Major homes, jobs and environment masterplan receives Wigan Council cabinet approval

The latest draft of a major development plan for homes, jobs and the environment has been approved by Wigan Council’s cabinet, ahead of a public consultation.
Wigan's draft spatial framework overviewWigan's draft spatial framework overview
Wigan's draft spatial framework overview

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has been developed by all 10 boroughs to make the city region one of the best places to live and work.

It sets out how to build the right homes in the right places, create improved connectivity between boroughs and meet environmental targets through to 2037.

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Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux, said: “It is vital for future generations that we get these plans right, to create good jobs and homes and the right infrastructure to support them.

“Having this framework reduces the chance of inappropriate development – I believe it strikes the right balance for our future prosperity.”

Latest projections across the city region show a need for around 179,000 homes, working out at 10,534 per year. Wigan Borough’s housing requirement outlined in the plans is 1,005 per year, a reduction from 1,126 in the 2019 draft.

It includes a GM commitment to deliver more affordable housing and policies to regenerate brownfield sites. Policies to protect and enhance natural assets also form a key part of the framework.

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Subject to GMCA approval, North Leigh Park (£10m) and Gloucester Street, Atherton (£0.4m) are set to receive parts of a separate Brownfield Land Fund.

The GMSF also includes wide-ranging plans to boost green infrastructure, biodiversity and help deliver climate change targets.

In Wigan Borough, four strategic development sites are included, one site fewer than the previous draft published in 2019, with the South of Pennington location removed.

• M6 Junction 25, Wigan – 140,000 sqm of employment floorspace

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• West of Gibfield, Atherton – 500 homes and 45,500 sqm of employment floorspace

• North of Mosley Common – 1,100 homes

• Pocket Nook, Lowton – 600 homes and 15,000 sqm of employment floorspace (not in green belt)

There are six sites where land is being added into green belt, with one substantial site at the Hope Carr Nature Reserve in Leigh.

Coun Molyneux added: “In Wigan Borough the amount of greenbelt earmarked for development has reduced significantly during the draft process, with one site removed entirely and additional greenbelt being added.

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“We will continue to listen to residents’ concerns and I would urge them to have their say on these updated plans.”

The net loss of green belt land in Wigan Borough is 1.3 per cent, reduced from previous drafts, due to removal of other strategic sites and reducing green belt release within remaining sites, such as the M6, junction 25 location.

Across GM, green belt impact has been reduced by 60 per cent compared to the first draft in 2016.

Subject to the approval of all 10 Greater Manchester districts, consultation on the Publication version of the GMSF is scheduled to start on 1 December and end on 26 January 2021.

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It will then be submitted to the government for independent examination.

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