Glossop Advertiser - - Front Page - Jen­nifer Wil­liams

GREATER Manch­ester’s con­tro­ver­sial 20-year de­vel­op­ment master­plan could be de­layed by well over a year so coun­cil bosses can go back to the draw­ing board.

A rift has emerged among town hall chiefs and new mayor Andy Burn­ham over how quickly to plough ahead with the Greater Manch­ester Spa­tial Frame­work (GMSF).

Of­fi­cials are eye­ing up a ma­jor re­write fol­low­ing Mr Burn­ham’s man­i­festo pledges and pub­lic con­cern over green belt.

One op­tion un­der dis­cus­sion is to aim for it to come into force in spring 2020, rather than the De­cem­ber 2018 date orig­i­nally in­tended. But some coun­cil bosses are op­posed to the de­lay, be­liev­ing it will harm in­vestor con­fi­dence in the re­gion.

The GMSF – the re­gion’s long term de­vel­op­ment blue­print – caused a storm when it was un­veiled in draft form last year due to the dozens of green­field and green belt sites ear­marked for new hous­ing and busi­nesses.

Coun­cil chiefs now be­lieve it was not clear enough in its vi­sion, while also ac­cept­ing some green sites will need to be re­moved due to pub­lic op­po­si­tion.

A pri­vate meet­ing of com­bined au­thor­ity lead­ers re­cently saw three new po­ten­tial timeta­bles put for­ward for the plan so it can be rewrit­ten.

One op­tion would in­volve con­sult­ing on a new draft this au­tumn, a cou­ple of months later than orig­i­nally planned, be­fore sub­mit­ting to gov­ern­ment a year later in the hope of adopt­ing it in Septem­ber 2019.

A sec­ond op­tion, un­der­stood to have been favoured by Mr Burn­ham, would put the con­sul­ta­tion back un­til early next year.

That raised ques­tions among lead­ers over the im­pact on the lo­cal elec­tions next May, how­ever, while some coun­cils – in­clud­ing Old­ham and Stock­port – could need longer than oth­ers to re­visit their own par­tic­u­larly con­tro­ver­sial pro­pos­als.

As a re­sult a third, even longer de­lay, putting back con­sul­ta­tion un­til next June, is also on the ta­ble.

That would mean no fi­nal draft would be pub­lished un­til at least De­cem­ber 2018 – and noth­ing for- mally adopted un­til spring 2020.

Sources close to Mr Burn­ham said no de­ci­sion had been reached on the timetable fol­low­ing the meet­ing, but stressed ex­tra time was needed to get it right.

Last year’s con­sul­ta­tion on the first draft drew 25,000 re­sponses, huge num­bers of which op­posed build­ing on the green belt.

Mr Burn­ham’s of­fice also be­lieves the first ver­sion paid too lit­tle at­ten­tion to build­ing high­den­sity hous­ing in town cen­tres. And he be­lieves the plan does not dove­tail clearly enough with the re­gion’s long-term vi­sions for trans­port and af­ford­able hous­ing.

De­lay­ing the plan to meet the mayor’s prom­ises will raise ques­tions over why last year’s con­sul­ta­tion, which cost at least £80,000, was not put off un­til af­ter he was elected.

It is un­der­stood around half the re­gion’s coun­cil bosses do not want to see the plan de­layed.

Greater Manch­ester Mayor Andy Burn­ham

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