Council leaders in Bury have welcomed the announcement that consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will be delayed until October following the publication of new official population figures.
The GMSF is to be Greater Manchester’s masterplan to meet housing and employment needs over the next 20 years, and its latest draft was due to be published next month.
However, new figures are predicting a lower growth in the GM population than originally forecast, and new official Government figures relating to the housing numbers required in Greater Manchester are due to come out in September.
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Bury’s cabinet member for finance and housing, said: “The spatial framework is a crucial document in ensuring that we have the right number of homes and jobs we need for generations to come. This is why it’s vital that the plan is based on the most up-to-date figures.
“Given that the population forecasts have now changed, it’s clear that much more work needs to be done, and I welcome the decision to delay publication and public consultation on the framework until October, after the Government’s housing figures are published in September.”
Cllr O’Brien added: “There have been strong protests in Bury and across Greater Manchester about the possibilities of losing large parts of our local Green Belt. Although no guarantees can be given, especially when we’re waiting for Government housing figures and projections, I think it is likely that less Green Belt land will have be released in Bury to meet housing needs than originally envisioned.
“Whatever the new figures are, we will continue with our ‘brownfield first’ policy of prioritising building on land which has previously been developed, such as our latest plans for the former East Lancs Paper Mill site in Radcliffe.”