CPRE response: Manchester Issues and Options Local Plan

1st May 2020

CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester is supportive of Manchester’s aim to become a zero-carbon city.

We responded to the Manchester City Council Issues and Options Local Plan Consultation.  We recognise that an up to date adopted plan is the best way of preventing harmful development of our countryside and greenspace.

Broadly, we are supportive of the overall strategic aim of achieving the target of a zero-carbon city by 2038, which is laudable.  It will help keep Manchester in a premier world-class category, by leading the way for development in the future that avoids greenhouse gas emissions.  We highlighted that investing in a greener integrated public transport system, to serve the travel to work area, including rural parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire is very important to this aim.  We hope it will help to tackle ‘Transport Deserts’ as identified recently in CPRE research (see links in the document below). We did however recommend that the assumed growth of Manchester Airport, and delivery of HS2, ought to be reviewed due to the harm on Green Belt purpose, their impact on the 6th Climate Budget, and in light of the recent Heathrow decision.

Our two key areas of criticism concerned the excessive housing requirement, and the omission of any reference of Green Belt protection.  Previously we showed that there are flaws in the housing evidence base of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority leading to an additional +15% of housing, this is on top of excessive economic growth rates.  We have repeatedly told Government that it’s Standard Method and reliance of out of date ONS 2014 growth data is harmful as it leads to development being pushed to areas that are already over-heating, irrespective of environmental capacity.  We are pleased the Government appears to have listened, as it has announced the standard method is to be reviewed in the forthcoming Planning White Paper.  The lack of reference to Green Belt was very disappointing.  There are four large swathes of Green Belt incorporating Heaton Park in to the north, Clayton Vale in the east, and Chorlton Ees to East Disdbury and land adjacent to Manchester Airport in the south of Manchester.  The Council has a statutory responsibility to set out in its Local Plan polices to enhance access and protect the designation that principally keeps land permanently open for five laudable purposes.

We hope the planners will listen, and we shall keep an eye on the progression of the document through to adoption.

Becca Nelson
Quernmore landscape