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MP slams ‘disingenuous’ brownfield development claim
Saturday 31st December 2016 @ 09:27 by Adam Higgins
Community Denton & Audenshaw News

Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has slammed the latest online Greater Manchester Spatial Framework information as being “deeply misleading and totally disingenuous”.

An infographic (below), which has been used to promote the Spatial Framework on social media platforms, implies that 72% of new development in Greater Manchester will be on ‘brownfield’ land with the remaining 28% coming from the controversial release of greenbelt land.

In the UK, a brownfield site is defined as “previously developed land that has the potential for being redeveloped”.

However, the Spatial Framework allocations map show significant parcels of existing public open space, protected urban greenspace, playing fields, play areas and other previously undeveloped land – but not protected by greenbelt status – allocated for development.

The MP has demanded to know how the ‘brownfield’ figure has been arrived at given it includes substantial areas that do not meet the authorised brownfield definition.

He has submitted a Freedom of Information request to all ten Greater Manchester councils and to the Combined Authority’s planners asking for the breakdowns.

Mr Gwynne said: “The current arguments around the Spatial Framework have focused, rightly, on the unnecessary loss of valuable greenbelt land across the conurbation.  I’ve been calling for a proper ‘brownfield first’ strategy so we can then have a well-informed discussion about what other land may be required to meet Greater Manchester’s future growth needs.

“But on close inspection, much of the ‘brownfield’ land identified in my own constituency isn’t remotely previously-developed land.  As such we are being hit by a duplicitous double-whammy, potentially losing both greenbelt land and also losing other pieces of public open space that appears to be misleadingly classified as ‘brownfield’ land to make the Spatial Framework seem less destructive on the local environment than it actually is.

“The 72% figure appears to be deeply misleading and totally disingenuous. I’ve previously called the Spatial Framework a ‘greenbelt-grabbing exercise’ but it’s worse than that, it’s a ‘green space-grabbing’ exercise too.”

Land in the identified in the Spatial Framework allocations (not classified as greenbelt, but with a current local plan ‘protected open space’ status) include:

  • Land at Windsor Road, Dane Bank – currently a riding stables and grazing land
  • Horses Field, Thornley Lane South – currently grazing land and public open space adjoining Reddish Vale
  • Play area at Leechbrook Avenue, Audenshaw
  • Playing fields at the former Two Trees High School, Haughton Green
  • Public open space on the corner of Egerton Street and Corporation Road, Audenshaw
  • Public open space adjacent to Haughton Green Gardening Society
  • Public open space at rear of Corrie Primary School, Denton

You can have your say by clicking here, e-mailing comments to [email protected] or sending them in writing to Manchester Town Hall.

The deadline for the consultation has been extended to January 16, 2017.