Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

Greater Manchester unveils ambitious vision for new homes, green spaces and revitalised town centres

  • Leaders outline suite of plans and projects to build the right homes in the right places, rejuvenate green spaces and reshape town centres

  • Places for Everyone plan of nine Greater Manchester councils at the heart of proposals

  • New plan reduces green belt impact by 60 per cent compared to 2016 Spatial Framework, and 90 per cent of new homes will be in urban areas

  • Progress underway on a vision for 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent, a nature recovery plan, and consideration of more Mayoral Development Corporations

  • Places for Everyone to be scrutinised by elected members across the nine boroughs, and if approved will go to public consultation for eight weeks, beginning in August

GREATER Manchester Leaders have unveiled an ambitious vision for new homes, enhanced natural assets and revitalised town centres.

The Places for Everyone plan of nine Greater Manchester districts – a long-term plan for jobs, new homes, and sustainable growth – has been published ahead of a meeting next week and a proposed public consultation this summer. 

The plan will be presented at a joint committee meeting on 20 July before being scrutinised by elected members across Greater Manchester. The aim will be to bring the plan to public consultation in August.

Places for Everyone sits alongside a host of bold initiatives that are being rolled out across the city-region, including:

  • Green Spaces Fund

    • Green spaces are a vital asset for local communities, and throughout the pandemic they have provided real benefits for residents’ health and wellbeing. Greater Manchester will work to bring forward plans for a Green Spaces Fund to help every community across the city-region improve and enhance local pocket parks and public green spaces.

  • Green space enhancement work

    • Steps are being taken across Greater Manchester to transform and revitalise green spaces, bringing them back into public use for the benefit of local communities. Manchester city centre will see the creation of its first public park in the Mayfield development, spanning 6.5 acres of lawns, meadows and biodiversity areas. In the Victoria North regeneration programme, a 113-acre River Park will connect the seven emerging neighbourhoods of the project and open up the Irk River Valley for the first time in decades through high-quality public park and green space, along with new walking and cycling routes to encourage active travel. Salford is now home to the 154-acre RHS Bridgewater, the country’s fifth national garden, offering local residents free weekly access and supporting volunteering, community health and wellbeing, and the local economy. In Oldham, Northern Roots is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park, supported by Greater Manchester’s Environment Fund and Local Nature Recovery Strategy.

  • 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent

    • As part of Greater Manchester’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy, Leaders will publish a plan to deliver 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent. A new commitment to work to radically improve temporary accommodation standards will also focus on families experiencing homelessness.

  • Mills Strategy

    • Textile Mills are a defining feature of the Greater Manchester landscape. Their future is at risk unless new uses can be found. With the support of Historic England, Oldham Council has produced a Textile Mills Strategy which highlights the potential role that mills could play in providing high quality housing and employment opportunities, while taking into account the viability challenges that exist.

  • Town Centre Mayoral Development Corporations

    • Mayoral Development Corporations (MDC) are statutory bodies created to bring forward the regeneration of an area, providing a blueprint for how devolved powers can help deliver new housing, sustainability, public transport infrastructure, and innovation at a local level. Building on the success of the Stockport MDC launched in 2019, the first in the country to focus on a town centre location, further work is under way to identify opportunities to support regeneration in other districts.

  • Nature Recovery

    • Greater Manchester will shortly publish a report from its recent Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) pilot with Natural England. The pilot sets out the priorities and opportunities to tackle the biodiversity emergency and enhance the natural environment, both for nature and for wider benefits to our environment, economy and society. It also sets out the practical actions to needed to deliver on this.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is setting out a clear and ambitious vision for new homes, enhanced green spaces and revitalised town centres. Linked to our plans for a zero-carbon future and good jobs and growth, this vision represents a major milestone as our city-region maps out its recovery from the pandemic.

“If we want to build back from the pandemic in a way that brings everyone with us and strikes at the root of inequality, we need a plan that strengthens our economy and our society against future challenges, and puts us in the best position to take advantage of new opportunities.

“We are already using our unique devolved powers and transforming our towns and cities so that they’re fit for the future. Through the pioneering Mayoral Development Corporation in Stockport and Oldham’s Mills Strategy, work is well under way to transform our urban centres by delivering good quality homes, sustainable public transport, and regeneration of the kind that will genuinely ‘level up’ our places.

“By building more low-carbon homes and equipping people with new retrofitting skills, we can also help to meet our goal of carbon neutrality by 2038 and lay the foundations for investment in green industry and innovation.

“We can no longer accept that the car is always king, and Places for Everyone will set out where inclusive growth can take place in areas well connected by an accessible, affordable, high-quality public transport infrastructure – our Bee Network.

“We all share the same priorities: we want to see better homes, better jobs, and better transport for everyone in our city-region. Everything we do is driven by that vision, and whether through Places for Everyone or other projects like the Homelessness Prevention Strategy and our plans for a world-class integrated transport network, we will continue to work together right across Greater Manchester to create a place where we can all succeed.”

Places for Everyone

Places for Everyone, a plan of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan councils, will determine the kind of development that takes place across the city-region, maximising the use of brownfield land and urban spaces while protecting green belt land from the risk of unplanned development. It will also ensure all new developments are sustainably integrated into Greater Manchester’s transport network or joined by new infrastructure.

The plan is the result of a process that began with the publication of the first Greater Manchester Spatial Framework in 2016, and the feedback received from residents, businesses and community organisations.

Since then, work has been carried out to reduce the number of proposed sites and the amount of green belt take within sites, and to propose new green belt additions – the result being a 60 per cent reduction in the impact on green belt land compared to the 2016 plan. Ninety per cent of housing allocations in the new plan are in urban areas. Greater Manchester has already committed £97m from the Government’s Brownfield Housing Fund to unlock brownfield sites for development. In total, 57 schemes have been identified to benefit from two tranches of the funding allocation, and a minimum of 5,500 homes on brownfield will be delivered through this funding, including more than 2,000 affordable homes.

Places for Everyone is a key component of a shared vision to drive sustainable growth and regeneration across all parts of Greater Manchester, which also includes the Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) in Stockport to support the transformation of the town centre, and plans to explore the potential for similar schemes in other districts, including in Middleton. Through these plans, Greater Manchester leaders will continue to promote investment and economic opportunities in towns and cities throughout the city-region, including enhanced growth in the North of the conurbation.

Places for Everyone will also help to create the conditions for achieving Greater Manchester’s wider ambitions to tackle inequality and address crises in housing, jobs and skills. Earlier this year the Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy set a target of delivering 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent, while initiatives like the new Retrofitting Task Force will bring together partners from local and national government, investors, education providers and energy suppliers to address the challenge of making homes and buildings energy efficient and fit for a low-carbon future.

Mayor Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford and GMCA Lead for Housing and Homelessness, said: “Now is the time to be moving forward with an ambitious vision for a recovery focused on delivering good-quality affordable homes, creating good jobs, and boosting our transition to a low-carbon economy. This is the right thing to do– not just to drive our economic recovery from the pandemic, but to empower the work we’re doing to tackle inequalities and build a better future for everyone in Greater Manchester.

“We are absolutely committed to sustainable development that makes the best possible use of space and protects our places from the threat of unplanned development. Ninety per cent of the new homes in this plan will be located across urban areas, meaning growth can happen in places where we want it, and not be dictated by planning appeals.

“Through close cooperation and collaboration with Stockport, and by working together to share expertise and resources, we can support economic growth, bring in new investment, and promote sustainable development in all areas of Greater Manchester.”


Places for Everyone has been developed alongside with Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) Five-Year Transport Delivery Plan, ensuring that new residential and commercial sites are supported by good transport infrastructure, including Metrolink stops and active travel routes.

Partners across Greater Manchester are also exploring how they can combine to help realise the full potential of the Northern Gateway, supported by a clear plan for transport connectivity that will open up future opportunities to adjacent areas of Bury, Middleton and Rochdale.

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan, approved by Leaders in June, will tackle air pollution by introducing a Clean Air Zone across the whole of Greater Manchester. More than £120m in government funding has been secured to help businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles, ensuring that the city-region can bring down illegal levels of pollution while ensuring local businesses and traders receive fair financial support.

Active travel infrastructure has been critical to many people as a way of staying active and getting around throughout the pandemic, and will be integral to enabling the city-region to meet the 2038 target of carbon neutrality. Greater Manchester has committed to delivering 100km of high-quality cycling and walking routes by December 2021 as part of the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. There are currently 108 schemes in the development pipeline with a combined value of more than £500 million.

A delivery partner has also been selected to design, install and operate a 24/7 public cycle hire scheme comprising an initial 1,500 bikes and e-bikes at more than 200 new cycle hire docking stations in Manchester, Trafford and Salford.

Public consultation

After being presented to the joint committee on 20 July, the plan will be shared with elected members from the nine councils for review and to approve for publication between 20 July and 5 August.

If passed by all councils, the plan would go out to an eight-week public consultation beginning on 9 August and ending on 3 October, during which people will be asked whether the plan, and the evidence on which it is based, meet what are called “tests of soundness”. These include whether the plan promotes economic growth and makes provision for development; whether it is backed up by robust evidence; whether the plans are based on effective and achievable policies; and whether they are consistent with policies at a national level.

Members of the public will also be asked whether the nine local authorities have provided the necessary evidence and complied with the requirements arising from the duty to co-operate, which places a duty on local planning authorities to engage constructively with one another to maximise the effectiveness of local plans.

This latest plan has been produced using the evidence from the drafts of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, as well as the views that were gathered as part of the previous consultations.

The first draft of the Spatial Framework, published in 2016, saw more than 27,000 residents in Greater Manchester provide feedback. In the second round of consultation in 2019, more than 17,500 people, businesses and community organisations responded.

Following the consultation, the plan would then be submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in January 2022.

The Places for Everyone plan was developed after Stockport Council decided last year to withdraw from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. Stockport will now prepare its own local plan for new homes and sustainable development, while all local authority areas will continue to work collectively on a range of shared objectives and strategies including the Local Industrial Strategy, the Five-Year Environment Plan, and the 2040 Transport Strategy.

Article Published: 12/07/2021 12:56 PM