Greater Manchester developments

Friday, 11th January 2019

The first Greater Manchester Combined Authorities’ Executive Board meeting of 2019 was packed with announcements for the conurbation. 2019 is looking like a very busy year for Greater Manchester!

Andy Burnham has said that the new draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework delivers on his promise on radically re-writing the housing plan for the conurbation. This includes 50 percent of the allocated sites in the plan being removed from the Green Belt, a preference towards development on Brownfield sites and an emphasis on town centres.
The GMSF is a highly contentious political issue for Greater Manchester and the Mayor. It will be at the forefront of the local election campaign in May and the Mayoral election next year. It could be the catalyst for opposition parties to take control, or weaken, the current Labour hegemony over Greater Manchester.
The consultation will begin on 21 January and will run for eight weeks.

Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation
The first use of the power granted to the Mayor as part of the devolution agreement with government. The Combined Authority wishes to establish a Mayoral Development Corporation that will be used as a vehicle to regenerate the Town Centre West area of Stockport. The Leader of Stockport Council said how this has been the “trickiest part of our town centre to develop, and we don’t have the power to sort it.”
The whole of Greater Manchester will be watching how successful this will work and whether they can replicate it in their own boroughs in areas that they are struggling to redevelop. To be able to accelerate redevelopment of town centres, especially for housing, will help them keep the number of sites needed for new homes on Green Belt down.
The local elections could be critical for Labour in Stockport and for the GMSF. Labour are in power but in no overall control and a dramatic change in the number of councillors in May could lead to a change in administration and potentially threaten to scupper the GMSF and the proposals for the town centre.

Creation of a Greater Manchester Strategic Infrastructure Board
In response to the challenges Greater Manchester is facing on developing the infrastructure of the conurbation, the Combined Authority has set up a new Strategic Infrastructure Board.
The focus of the Board will be to develop a Greater Manchester Infrastructure Strategy that will respond to eleven challenges that will have to be overcome in the future. As Sir Richard Leese said at the meeting, “The infrastructure of Greater Manchester is Victorian… and it is creaking at the seams.” That is, with the exception of digital infrastructure of course!

Greater Manchester 2040 Transport Delivery Plan
The Delivery Plan sets out Greater Manchester’s transport investment and reform priorities for the next 5 years, to work towards delivering the vision set out in the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040. The goal is to deliver growth without increasing overall motor-vehicle traffic kilometres and adding to highway congestion.
The plan sets out Andy Burnham’s vision to reduce the number of daily car journeys to no more than 50 percent, with the remaining 50 percent made up of public transport, walking and cycling. The Mayor says this will mean a million more trips each day using sustainable transport modes in Greater Manchester by 2040.

Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan
The potentially controversial plan to improve air quality in Greater Manchester is going to be delayed till later in the year, likely to be March. Rumours of a ‘charge’ for the most polluting vehicles has been carefully framed as not being a congestion charge. A decade on from the extremely unpopular Manchester Congestion Charge Referendum, the Mayor and Leaders of Greater Manchester are keen to make sure that whatever comes forward as part of the plans, it will not a be, or be seen as, an attempt to introduce it in another guise.

There is a lot happening in Greater Manchester, and Grayling Manchester have produced a briefing on the Spatial Framework and the Transport Delivery Plan. If you would like these briefings, or any further details please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Telephone: 0161 819 6891