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
Following the second GMSF Consultation all the responses have been published. If you submitted comments to the consultation you should have received an email or letter from the GMCA thanking you. In this they will have given you a link containing a unique number through which you can search their spreadsheet for your comments.
The link below will take you to the ‘GMSF Responses’ web page and give you instructions on how to search for your comments, and those of the 17,000+ people who also wanted to make sure their voice was being heard.
Redrow Homes has produced a glossy PR document as part of their comments to the recent GMSF Consultation (Jan-Mar 2019). The indicative masterplan for what they call the ‘Manchester Road Development’ uses information from the GMSF documentation to show how they might develop the site. Showing the All In One Garden Centre as its way in from the main road, they demonstrate how they could use the whole area behind Thornham Cricket Club and St John’s Thornham Church, stretching to Thornham New Road, the M62, and A627M.
At this stage of the GMSF plan, Redrow have decided its time to show their hand and how serious they are in wanting to got hold of this large chunk of local Greenbelt.
Whoever wrote this Development Statement obviously used online and out of date information and probably didn’t set foot in Slattocks
There are lots of error and mistakes. We’ll leave you to spot them.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA) which is made of the 10 Greater Manchester Councils, including Rochdale, have now analysed and published the results of the GMSF Consultation (held Jan-March 2019).
Many residents from Slattocks and Stakehill sent in comments on the 2nd draft of the proposals.
Out of some 51 separate allocations/sites, our local allocation, GM Allocation 2: Stakehill, had the ninth highest number of comments, some 982.
This shows the strength of feeling amongst the local community in wanting a ‘have a say’ in the future of the area.
The GMCA publicity statement can be seen at the link below.