5,000 signatures reached
To: Secretary of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
Ask the Secretary of State (DLUHC) to intervene in the PfE Greater Manchester spatial framework.
We request that the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) uses his powers to intervene in the Places for Everyone Greater Manchester Spatial Framework to prevent unnecessary and unsustainable Green Belt release, which will cause harm to the climate, the environment and people’s well-being, without providing sufficient affordable homes, sustainable transport, health care facilities or schools.
It is a discriminatory plan, which focuses on market housing and warehousing, with, for example, the targets for Affordable Housing being removed from Places for Everyone Policy during the Examination and no consideration being given to the needs of the Gypsy/Traveller/Student communities or the Rural Economy.
Clearly the plan, with its associated Main Modifications, does not comply with the government’s policy to protect the Green Belt and ensure a brownfield first approach.
Why is this important?
Places for Everyone is Greater Manchester’s Joint Development Plan for housing, the economy and the environment (previously known as the GMSF). For the reasons set out below, we believe that it needlessly proposes Green Belt and Protected Open Land for development, which will cause harm to the climate, the environment and people’s well-being, without providing sufficient affordable homes, sustainable transport, health care facilities or schools. It should be carefully assessed by the Secretary of State on behalf of the citizens of Greater Manchester.
The plan covers nine of the ten Local Authority areas in the Greater Manchester conurbation and proposes to build over 178,000 homes, of which over 28,000 will be in unsustainable locations in the Green Belt or on Protected Open Land, along with over 3 million square metres allocated for warehousing and industry.
Save Greater Manchester’s Green Belt and its partner groups have grave concerns about the impact on the countryside, the environment and valued community green space. Our chief concerns are:
1. OUTDATED THINKING – National policy is being updated, and we believe that Greater Manchester would be best placed to meet the challenges ahead by having a plan based on the most up-to-date guidance. This planning process commenced in 2014 and has since been overtaken by various significant national and local events. The citizens of Greater Manchester deserve a forward-looking plan which meets THEIR needs.
2. GREEN BELT – The proposed premature and unnecessary release of 2,388 hectares of Green Belt (equivalent to 2,985 football pitches) is not consistent with the Government’s stated aspirations to channel growth towards major cities in order to protect green space. The plan’s own evidence base shows that by adopting a high-density strategy directed at the city and town centres and along sustainable public transport routes, approximately 214,000 homes could be built over the plan period without needing to release any Green Belt. The recent announcement about scrapping the Manchester leg of HS2 removes PfE's premise of aggressive exponential growth. The Plan’s spatial strategy should be changed to deliver the Public Transport Max spatial option, which would be affordable, achievable and sustainable!
3. ECOLOGY – Given that the allocated Green Belt will be released on the day that the plan is approved, there is a lack of evidence about the ecological and biodiversity impact of the plan and no clarity about why such environmentally rich sites have been selected rather than prioritising the regeneration of brownfield sites.
4. SCHOOL PLACES/HEALTH SERVICES – Despite the plan proposing sufficient new housing to create the equivalent of two new boroughs in GM, there is no land set aside for a new hospital to support the consequential 450,000 additional citizens, no evidence that sufficient school places will be provided (an issue that is already a red risk for some GM districts), nor that there will be sufficient sites for GPs and dentists.
5. NET ZERO – We believe an alternative strategy that integrates development with sustainable public transport would better support the country’s commitment to net zero. As the carbon assessments for the Cambridge Local Plan show, the right kind of spatial development will have a substantial impact on reducing emissions without the costly overhead that climate mitigation measures usually carry.
6. CLEAN AIR ZONE / ULEZ – Integrating development and public transport would also organically reduce dependency on private transport and would have a positive impact on reducing air pollution, which should avert the need to impose punitive and unfair charges on car users through the CAZ.
7. AFFORDABLE HOMES – The plan originally committed to delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the plan period, but the Greater Manchester Combined Authority reneged on this policy commitment during the Examination in Public. We believe this is disingenuous and makes a mockery of the name of the plan, since the people of Greater Manchester have been conned into believing that Green Belt is being sacrificed to build affordable homes.
8. TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING – There is no evidence that funding is available to deliver the extremely long list of “Necessary” transport infrastructure requirements of the 34 unsustainable Green Belt locations, as set out in the Places for Everyone Plan.
How it will be delivered
We are considering options for delivering the petition (for example, group members in-person and/or via MPs), we will confirm at a later date.