Greater Manchester’s leaders have set out essential housing and transport plans to ensure the city-region can thrive in spite of the national uncertainty posed by Brexit.
At a special event today (7 January), Mayor Andy Burnham, alongside Deputy Mayors Sir Richard Leese and Bev Hughes, and the leaders of Greater Manchester councils, summarised a series of bold and far-reaching new housing and transport proposals that showcase the region as a confident, ambitious hub which places its people at its heart.
Greater Manchester’s Plan for Jobs, Homes and the Environment – the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) – has been radically rewritten.
The plan focuses on making the most of Greater Manchester’s brownfield sites, spotlighting the redevelopment of the town centres and other sustainable locations. It will also help to address the housing crisis with a minimum target of 50,000 additional affordable homes – 30,000 of which will be social housing.
The net loss of green belt has been reduced by more than half. And – as an illustration of the radical approach that Greater Manchester is taking to environmental policy – the city-region is making clear its opposition to fracking.
In a UK first, Mayoral powers are to be used to renew a major town centre. Burnham is to work with Stockport Council to consult on bringing forward a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) for the town. It is the first time MDC powers have been used to regenerate a town centre.
During the special event, leaders also outlined:
plans for transport links for people to get around the city-region
improvements to the environment to clean up our air, and
new opportunities for people to access great jobs by attracting the best companies and building our citizens’ skills.
Other major announcements around clean air and support for young people were also made at the event.
Burnham said: “In this time of national social and economic uncertainty, and with politics in Westminster paralysed by Brexit, Greater Manchester is taking the initiative and setting out an innovative blueprint to give people, communities and businesses hope and confidence for the future.
“When we consulted people on the first spatial framework, the public were clear that we hadn’t got the balance right. We listened, reflected, and can now present a radical re-write as promised. It also lays the foundations for radical reform in other policy areas such as housing, the environment and transport.
“Together, we are harnessing the full power of the most advanced devolution deal of any city-region in England for the benefit of our three million residents. And we are putting together the pieces of the jigsaw to reveal the big picture – a Greater Manchester where prosperity, opportunity, health, hope and happiness are widely and fairly shared across all our people and places.”