The horribly named Draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is a planning document drawn up by the so-called `super council', Greater Manchester Combined Authority, or GMCA, that, when ratified, will set out in stone where all development can take place across the region for the next twenty years.
Once rubber stamped by Salford City Council and all the other nine GM local councils, it will render all planning decisions in the city redundant when it comes to the principal of development. Salford will basically lose whatever sovereignty is has over such matters, with all power in the hands of the GM Mayor, aided by his Cabinet of the ten local council leaders.
The Framework sets out where new properties will be sited, where new industrial, warehouse and office complexes will be built, and what green belt and green spaces can be trashed or saved. It's a massive document of over two hundred pages – and, unfortunately, reads like it was written by Peel Holdings itself, with the megabucks Salford landowner set to benefit.
The Framework states that Salford will be expected to provide 634,000m2 of industrial and warehousing space, primarily around Port Salford and what it calls the East Lancs Corridor, plus 415,000sqm of new office space around the Quays and areas near Manchester city centre, plus 15% of all new housing in Greater Manchester. This is the second highest after Manchester itself, with 34,900 properties earmarked to be built by 2035 – 70% flats, 30% houses – at a rate of 1,745 a year.
Irlam and Cadishead is set to be the site for 2,250 new homes in what the Framework calls a "large-scale, sustainable urban extension" – with loss of peat, mossland and green belt.
The green areas around Boothstown are also set to get hammered by development, with Astley and Boothstown earmarked for 1,000 new homes, East Boothstown (between Leigh Road and the Bridgewater Canal) for 300 `top end' new homes in the green belt, and Hazelhurst Farm pencilled in for 450 houses. Meanwhile, land north of Mosley Common, in the so-called East Lancashire Road Corridor, will be hit with another 1,000 houses.
Peat, mossland and green belt areas around Barton Moss are also to be trashed to make way for `a major expansion' of Peel Holdings' Port Salford, with around 320,000m2 of industrial, manufacturing and warehousing space to the north and west of Barton Aerodrome.
Peel Holdings is also set to benefit from a new junction on the M62 to the north-east of Irlam, and an extension of the Metrolink, via its jointly owned AJ Bell Stadium, to Port Salford, paid for with public money, of course.
Peel's interests at Salford Quays also get the green light with a further 6,000 new dwellings set be built, together with 285,000m2 of new business floorspace, at what is now to be called just `The Quays', incorporating Trafford Wharfside.
The Framework cheerleads the idea of making the Quays part of Manchester city centre by improving connections, "to enable the two areas to function more effectively as a single major economic driver at the core of the conurbation".
Also included in the new `City Centre' are Salford Central, Greengate, Chapel Street and the Crescent, with the document adding, "The boundaries of the City Centre may need to be further expanded to accommodate the scale of growth that is envisaged"... Basically, the Framework rubber stamps the break-up and death of Salford as we know it.
In Greater Manchester as a whole, by 2035 the Framework predicts population growth of 294,800*; 227,200 net new homes and an additional 199,700 jobs, in what is called an Accelerated Growth Scenario...
"To deliver the scale of growth required across Greater Manchester land needs to be released from the green belt" it states, with a green belt net reduction of 8.2%, or 4,900 hectares (even after Salford gets a new slice of green belt in the West Salford Greenway).
Such massive development of Greater Manchester, if it happens – and `experts' are always getting everything wrong (see the Salford bulldozing schools scenario) – will lead to a huge clogging up of infrastructure, lack of doctors, dentists, hospitals, school places (see the Salford bulldozing schools scenario) etc.
Meanwhile, the Framework says very little of substance about social and affordable housing. It does state that 40% of Irlam's 2,250 new properties should be `affordable homes' but beyond that, almost nothing apart from well meaning words like the growth of Greater Manchester will be "Significantly increasing the supply of housing that people can afford, including through the planning system"; that it will "Maximise the delivery of affordable housing where required by district policies" and that "the delivery of appropriate levels of affordable housing will be fully considered as a priority across Greater Manchester".
As Salford has seen through its massive development and developer avoidance of providing affordable housing (and everything else) over the last decade, these words mean nothing. However, the GMCA is convinced that this time it's going to be different and developers will cough up to pay for everything...
"This plan is very clear that the infrastructure needed to deliver the sites that it allocates should be funded wholly by the developments on those sites, and public subsidy should not be necessary except in the most exceptional circumstances" it states.
"In order to ensure equity and the successful delivery of allocated sites in their entirety, there will be a strong emphasis on comprehensive development with individual schemes only coming forward if they make a full contribution to the infrastructure required to deliver the whole site" it adds "Planning obligations will be a key mechanism for securing the necessary infrastructure investment and affordable housing, and this may be complemented by a Greater Manchester community infrastructure levy as well as such levies in some individual districts."
Residents of Salford, in particular, may only believe this when they see it, given that the city has lost an estimated £42million in planning obligation avoidance plus a loss of over 1,000 affordable homes (see here). And Salford City Council's Head of Planning has been one of the lead officers in charge of putting this Framework together (ffs).
The GM Spatial Framework is expecting residents to approve the trashing of green space and green belt land, and the over-development of their neighbourhoods, in the hope that private companies, developers and speculators will not run riot like they are doing at the moment, and, instead will make everything ok...
"The development of land outside of the existing urban area is an issue of significant concern to local residents, and therefore it is essential that people are reassured that it is only being developed where the principles of sustainable development have been applied and there are no reasonable alternatives and that its release is carefully controlled to ensure that high quality places are delivered and any potential adverse effects are minimised and mitigated" the Framework states in one horribly long sentence
"If successful places are to be created then it will be vital that developments deliver the infrastructure and facilities necessary to support them" it prays "The potential for public sector funding is likely to be very limited in most cases, with it being focused on the sites that can make the greatest contribution to economic growth..."
It looks like Greater Manchester is putting all its faith in Peel Holdings and friends...
The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is a draft document and the consultation plus all documents will be available to the public from 31st October until 23rd December.
See www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/GMSF (from 31st October)
Responses to the consultation may be made:
Online at http://gmsf-consult.objective.co.uk or
By email to GMSF@agma.gov.uk
By post: Greater Manchester Integrated Support Team, P O Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA
Greater Manchester Planning Team can also be phoned on 0161 237 4636
After this consultation the Framework will be steamlined and again consulted on with it coming into `law' in 2018.
* Weirdly, while all this population growth might be expected to be young professionals, the Framework states that "Close to two-thirds of the population growth is expected to be aged 65 and over, and so delivering a significant increase in housing that is designed to meet the needs of older people will be an important priority".
* See also previous Salford Star article - Peel Holdings set for £8million of Greater Manchester public money to build unaffordable flats at Media City - click here
Update: 25th October: Salford Labour Councillors Issued with Idiot Sheet on Green Belt Backlash - click here
Update: 28th October: Salford Council Draft Local Plan for Next Twenty Years of Development - click here