking, a coordinated plan to bring levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) within legal limits is currently being developed by all 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester, working closely with GMCA and TfGM and a presumption against fracking within Greater Manchester. I will continue to closely monitor these plans and do what I can to put pressure on the Government to introduce the regulations needed to enable these initiatives to come to fruition. In particular, I will work closely with Oldham Council, GMCA and Andy to ensure highly skilled employment is available for people in our Borough in order that they can thrive and succeed.
I know for many residents the process to reach this revised draft GMSF has been an arduous one and for some there will still be a number of concerns. There will never be a GMSF that pleases everyone. However we need to put a plan in place for our housing and employment needs otherwise, as the Government have already threatened if they deem that the local land supply identified is insufficient, we risk it being taken out of our hands locally and the power transferred to developers.
Make your views on the GMSF heard
It is also important that constituent’s voices are heard and I hope residents affected by the GMSF will engage in the consultation process which is now open and will close on Monday 18 March 2019. You can give your views on the new proposals by visiting this website. Oldham Council are holding a series of consultation events across the borough to allow people to view the documents and talk to planners; a list of which can be found here.
As MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, I will attend as many of the GMSF-related events as I can and I will work closely on representing my constituents and their views on this very important issue. I will be holding GMSF related advice surgeries and will also continue my regular door knocking sessions to speak to residents about the proposals. For further information on this please call my office on 0161 624 4248.