GMSF is no more, leaders agree to a plan of nine without Stockport

Date published: 11 December 2020

Greater Manchester leaders have confirmed that the latest version of the regional spatial framework is dead after Stockport rejected the long-delayed plans.

The remaining nine boroughs will now pursue a new masterplan to try and salvage their vision for providing jobs and housing across the city-region by 2037.

Several councils postponed votes on the GMSF after Stockport initially deferred their decision before opposition groups rose up to vote against it on 3 December.

Development of the green belt, as well as the potential impact on traffic and local services, was ‘too high a price to pay’ according to one councillor.

Stockport was described as a ‘prime beneficiary’ of the GMSF, which would have seen 4,862 homes required in the borough to be built in neighbouring areas under the plan.

The council must now draw up a new local plan that will need to take this demand into account, and there are concerns that more of the borough’s green belt will be at the mercy of developers.

Council leader Councillor Elise Wilson has reiterated that Stockport remains a ‘committed member’ of the combined authority and would continue to support other joint projects.

But the Greater Manchester executive board heard that a joint development plan for the region was still needed, with leaders asked to support a ‘plan of nine’.

Mayor Andy Burnham, speaking at the meeting on Friday, said: “Though it is difficult to lose one of the 10, it nevertheless holds that the logic of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, as was, remains.”

Planning regulations allow for a joint plan like the GMSF to continue even after a local authority withdraws so long as it has ‘substantially the same effect’ on the remaining councils as the original plan.

This means that the combined authority’s plan to have a greater control on what land is suitable for different kinds of development – first mooted in 2016 – will be delayed once more.

Despite this Salford city mayor and council leader Paul Dennett said: “The rationale for the development of a joint development plan remains.

 ”This is integral to our recovery plan from Covid-19, to sustain and create new jobs and to lead the way in terms of that green economic recovery, and importantly to continue our agenda to avoid unplanned development within the city-region.

“Development by appeal can cost local authorities dearly if they don’t’ ensure they have their five-year land supply that meets housing needs.”

The recommendation to pursue a new joint plan was approved by the leaders of Salford, Manchester, Trafford, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton and Wigan.

A joint committee with delegated authority to coordinate and shape the new plan will be set up on behalf of the local authorities.

Niall Griffiths, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online