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Sidebottom Fold among sites provoking massive response to Spatial Framework plans



Protesters against proposals to build on Green belt sites in Tameside. The draft plans as part of the GMCA’s Spatial Framework  have proved a massive response from the public.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Spatial Framework plan which is seeking to expand residential and commercial development across the county has received a huge response from the public to its draft proposals.

Since the plan was made public in October the GMCA has had 25,000 responses from the public with the proposal to build 650 homes at Sidebottom Fold, in Stalybridge drawing a large proportion of respondents expressing their views.

The area’s position at the foot hills of the Western Pennines has raised strong emotions in relation to any potential development.

Several other sites in Tameside are also under consideration including at Mottram around the M67 motorway junction, North Ashton and the so called Eastern Gateway around Ashton Moss as well as Godley Green and Woodley.

The plan which aims to build 230,000 homes across Greater Manchester, during the next 20 years, with 13,000  in Tameside have provoked several demonstrations from resident groups fearful of the loss of Green Belt and other open areas within the borough.

Those groups may be reassured by Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale and GMCA lead for planning and housing, who said: “I want to thank each and every person who has responded to our consultation. There is strong support for a Greater Manchester plan for jobs and homes and the level of response has shown that people in every borough are willing to engage with and shape our plan for homes and jobs..

“It’s clear that many people across Greater Manchester have strong feelings about this plan. That’s something we recognise and will respond to. We will not ignore what you are telling us – and we will consider every single submission and look at where changes can and should be made.

“While the vast majority of the plan proposes building within the urban area, including on brownfield sites, I know there are concerns around potential development on specific sites designated as Green Belt. I also understand that people want to see more detail on our plans for brownfield regeneration, infrastructure and transport to support this plan.

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne has been critical of the Combined Authorities categorisation of areas earmarked for development, designated by the authority as brownfield sites

Andrew Gwynne has been highly circumspect of GMCA’s designation of Brownfield sites in its Spatial Framework report.

The MP  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.”

The Greater Manchester’s Plan for Homes and Jobs. Update on Consultation report is due to be considered by leaders on Friday 31 March.