Rochdale works with Bury and Oldham to develop Greater Manchester’s Smart Growth Area

Date published: 25 March 2019

A vision for Manchester’s Smart Growth Area spanning three boroughs, including Rochdale, has been set out at a four-day real estate exhibition, conference and networking event held in France between 12-15 March 2019.

The local authorities involved, Rochdale, Bury and Oldham, have sought interest from commercial and residential investors and developers at MIPIM 2019, Le marché international des professionnels de l'immobilier (translated as The international market for real estate professionals), in Cannes.

Manchester’s Smart Growth Area is the biggest new growth area in the city region, containing contains one third of proposed new employment space and one sixth of new homes to be constructed in Greater Manchester in the next 18 years.

The Smart Growth Area development is part of the controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework development which has been met with much protest from local residents opposing greenbelt encroachment.

A 20-year plan for homes and jobs, the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework proposes using a mixture of sites, including greenbelt land, to deliver the homes and jobs the GMCA says is needed up to 2035.

The Smart Growth development area covers three sites of more than 20 million square feet of new mixed employment space and 10,900 new homes linked by new low-carbon transport infrastructure and 5G connectivity. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure will feature throughout.

Creating new, higher-quality and better-connected opportunities close to desperately-needed new housing and social infrastructure could help rebalance Greater Manchester’s economy and reduce the need for longer, higher-polluting commutes across increasingly congested networks.

A masterplan identifies three strategic sites totalling more than 3,500 acres of land adjacent to junctions 19, 20 and 21 of the M62 motorway.

In total, it is estimated that commercial accommodation delivered across the masterplan area could accommodate approximately 40,100 jobs (gross FTE) and result in the creation of 23,400 net additional jobs at the Greater Manchester level.

Based on this level of employment growth, it is estimated that activity could generate a gross and net additional gross value-added impact of £2,177 million and £1,589 million per annum.

The three main strategic sites identified for development under the new plans are:

Manchester’s Smart Growth Area Site

This will utilise land between junctions 18 and 19 of the M62 motorway, in Heywood and Pilsworth to the north and across the Simister, Bowlee and Birch and Langley areas to the south. Proposals for this area are the creation of 4,200 new homes and 13,000,000 sq ft of new employment space.

A new rail connection could be developed from Heywood via Castleton, in addition to the extension of the tram to Middleton.


This will utilise land to the south of the M62 motorway close to junction 20. Proposals for this area are the creation of 900 new homes to the north of the site and around 2,700,000 sq ft of employment space adjacent to the existing Stakehill Industrial Estate.

A new rail station to serve the site at Slattocks is being investigated by TfGM.

Kingsway South

This will utilise land to the south of the M62 motorway close to junction 21. Proposals for this area are the creation of 700 homes, 3,340,000 sq ft of employment space.

A new roundabout at junction 21 to access land from the motorway will be one of the initiatives to help to unlock development potential of the site.

Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of Rochdale Council said: “We now have an opportunity to shape our own destiny using the attributes that we have already.

“We are sending a clear message about scale and ambition that should not be lost on people. We have the right infrastructure and natural surroundings; more so than many other places.

“Manchester's Smart Growth area will create opportunities for people to live and work here, while benefiting from first class connectivity that will enable residents to take advantage of opportunities elsewhere across the city region.”

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