Residents urged to suggest brownfield sites for development
PEOPLE in Stockport are being urged to suggest brownfield sites for future housing development.
It comes after the borough dramatically pulled out of the region’s Greater Manchester Spatial Framework strategy last year.
The council now has until December 2023 to update its local plan which will involve building more than 20,000 new homes by 2038.
Outside the GMSF Stockport will need to deliver around 5,000 extra homes, as it will no longer be able to rely on other areas - such as Manchester and Salford - to help it meet its government-set target.
However, it was the controversy over building on green belt sites including at Heald Green, High Lane and Tangshutt Fields - that ultimately did for the masterplan in Stockport.
And in a bid to avoid a repeat of the same problems - and mitigate the need to develop green spaces - the council has now issued a ‘call for sites.’
Bosses want residents to put forward brownfield sites - previously developed land that is vacant, derelict or underutilised - for potential housing and employment use.
Occupied buildings which do not suit their current use particularly well are also an option.
David Meller, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, made no secret of his frustration when opposition groups voted to take Stockport out of the GMSF.
Like Andy Burnham and council leader Elise Wilson he warned more green belt land would it be at risk outside the masterplan.
But he accepts criticisms that the blueprint was ‘developer-led’ from off were ‘probably quite fair.’
Now he’s hoping residents will step forward and play a key role in helping to shape the borough’s emerging local plan.
He said: “What we are trying to do now with the call for sites is involve residents as much as possible, to give us an idea of the pockets of brownfield we have not considered yet for development.
“We are saying to residents and developers ‘come and tell us if you think there are brownfield sites available that could mitigate against any potential development on the green belt.’
“Now is the time to tell us and we can really consider them in detail and hopefully get them added to a local plan.”
Coun Meller says it is vital the council is made aware of as many potential sites as possible.
“It’s quite an important stage,” he said.
“Ultimately, the more brownfield we can find as part of the call for sites the less likely it will be that we will have to develop on any green belt.”
Coun Meller said he would be surprised if there are any major sites that are not on the council’s radar.
But he added: “It’s an opportunity for residents to come to us and give us a better idea of what may be out there that’s not yet been considered.
“That’s where we are now. We have such a large amount of housing we need to deliver, this is the time we need to find as much [land] as we can that’s not on green belt or green space.”
His comments were echoed by the council’s deputy chief executive Caroline Simpson.
“No one knows Stockport better than the people who live and work in Stockport,” she said.
“I encourage everyone to take part so that we can look at finding positive solutions for the growth needed to provide new homes and places to work for future generations, so that Stockport continues to be a great place to live, work and do business.”
Residents do not have to own a piece of land to tell the council about it.
All sites that are put forward will be assessed for their suitability for alternative uses such as housing or employment.
The information will then feed into the draft Stockport Local Plan, which the council will be seeking people’s views on in the autumn.
For further information and to submit details of a brownfield site, visit www. stockport.gov.uk/ callforsites
The call for sites will close on 23 May 2021.