Stockport Council has voted to reject the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which set out the plans for housing and employment development across the city-region.
The council was originally set to vote on the proposals earlier in November, however agreed to defer the decision to continue last-minute discussions between Labour politicians, and opposition Conservative and Independent groups which criticised the loss of greenbelt land for new homes. The plan was defeated in a vote on 3rd December 35 votes to 26, with the Liberal Democrats, who have long opposed the GMSF, also voting down proposals.
The nine remaining boroughs of Greater Manchester will now have to decide whether to continue to progress plans with Stockport excluded.
Stockport Council will now have three years to prepare its own local plan. Backers of the GMSF had argued that the plan offered a better deal for Stockport’s greenbelt than the borough would be able to deliver on its own as it would now need to meet government housing targets within its borders, rather than sharing that number across the whole of Greater Manchester. In an open letter, GM Mayor Andy Burnham and Stockport Council Leader Cllr Elise Wilson estimated that Stockport Council would need to find space for an additional 5,000 homes on top of sites proposed in the GMSF.
The GMSF had proposed for Stockport reallocating greenbelt sites for 1,700 new homes in Heald Green, 750 in Woodford and 500 in High Lane as well as for an expansion of Bredbury Park Industrial Estate by 2037, which represented an 84% reduction in greenbelt-loss compared to original proposals brought forward in 2016.
Stockport Council did however vote in favour of Greater Manchester’s 2040 Transport Strategy, although Cllr David Meller, cabinet member for regeneration, suggested that by not backing the GMSF, many plans within that strategy including Metrolink extension and upgrades to Stockport Station had been put in jeopardy.
The full Council meeting, which was conducted via videoconferencing software, is available to view online in full.