The next issue of the Plan will be published in September/October, 2020. This final draft of the Plan will go to councillors in September/October. Following this, an eight week consultation will commence in early November. Watch this space for further updates.
What is GMSF?
The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) is a strategic planning document which is being prepared by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the 10 Greater Manchester Authorities. It will eventually be a plan which seeks to ensure that Greater Manchester has the right land in the right places to deliver the homes and jobs needed up to 2037, along with identifying the new infrastructure required to achieve this.
The first draft of the proposed plan came out for consultation in 2016. The Ratepayers submitted a detailed objection to that proposed plan.
In response to our objection and thousands of others, a second draft plan came out in January 2019.
We sent a leaflet to every home in Heald Green, briefly explaining the latest proposals and inviting them to a Public Meeting, organised by the Ratepayers’ Association on Tuesday 12.02.19 at the Village Hall. This meeting was packed, with people crowding the fire exits and others arriving early but being unable to get near the hall for the crowds. .Click here for notes from the Public Meeting
Although not able to attend in person, Local MP Mary Robinson sent a letter of support which was read out at the meeting. Click here to see a copy of the letter
Again, Ratepayers sent in a detailed objection to the proposals as they affected Heald Green.
You can view the Ratepayers’ submission by clicking here. Note: due to the way the Combined Authority have set up the responses on their website, the response under “Heald Green Ratepayers” is the response of a private individual not that of the Association. The Association’s submission is on the CA website under: : https://www.gmconsult.org/communications-and-engagement-team/gmsf/consultation/view_respondent?uuId=640553443. However, it’s easier to read using the link on the first line of this paragraph.
What has been done since the previous, 2016, draft version?
Since 2016 all Greater Manchester authorities, including Stockport, had been looking at ways to increase housing supply in the urban area, particularly on brownfield sites. As a result of this work the Council had identified more sites that are considered to be suitable for delivery over the period to 2037 and had re-examined some of the density assumptions made about potential housing sites, particularly those around district and other centres.
What does this mean in terms of Green Belt loss?
The 2016 proposal was to build on nearly 90% of Heald Green’s Green Belt land, far more than any other ward in the borough. Under the current proposals, Heald Green would stand to lose more than 50% of its Green Belt land to development, even after taking into consideration new land which may be designated as Green Belt in the future. Once again this is far more than in any other area of Stockport and a proportion of the remaining Green Belt has already been developed.
How does the GMSF relate to the Stockport Local Plan?
If the GMSF is adopted the site allocations and the policies would become part of the development plan for Stockport. The housing and employment figures will form the basis for an assessment of future allocations and policies in a Stockport Local Plan. However, the Local Plan will consider a wide range of topic areas, such as transport, retail, open space, etc. at a Stockport level. The evidence bases, the issues raised and the options that exist for the Council will all still need to be assessed in the development of a Stockport Local Plan. That will be subject to a separate consultation on a Draft Plan later.
What are the Heald Green Allocations in the latest, 2019, version of the GMSF?
Site 1: Heald Green (Allocation 37)
(Previously known as OA23 Heald Green)
- New parcels of land have now been added including:
- Bolshaw Primary School
- The whole of the public hall field and land occupied by the Village Hall and associated car parks (NB: see further information about the Covenant on this land at the bottom of this page)
- The land on which stands the Football Club building and the field behind it
- Some pieces of land included in the 2016 draft GMSF have been removed:
- Nixon’s Farm Shop and the land south of it (Robinson’s land, where the greenhouses are)
- The proposal is now to build 850 homes on this site, rather than the 2000 proposed in 2016 with access from Outwood Road. Realistically, this can only be achieved by putting a road up the Village Hall field, although the plan does not say this! An emergency access and cycling and walking access would be put onto Finney Lane.
- Provision for appropriate provision and improvements to the station parking at Heald Green
- Provision for an improved and/or replacement Village Hall for community uses
- Delivery of a route to support a bus rapid transit route through the site
- Contribute towards additional health provision needs generated by the development
- Contribute towards the provision of additional school places within the allocation site together with financial contributions for offsite provision. The existing local primary schools will need to be expanded to respond to the increasing educational demands in the area. A secondary school may also be needed, and this could be provided onsite, or offsite.
- It is proposed that the site would include a minimum of 30% affordable housing.
What about the Village Hall Field Covenant?
The 11 acre field on which the Village Hall stands was sold to Cheadle and Gatley Urban District Council by Walter Meredith in 1936. It is now owned by Stockport Metropolitan Borough council, as successor authority. The sale included a covenant of which we have a copy. The relevant wording states that the field can only be used as open space. However, it must be realised that covenants can be set aside. There is a legal process to achieve this and any attempt can be fought but the result could go either way, so we cannot assume that the covenant is an absolute defence against a plan for a road.
We have been in touch with the descendants of Walter Meredith and they are determined to resist any attempt to set aside the covenant. We remain in touch with them.
Site 2: Griffin Farm, Stanley Green (Allocation 40)
(Previously known as OA22 Land off A34)
This site, although totally within Heald Green, has been given a name which does not contain the words “Heald Green”
- The proposal is now to build 850 homes on this, smaller, site rather than the 3700 proposed in 2016 (2700 of which would have been in Heald Green).
- Proposals include provision of a new rail station at Stanley Green, combined with a park and ride scheme and the introduction of a bus rapid transit system through the site to encourage fewer people to travel by car along the A34.
- It is proposed that the site would include a minimum of 30% affordable housing.
- Some pieces of land included in the 2016 draft GMSF have been removed;
- All of the land on the far side of the A34 in Cheadle Hulme
- A small piece of land on the southern side of Bolshaw Rd between Wilmslow Rd and Bolshaw Farm Lane
- A small parcel of land between the back of some of the houses on Syddall Avenue and Hilary Avenue and the A34
- A narrow sliver of land on the Heald Green side of the A34 between Heald Green and Cheadle Hulme
The Ratepayers did not provide a template letter because template letters are less likely to be effective than individually written responses. However, the Ratepayers’ distributed a leaflet at the Public Meeting suggesting some points residents could put in their responses. These included:
- An additional 1700 homes added to Heald Green. This is an increase of one third homes in Heald Green with resultant increased needs for health, social care, education, leisure, open space. Also much increased traffic, despite an extra bus route and train station
- 46% of the homes the document proposes for the whole of Stockport are planned for Heald Green
- All of Heald Green houses are in our Green Belt
- Whole of Greater Manchester Green Belt reduction is 4.1%. Heald Green’s Green Belt reduction is 50%, with a large amount of what would remain already built on e.g. greenhouses
- The field behind the Village Hall is in regular use for recreation and contains two football pitches. It is also the site of Heald Green’s main Village event the Heald Green Festival, attended by thousands. To drive a road through it would be totally unacceptable. It has a covenant from 1936, which precludes building on it.
- New railway station at Stanley Green is welcomed but could be better used if some or all of the homes proposed in GMSF1 for the East of the A34 (Cheadle Hulme) were added back in and taken out of the Heald Green allocation.
How will concerns raised by the general public be taken into account?
All comments made in response to the January 2019 GMSF document are being assessed by the joint team working on the GMSF and will be used to produce the next draft document, which will be available for consultation. The difference between the 2016 version of GMSF and the 2019 version shows that people’s views are important and can have an impact on how the plan develops and what it contains.
When is the next version of GMSF due out and what happens then?
The next version of GMSF was seriously delayed and is now expected to be published in late September/early October 2020. We will keep you informed on our website, on our facebook page and by a leaflet. The next version will be the version which will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, who will conduct a long Public Inquiry into the plan. All our comments on the next plan will not affect what the Combined Authority submit to the Inspectorate but will be placed before the Inspector, along with the plan.
Across Greater Manchester
Of course, GMSF is not just a plan for Stockport but for the whole of Greater Manchester, which comprises all 10 Metropolitan Councils from Oldham to Wigan. The Ratepayers’ Association is an active member of the Save Greater Manchester’s Green Belt Group (SGMGB) and one of our Committee members is a member of the SGMGB Steering Committee. SGMGB is an umbrella organisation comprised of over 35 local groups across Greater Manchester. As such, it is in regular contact with the most senior officers of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, who are responsible for progressing GMSF. This gives us more influence and knowledge of what’s going on.