The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has again been delayed. The latest cause is mainly that new official population estimates show slightly slower growth than previously expected. The new date for the report to be published is October this year.
What is most interesting about this is that even a relatively small reduction in demand might mean much lower demand to release green belt. The first draft of the GMSF showed a need for almost 20,000 new homes across Stockport half of which might be met without using the greenbelt.
Cllr Jon Twigge commented, “If the overall reduction was just one in six then given the same total from brownfield sites this would equate to one in three previously earmarked greenbelt homes no longer being needed. In fact, given lower overall requirement and Manchester City being keen to build new apartments in large numbers there might be scope to adjust Stockport’s allocation even lower – perhaps even saving High Lane from substantial building.”
Stockport Liberal Democrats will be asking for more details on these changes as soon as possible.
After lengthy discussion and negotiation with McCarthy and Stone, planning officers are recommending that their plan for 40 new apartments on Commercial Road at the site of the former Royal Oak should be approved.
A strong argument for the plans were the need for housing generally especially given that Stockport’s housing plans are getting older and more likely to be challenged by developers.
Major factors in the negotiation were the loss of the recreational green space that was the bowling green behind the Royal Oak and a lack of affordable homes in the new building. To offset these requirements McCarthy and Stone will be required to pay substantial sums toward facilities at Torkington Park and alternative affordable housing elsewhere.
In the end, the application did not receive many objections from the public and the application will come before the Stepping Hill Area Committee for a recommendation by local councillors on the 10th July and the full planning meeting after that.
With the consultation period now closed, interestingly it appears that only four members of the public have put in objections to the plans while eight people have offered supportive comments.
Some of the major areas of contention with the design that are relevant to a planning decision are:
The physical size of the new building with 40 units – is it out of place or overdevelopment or perhaps much welcomed new homes (that potentially frees up bigger homes as older people downsize)
The loss of the green space, the old bowling green behind the pub. If this is accepted there is a standard national formula for compensation that the developer would have to pay the council to invest in other green space nearby.
More traffic on Commercial Road ! Given the already very heavy traffic on Commercial Road this is worrying but given the average age of residents in McCarthy and Stone developments this might actually add less traffic at busy periods than the previous planning application for a dozen new houses.
Council officers advice will be vital, as to whether the application has met legal requirements, but it is certainly not clear cut and could come down to individual councillor opinions.
Today council officers have written to the current owners of the Royal Oak site to radically clean up the site.
“We have all been trying to get this done properly for months and now the council is finally in a position to formally request a complete clean up”, said Cllr Jon Twigge. “If the site is not cleared in a month then more action will be taken.”
We are still waiting on more news on the McCarthy and Stone development which if passed would probably have meant a faster clean up as they took control of the site.
The full clean up should consist of:
Reglaze all broken windows to the front, rear and sides of the building OR cover all windows, doors and other opening to the building using metal shutters or painted plywood.
Remove all broken down/damaged or derelict motor vehicles being stored on the land.
Remove all fly tipped and other waste from the land and dispose of it at a licensed waste disposal site.
Remove all other extraneous waste and litter from the land and dispose of it at a licenced waste disposal site.
Cut back and remove all overgrown vegetation from the land and dispose of it at a licensed waste disposal site.
The Lib Dems have submitted our response to the first stage of Stockport’s Local Plan consultation.
“At the heart of the Lib Dem response is a two stage approach to house-building across the next 20 years – brownfield in the first years and green belt only later, if at all.
“Major changes in the UK due to Brexit and new transport technologies including driverless cars may mean we never need to release those Green Belt areas that the GMSF proposed to give away forever” said Cllr Jon Twigge.
“Everyone knows we need infrastructure to be in place for new homes, but often it does not happen. The A6 through Hazel Grove is already heavily congested and it can only get worse with a lot more housing before we get a bypass,” Jon added.
For a lot more detail and our reasoning behind the two stage planning you can see the Lib Dem response here.
This is the first of three consultations on the Local Plan. The next stage is for the Council to work up the details of what is being proposed where. That means that we’ll be seeing specific proposals for where homes should be built, along with all the other parts of the plan.
Both the current owner, who eventually got planning permission to build houses, and McCarthy & Stone have confirmed the new situation.
McCarthy & Stone have acquired an interest in the Royal Oak site and will purchase it if they get planning permission for accommodation for older people. You may recognise the name, McCarthy & Stone built Woodgrove Court by Sainsbury in Hazel Grove.
Woodgrove Court, Hazel Grove
Clearly this means that there will be further delays while a new application for planning permission is made. I am most keen to know that the new owners will eventually get the planning permission and build – the last thing we want is another lengthy delay to be all for nothing, so I have contacted Stockport planning officers for any guidance they may have and I hope to speak to McCarthy & Stone soon.
As part of the process the retirement housebuilder is starting a community consultation process – more information soon.
Please let us know your feelings about the changes.
The Council is inviting residents to join the conversation on the Stockport Local Plan, a plan for the future of the borough through to 2035.
There are big challenges and opportunities facing the borough. People are concerned about housing, both in terms of numbers and where they are built. We also know that while Stockport is a well-connected place, our roads are often very congested.
It’s not just about housing, jobs and transport though. People rely on services such as health, education, shops and enjoying our green places and spaces.
The Local Plan will set the rules for development and land uses which will have an impact on the way we live and work in the future.
You can take part in the consultation by coming along to one of our public drop-in events or by responding online.
Stepping Hill Area, Monday 25th September From 6pm to 8.30pm at Hazel Grove Civic Hall, London Road, Stockport, SK7 4DF;
Cheadle Area, Thursday 28th September From 6pm to 8.30pm at Kingsway School, Foxland Road, Stockport, SK8 4QX.
Having received 27,000 responses to the initial consultation the Mayor of Greater Manchester and council leaders have discussed the next steps for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). The first consultation said a total of over 19 thousand new houses are needed in Stockport in the coming 20 years and suggested that around 4,000 be built around High Lane.
High Lane Protests
The timetable is now as follows:
September 2017 – publication of the responses to the initial consultation
Later in 2017 – publication of data and associated sources of information such as population estimates which will help us calculate the requirements for housing and employment. Some of this information isn’t yet available, for example we are waiting for the government to publish its national methodology for calculating housing need, which we expect will now be released in the autumn
Early 2018 – Development of an updated plan
June 2018 – Second draft of GMSF published
Following publication – 12 week public consultation
It won’t come as a surprise to many here in Hazel Grove that our retailers are experiencing some difficulties.
Stockport Council is preparing a new local plan at the moment – you can find out more about this at https://www.stockport.gov.uk/localplan. The purpose of the local plan is to make Stockport and the surrounding areas as prosperous as possible in several ways including health, education, jobs, housing and infrastructure.
You can comment on the local plan issues document on the same page above. (It is a rather fiddly system to use but if you keeping selecting next page through the report you eventually get to the questions. You can then add comments for each question). There will also be opportunities to comment on the full plan later.
Part of the report is about our retail centres with Hazel Grove identified as one of those centres experiencing some difficulties. This is not a surprise with the main A6 through the town an ongoing problem of heavy traffic, noise and pollution – not the best combination for a busy high street.
Most people would agree that taking a lot of the through traffic off the A6 onto a bypass would help a lot – something also covered in the local plan under transport and infrastructure. The bypass is part of the proposed next stage of the Greater Manchester SEMMMS traffic strategy – to continue the new road to the Airport over to Bredbury and the M60. The bypass part of the scheme is a spur off this new proposed road going back to the A6 at Sainsbury’s and therefore allowing a lot of the traffic on the A6 to completely miss the centre of Hazel Grove.
A bigger vision for Stockport is to eventually pedestrianise some of the town centre but that heavily relies on major improvements to other roads and the A6 to Bredbury road, our Hazel Grove bypass, being built too.
There have been rumours recently that the Royal Oak on Commercial road may be up for sale again. The current owner and developer, that has just secured planning permission for houses on the site, have now confirmed that there is substance to the rumours; they are indeed considering offers from other developers for the site. One offer may be for flats in a block similar to those opposite Sainsbury.
Planning conditions associated with the application had already delayed progress at the site but the very good news is that the site will soon be secured with a perimeter fence despite a further possible sale which should mean an end to the litter and vandalism.
The site is now fenced which should stop many people using the site but we have asked the developer if they can make the barrier more substantial to prevent vandalism within the site.