The long-awaited second draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) was expected to be published for consultation this month. However, as widely reported the Mayor, Andy Burnham, and Greater Manchester Leaders remain in stalemate over the amount of Green Belt release proposed in the plan. With the Mayor seeking significant reductions in the amount of Green Belt set to be released.
Our analysis of the household projections (published last month) suggests that, under the 'local housing need' formula, housing delivery across Greater Manchester would fall significantly short of the previous draft GMSF target of 227,200 new dwellings. However, that target was built upon Greater Manchester ambitions to drive economic growth and, whilst the 2016 household projections may be enticing particularly in relation to Green Belt release, an adoption of these numbers could seriously jeopardise those ambitions.
If Greater Manchester is to be the beating heart of a Northern Powerhouse it will require greater levels of housing to be delivered and this will require some difficult discussion, including the fate of many Green Belt sites.