Development plan needs 'radical re-write', says Burnham

GM mayoral candidate Andy Burnham MP
GM mayoral candidate Andy Burnham MP
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Mayoral candidate Andy Burnham has called for substantial changes to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

The first draft of the controversial plan is out to public consultation and proposes several sites across the borough for housing and economic development.

The proposed development sites in the borough are marked in purple

The proposed development sites in the borough are marked in purple

Mr Burnham, the Leigh MP and Labour hopeful for GM mayor, said efforts should be made to deliver "no net loss of green belt" in future drafts.

He said on Thursday: "I believe that the current plan needs to be subject to a radical re-write that results in a substantial reduction in loss of green belt.

"Whilst I support the commitment set out in the draft GMSF to release the minimum amount of green belt to meet our need sustainably, I would go further and propose that we consider the aim of no net loss of green belt. While this might be difficult to achieve, we should aim to get as close to is as we possibly can.

"To that end, further work needs to be done on the designation of new areas as green belt to replace any that may need to be lost.

"In conclusion, I believe we need to see a plan that is more balanced in terms of the jobs and homes it seeks to deliver and more ambitious for the future of Greater Manchester."

Residents' groups staged a protest about the GMSF plans outside the town hall on Wednesday night as borough councillors gathered for the first meeting of 2017.

Wigan borough would gain around 25,000 homes and 15,000 jobs by 2035, council bosses have said.

The public consultation closes on January 16.

Mr Burnham added: "Over the coming years, our city-region has the opportunity to deliver on our full economic potential. With the right plan, we will be able to ensure that the investment and growth in houses and jobs happens in a way which makes Greater Manchester an even better place to live, work and visit.

"But I am clear it will only succeed if it can command a broad consensus of support amongst the public and communities of Greater Manchester. That is why significant changes are needed to the draft framework to show that we are listening to their concerns."