Places for Everyone – A spatial framework by another name would be just as contentious…

Friday, 16th July 2021

By Christopher Peacock, Director, Lexington Communications

So here we are again. Greater Manchester’s masterplan to identify where sites for employment and housing will be located across Greater Manchester (excluding Stockport) up to 2037 is back.

So what’s changed? Well… not a lot. We’ve a new name and we knew from Stockport’s withdrawal from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework in December that the other nine boroughs of Greater Manchester said they would push on with the city region wide plan without them. So Stockport’s allocations have gone and we’ve seen a reduction in the number of new homes being built to 165,000 from 180,000, but a slight increase in the employment land allocation.

Although the new framework suggests that it will provide ‘Places for Everyone’, even the Mayor admitted at the announcement this week that not everyone would like it.

No doubt the Mayor, council leaders and public relations teams will be focusing on the contrast between Places for Everyone and GMSF 2016 to highlight the Green Belt and housing reductions from five years ago. But that isn’t going to change the concern and anger from those communities that feel that their areas of Green Belt should have been removed from Places for Everyone and have not been.

From the moment GMSF 1.0 was launched in 2016, the anger towards the proposals was focused almost entirely on the amount of Green Belt that was being given up for development. Although the amount has been reduced by 60% since 2016 (the same amount reduced in the 2019 GMSF draft), it will still not be welcomed by the numerous local protest groups that were born out of the initial draft in 2016.

Organised opposition groups will be preparing their submissions to the impending consultation, raising their banners and getting out their walking boots as the inevitable protests are organised to protect their green spaces.

Will these protests and opposition to Places for Everyone work? Never say never. It was opposition to the 2016 GMSF that promoted Andy Burnham’s 2017 Mayoral manifesto to promise a “radical re-write” of the GMSF, which he did, and it was opposition in Stockport that led to the authority pulling out altogether.

Lexington will be monitoring all nine councils as they go through the process of considering, debating and deciding on whether to support Places for Everyone. If you have an interest in what happens next to the plan, get in touch with our consultants who will be able to help you navigate the complexities of each town hall, the local pressures each are facing and their decision making processes.