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Press release: CPRE to challenge the scale of growth planned for Greater Manchester and associated Green Belt loss

The Campaign to Protect Rural England have calculated that the level of growth proposed in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework represents the equivalent of another City of Manchester being built in the next 20 years.

Whilst CPRE is supportive of a Greater Manchester Strategic Framework to steer sustainable development over the next two decades, the scale of development proposed appears far too high. CPRE will progress an independent review of the figures, in order to challenge them if found to be based on overly ambitious growth assumptions.

CPRE wants the natural environment to be protected and enhanced as new development comes forward. It hopes that a renaissance of the urban area will transform the many vacant and neglected former factory sites, commonly called brownfield land, in advance of needlessly bulldozing the conurbations beloved and dwindling green spaces.

The draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will come out for public consultation on 31st October with a closing deadline of 23rd December. Development is to be targeted at six key areas including the Northern Gateway (Heywood, North Bury employment area), Western Gateway- Carrington, Port Salford, Eastern Gateway, M61 Corridor, East Lancs Road – Wigan, M6 Corridor, and a further twenty-five or so, relatively minor, sites are dotted around the ten authorities. Seventy per cent of development will be on brownfield land but 4,900 hectares of Green Belt land will be lost.

The Lancashire and Cheshire branches of the Campaign to Protect Rural England along with the Friends of the Peak District will consider the draft document try to ensure growth in the Greater Manchester is well-planned and that rural areas are protected and their importance for health and well-being are properly considered.

Jackie Copley, Planning Manager for CPRE Lancashire Branch, said:

“The GMSF is looking to accommodate land for some 200,000 jobs and provide over 227,000 new homes. Ten million square metres of employment space is being planned, equating to a density of more than fifty square metres per job. This seems very high.

“Of course we want Greater Manchester to prosper, but the cost of growth must not be to unnecessarily sacrifice our valuable natural assets.

“We intend to challenge the figures if too much development is being planned, and if too much development is being be targeted on the countryside rather than on existing brownfield sites, which we know exist.”

“The amount of development targeted on brownfield land may appear high at 70%, but this compares unfavourably with previous targets of the Regional Spatial Strategy when authorities had targets of between 95% and 85% and successfully achieved them.”

“Sustainable development principles must underpin the Framework and full recognition must be given of the value of green spaces around, and within, our towns to ensure a ‘healthy and prosperous’ future for all.”

CPRE advocates ‘smart growth’ and the reuse of brownfield land for development in advance of ‘unnecessary’ countryside loss. Smart growth relies on development being focused on good town and planning principles to achieve sustainable development. A brownfield first approach is essential. Adequate infrastructure and investment on sustainable travel modes is very important to reduce our demands for energy and waste.

CPRE supports ‘needed’ new development but wants to see a sustainable approach applied with ecological and planning designations, such as Best and Most Versatile farmland protected for future generations.

A new CPRE urban network is focusing on how best to work with new decision making structures of combined authorities, local enterprise partnerships and appointed mayors to seek the best outcomes for the countryside as growth of the sub-regions is planned.

CPRE will be working with residents and other interests across Greater Manchester to effectively engage on the draft GMSF to best protect beloved local countryside and urban green space.


For further information contact Jackie Copley, CPRE Lancashire Planning Manager on 07718 070750 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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