Welcome to the Thornham St John’sNeighbourhood Forum website.
We created our forum because we share a common purpose and objective to protect and enhance our neighbourhood and to make it an area that is vibrant, socially inclusive, and generally the greenest, safest place to live, work and play that it can possibly be.
Forum members are individuals who either live, work or regularly pursue leisure activities (walking, horse riding, cycling, ornithology, fishing, etc.) in the Slattocks/Stakehill and surrounding area. Members of the forum are all connected to the daily life of the neighbourhood and are keen that any changes in the area are beneficial to all.
If you support our aim then please dotell us what you think to help make the Thornham St John’s neighbourhood the best possible place it can be.
There’s no fee, no commitment and no onus on you to do anything. All we ask is that you share our vision of making Thornham St John’s neighbourhood a great place to live, work and play!
The next draft of the GMSF plan to decimate local Green Belt is about to be published.
The template letter/email below is there for you to send to your local Ward Councillors. I believe shows them the strength of local feeling about saving the Green Belt from development.But before you send anything, please make sure:
the Councillors names are correct as some of you are not in the Castleton Ward but in North Middleton. If that’s the case then your Councillors are Kallum Nolan, Sara Rowbotham and Donna Williams.
The text below is copied directly from the Highways England website:
Why we need this scheme
In March 2020, the Government’s second Road Investment Strategy included a commitment for Highways England to improve Simister Island Interchange between the M62, M60 and M66.
Simister Island Interchange is one of the busiest motorway junctions in the north-west used by around 90,000 vehicles each day. The junction struggles with such high volumes of traffic above what it was designed for, and as a result suffers from congestion and poor journey time reliability.
The project will improve junction 18 of the M60 and facilitate smoother flows of traffic along the connecting motorways, contributing to more reliable and safer journeys into and around Greater Manchester.
The main aims of the scheme are:
Improve the journey experience for users of this section of network by:
reducing peak congestion and faster average speeds
reducing journey times
delivering more reliable journey times
Provide an option which is safe for all road users
Minimise the impact of the project on the surrounding environment including within Noise Important Areas and Air Quality Management Areas
Facilitate future economic growth across the Greater Manchester area and support delivery of proposed development sites close to the M60 and M66
COVID-19 represents an unparalleled global public health crisis. The toll on our lives and families, businesses, health services, and economies is enormous. Each death is a tragedy, and the effects on our collective well being and financial security will be significant.
The document shows 400 and 800 metre perimeters around the rail stations but fails to explain what these mean.
The Rail Strategy doesn’t mention the GMSF or the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Strategy 2040
When lockdown conditions are eased we’ll meet with our local Councillors & MPs about the Rail Strategy and other issues affecting the area to try to convince them that development via a Brownfield First policy is the best way to properly protect the Green Belt.
You may remember we put up Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) monitoring tubes around the area in November last year (2019). NO2 is one of the air-borne pollutants in vehicle emissions and is known to cause health problems
Exposure to high pollution episodes can cause immediate harm to everyone by: – Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat – Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties – Worsening of existing lung and heart problems, such as asthma. As the heart, lungs and blood cells pump oxygen to every part of the body, they also come into contact and carry along toxic pollutants like NO2 and other noxious air-borne particulates. The body must therefore work harder to supply oxygen and overcome the effects of these chemicals, causing the above symptoms.
This is where the tubes were located
And the results we got were:
140.85 2 37.76 3 25.75 4 32.58 5 33.56
According current regulations the exposure limit to NO2 is 40 ug/m3 (micrograms per metre cubed).
So one result is over the recommended limit
Not surprisingly, the monitor tube at St Johns School gave the lowest result, given that it’s furthest away from traffic on the main road.
Whilst the results are somewhat surprising we will soon be able to get a more accurate result using a more sophisticated air quality monitor, pictured below, which ‘tests’ for a wider range of substances. The British Lung Foundation (BLF) who are supplying the new monitor are also keen to do further work with us around the health & clean air issues.
Hello to everyone hope you’re all fit & well and staying safe.
We’re continuing to develop our TSJ neighbourhood plan for the area and have applied for grant funding so we can engage a planning consultant to help pull the plan together.
We will soon be out and about again putting up signs and banners to remind people how precious the green belt is to all of us. Please let us know if you’d like one of the signs on your property. Just email@example.com
We are doing all this in preparation for the next GMSF consultation which will probably be in Autumn this year.
However, GM Mayor Andy Burnham has said that due to COVID-19 the plan will now be amended. This is what he’s said in a recent press conference (3rd June 2020) about the GMSF plan:
“It’s being reviewed…. The economy is going to face a challenging period and that will have an implication for the GMSF, particularly its five year delivery plan. Equally, there may be more opportunity for houses to be built in areas where the high street could be hit by the downturn…”
On the face of it, this looks like good news in terms of protecting Green Belt from development, but it’s far from clear that it actually means that.
The GMCA’s ‘Greater Manchester’s Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment’, commonly known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework which was out for public consultation earlier in 2019, promotes a vision for ‘clean air and a flourishing natural environment’. This is one of many aspirations stated in the document, couched in fluffy political language, which directly conflicts with the GMCA’s primary ambition to offer up swathes of our local greenbelt to developers and land speculators. Reducing the green space around our towns will increase air pollution, putting the health and wellbeing of local people at higher risk of lung and heart disease.
“Reducing the green space around our towns will increase air pollution“
The 152 roads in Greater Manchester that breach
air pollution levels. The data doesn’t include motorways!
We’ve contacted The British Lung Foundation (BLF) who have offered to supply us some air quality monitors.
This will allow us to measure air pollution levels near our busiest roads and particularly those that are close to schools and community centres.
More evidence is emerging around the detrimental effects of air pollution: a study (published last year in the journal ‘Circulation’ www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.034856) reports an association between lower levels of air pollution (small particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide) and changes to the structure of the heart in people who did not have pre-existing heart disease. This adds to the growing evidence of the damaging effects of ambient pollution even in the setting of relatively low exposure levels. The authors recommend that ‘efforts to reduce air pollutant emission should be prioritised in public health initiatives and legislative measures’.
Taking any areas out of our local Greenbelt will only make air pollution, and our health, worse!
This is particularly relevant to young children and their long-term health.
At the recent Breathing Space conference in Manchester, organised by the Save Greater Manchester’s Greenbelt (SGMGB) group, no one was left in any doubt that the GMSF rewrite does not go anywhere far enough in taking into account many people’s concerns, particularly about the Greenbelt.
Andy Burnham and the ten local Councils comprising the
Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA) are not meeting residents’
expectations – in protecting Greenbelt; having a ‘Brownfield First’ policy; and
in truly taking on-board people’s concerns about the future on their
Despite the glossy brochure rhetoric, they don’t seem to be
listening to what people have said in response to the first nor second consultation.
So the Greenbelt Groups across Manchester have tried to
emphasise where Andy and his team, and the system they’re working with, have
gone wrong and can really make a positive difference.
The Breathing Space conference saw presentations on: Clean
air; Public participation in planning; Planning and land speculators; and What
makes a viable neighbourhood.
Whilst all the experts gave
excellent presentations, we were particularly impressed by Dr Quintin Bradley’s
presentation ‘Planning and land speculators’. Dr Bradley powerfully highlighted
how the current planning system is
stacked against ordinary people and the local councils in favour of the developers:
‘a planning regime intended to increase the supply of housing has actually doubled the length of time taken to build houses, created a new market in land speculation, incentivised housebuildersnotto build, and forced local authorities to allocate more than twice as much land as actually needed for housing’.
Some of the headlines from the presentations are:
forward the day when we can all breathe clean air with healthy lungs
(Sue Huyton – British Lung Foundation)
152 roads in GM are above legal air pollution
levels and motorways are not included in this.
1200 early deaths have been attributed to poor
air quality in GM.
Poor air quality costs GMCA £1 billion per annum
due to health issues.
Air pollution increases by 112% next to a
construction site for houses.
participation in planning: smoke, mirrors and charades? (Dr Paul O’Hare – MMU)
How planners approach public participation, and
how they are getting it wrong
town planning system has been captured by land speculators: the five year land
supply and the Housing Delivery Test (Dr Quintin Bradley – Leeds Beckett
What was once known as land banking has now been
renamed as a ‘housing supply pipeline’.
A whole new middle industry has now emerged
called site promotion which gets a landowner outline planning on greenbelt. The
promoter takes a % fee for land sale with planning permission. Many never turn
into new homes.
Agricultural land worth £25K per hectare will
typically increase in value to £5.6M per hectare once residential planning
permission is granted.
Housebuilders deliberately restrict build-out
rates in order to starve the market of new houses so that land prices inflate
and new house prices remain high.
Over 1 million homes given detailed planning
permission over the 11 year period to 2017 were never actually built.
Housing developers are now taking twice as long
to produce completions to market: from 2 years to 4.
90 % of planning applications for housing get
approved, and this includes appeals.
Most appeals are now won by housing developers disproving
that a local council hasn’t got a 5 year supply of land which is manipulated to
suit in some cases.
Viable Neighbourhoods (Dr Steve Millington & Professor Cathy Parker – Institute of Place
Local markets are often an essential component
of successful town centres, encouraging local enterprise.
People like pedestrianisation and car-free
Town centres need to be mixed use (not just
retail) with an evening economy.
Harpurhey is seen as a model of successful
co-location of key public amenities with retail and community-led partnerships.
Both the Thornham St John’s Neighbourhood Forum
and SOS-Save Our Slattocks Greenbelt Group will take what we’ve learned from
the conference and continue to campaign to save the Greenbelt and oppose