Speaking after the publication of the latest version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and the imminent launch of a further period of public consultation, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Stockport Council, said: “Liberal Democrats have long fought to protect the greenbelt and, in Stockport, we rejected the original GM Spatial Framework proposals which would have resulted in great swathes of land being concreted over. We accept the need to build the right homes in the right places.
“We continue to believe that a “brownfield first” approach should be taken and that any house building programme needs to be accompanied by the right transport improvements as well as healthcare and education facilities and that this needs to be delivered before any large scale house building commences. “To deliver anything like fifteen thousand new homes in Stockport would cause an intolerable demand on our roads and public transport unless it is accompanied by substantial transport investment including Metrolink, tram-trains, new railway stations at Cheadle and Stanley Green, improvements to the bus network and delivery of the M60 to A6 relief road, joining up with the new A6 to Manchester Airport relief road.
“It is disappointing that the Conservative government have chosen to direct local authorities to ignore the latest independent, national population projections and are forcing on local residents a centralised, artificial target which calls for a level of housebuilding which is clearly undeliverable.”
Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of Stockport’s Liberal Democrats and Chair of the GM Housing, Planning and Environment Scrutiny Committee, said: “We strongly encourage all residents to participate in the consultation which is due to start in the coming weeks. Whilst the last consultation was criticised for not listening to local people, we hope the Labour-run GM Combined Authority has learnt lessons and the next consultation will be more robust. We hope as many people as possible will make their views known.
“We recognise improvements to the Spatial Framework proposals following the criticisms we levelled against the earlier version, concerns still remain. Overall, the number of houses to be delivered is smaller and the impact on the greenbelt overall is lower especially as there will be significant development in Stockport town centre. However there is still scope for improvement. “We will continue to fight for the best housing plan for Stockport.”
“We will continue to fight for the best housing plan for Stockport.”