Residents voice hopes and fears at Spatial Framework consultations

RESIDENTS from Stalybridge and Mossley were given an opportunity to see how the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework affects them.

During the formal consultation period, which ran between January 21 and March 18, drop-in events were held in both towns to enable residents and interested parties to view the revised draft plan and discuss issues with council officers.

Jyoti Rao and Ruth Rees

They took place at Stalybridge Civic Hall on February 20 and Mossley’s George Lawton Hall eight days later.

There was a steady stream of visitors over the four hours at Stalybridge Civic Hall and not simply from the town.

The Correspondent also spoke to residents from Ashton and Mottram who visited as they wanted to find out more about the Framework.

Gary Ferguson, who lives in Mottram, was specially interested in transport which is also a key component of the Framework.

He opposes the proposed A57 Mottram bypass that is intended to ease congestion in the area,
Gary said: “I am not for the bypass but more sustainable forms of transport and infrastructure that offers a better solution to problems. Road building is not the answer.

“We can’t get air pollution down unless we tackle the motor car head on.

“And if we want to get people out of cars, I think the only way in to provide good public transport that is virtually free of charge.”

Gary added it is a measure of how big an issue global warming is that children recently went on strike by walking out of school in protest about what they claimed was a lack of action by the Government.

Paul Bagwell, from Ashton, was concerned about environmental issues, especially air pollution, caused by major new housing developments proposed in the Framework.

Gary Ferguson

And Jyoti Rao, who lives in Stalybridge town centre, was interested to find out more about the Framework.

“I wanted to discover more about future plans for Stalybridge. It was good people from the council were there so I could ask questions,” she said.

Ray Harrison, from Stalybridge Town Team, added he was interested to see how the Framework affected the whole of Tameside.

“Stalybridge Town Team is interested primarily in the town centre, but I wanted to look at how the Framework affects the borough. From that I saw, it doesn’t have a great impact on Stalybridge,” he explained.

Following the removal from the Framework of a proposed 650 home development at Sidebottom Fold, Stalybridge escapes major development.

Visitors were sparse at the George Lawton Hall but they included Top Mossley’s Iain Williamson, who said: “I came along as I was interested as a resident and how the Framework will affect Mossley and the rest of Tameside.

“The green belt is an essential part of the environment and protecting what we have as well as meeting the needs after the latest estimates for development is the challenge.”

Alan Meadowcroft, from Royton, also attended. He had written to James Brokenshire, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, but was not happy with his reply.

He said: “My opposition to the Framework is because of the destruction of beautiful landscapes.

“I don’t think there is need for an alternative as the Framework is all about building houses which will increase council tax.”

Peter Morley, from Shaw, was also at Mossley and he said: “Once the greenbelt is concreted over, it has gone for ever.

“These housing developments cause other problems such as increasing the risk of flooding. There are plans for 2,800 new homes near to where I live.”

 

Iain Williamson

That is a stark contrast to Hyde where the creation of a Godley Green garden village is one of three major housing developments.

Greater Manchester’s plan for homes, jobs, and the environment (the Spatial Framework) is about providing the right homes, in the right places, for people across our city region. It’s about creating jobs and improving infrastructure to ensure the future prosperity of Greater Manchester.

A revised draft plan has now been put together by Greater Manchester Combined Authority which comprises the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the leaders of Greater Manchester’s 10 local councils.

The plan:
• Sets out how Greater Manchester should develop up to 2037.
• Identifies the amount of new development that will come forward across the 10 districts, in terms of housing, offices, and industry and warehousing, and the main areas in which this will be focused.
• Supports the delivery of key infrastructure, such as transport and utilities.
• Protects the important environmental assets across the city region.
• Allocates sites for employment and housing outside of the existing urban area.
• Defines a new green belt boundary for Greater Manchester.

The Framework will be hugely important for the future prosperity of Tameside and proposes:

• To prioritise the regeneration of brownfield land within the urban area for homes and jobs.
• To help meet the housing need of our residents by creating new places following garden village principles, providing much needed affordable homes.
• To identify the physical and social infrastructure that is needed to support new development such as new roads, public transport, education and health facilities.

The proposed new plan will add 140 hectares of land to the greenbelt and remove 215 hectares of land from the greenbelt.

Overall, this mean 74 hectares of land or 1.5 per cent of the total greenbelt would be lost to deliver homes and jobs – however this is an 82 per cent reduction in the loss of Tameside’s greenbelt compared to what was proposed in the first draft of the Framework consulted on in 2016.

A second phase of consultation will be held in autumn 2019 and March 2020 when the plan will be submitted for examination by independent inspectors.

It is currently forecast the final plan will be adopted in late 2020 or early 2021.

The plan is available online at www.gmconsult.org and at all Tameside libraries and customer service reception during normal opening hours.

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