Ambitious regional plan for homes, green spaces and town centres

Political leaders have unveiled Places For Everyone, the plan for nine boroughs, including Wigan, which is the successor to the ill-fated Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:45 am
The masterplan includes plans for future housebuilding in the city-region
The masterplan includes plans for future housebuilding in the city-region

Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux says the document’s aims coincide with many of the town hall’s ambitions for the borough, but acknowledged some people may be worried about what is planned.

He urged residents to have their say when a public consultation on the plan opens later this year.

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Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux

It wants to determine the kind of development that takes place across the city-region, maximising the use of brownfield land and urban spaces while protecting green belt land from the risk of unplanned development and ensuring all new construction sites are sustainably integrated into Greater Manchester’s transport network, or joined by new infrastructure.

The plan was developed after Stockport pulled out of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and opted to develop its own local proposals for the future instead.

The remaining nine boroughs, including Wigan, have chosen to continue working together and the publication of the scheme has been greeted positively by town hall political leaders.

Coun Molyneux said: “It is vital for future generations that we get these plans right, to create good jobs and homes, the right infrastructure to support them and meet our environmental targets.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

“The Places for Everyone masterplan’s vision for sustainable growth also coordinates with the aims of our own Recovery Strategy.

“We will continue to listen to residents’ concerns and I would urge them to have their say in the consultation process scheduled for later this year.”

Since receiving feedback on the spatial framework, the boroughs have worked to reduce the impact on green belt land by 60 per cent in the new plan compared to the 2016 one.

In total, 90 per cent of the housing allocations in the new plan are in urban areas and Greater Manchester has already committed £97m from the Government’s Brownfield Housing Fund to unlock 57 sites for the development of at least 5,500 new homes, with more than 2,000 of them being affordable.

Greater Manchester leaders want to continue promoting investment in town centres, with particular targets for increasing spending in the north of the conurbation.

The plan is also decided to help the city-region achieve its targets to reduce inequality and address problems in housing, jobs and skills.

Earlier this year, the Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy set a target of delivering 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent, while the new Retrofitting Task Force will bring together partners from local and national government, investors, education providers and energy suppliers to address the challenge of making homes and buildings energy efficient and fit for a low-carbon future.

Places for Everyone also sits alongside Transport for Greater Manchester’s long-term plans and wants to ensure new housing and commercial sites are accessible by public transport and promote active travel, such as cycling.

The plan will be reviewed by councillors in all nine boroughs involved and it is hoped an eight-week consultation will then run between August and October.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is setting out a clear and ambitious vision for new homes, enhanced green spaces and revitalised town centres.

“Linked to our plans for a zero-carbon future and good jobs and growth, this vision represents a major milestone as our city-region maps out its recovery from the pandemic.

“If we want to build back from the pandemic in a way that brings everyone with us and strikes at the root of inequality, we need a plan that strengthens our economy and our society against future challenges, and puts us in the best position to take advantage of new opportunities.

“Work is well under way to transform our urban centres by delivering good quality homes, sustainable public transport, and regeneration of the kind that will genuinely ‘level up’ our places.

“By building more low-carbon homes and equipping people with new retrofitting skills, we can also help to meet our goal of carbon neutrality by 2038 and lay the foundations for investment in green industry and innovation.

“We can no longer accept that the car is always king, and Places for Everyone will set out where inclusive growth can take place in areas well connected by an accessible, affordable, high-quality public transport infrastructure – our Bee Network.

“We all share the same priorities: we want to see better homes, better jobs, and better transport for everyone in our city-region.

“Everything we do is driven by that vision, and whether through Places for Everyone or other projects like the Homelessness Prevention Strategy and our plans for a world-class integrated transport network, we will continue to work together right across Greater Manchester to create a place where we can all succeed.”

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