Progress continues towards Local Plan consultation

Stockport Liberal Democrats have again made clear their opposition to building houses on Green Belt.

After a pause at the end of summer because of central government uncertainty over housing targets, work has continued to develop a draft Local Plan which delivers better outcomes for Stockport than those presented by the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) – including more housing on previously developed (or ‘brownfield’) sites whilst seeking to protect Green Belt.

An eight-week public consultation will be launched on the 23rd January to give residents the opportunity to have their say and inform the design of the final Local Plan, which councillors will vote on in the summer.

Ahead of that consultation, all groups will receive confidential briefings this week (containing commercially sensitive information) about the approach the council is taking to continued uncertainty over government housing targets. The draft plan will be published before Christmas and will be examined in detail at a special Scrutiny Committee in the new year. After hearing the views of the Scrutiny Committee, the Council Cabinet will formally decide on the way forward.

Speaking today, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council and of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said: “The launch of the consultation is the next major milestone towards developing the right plan for Stockport. This is in the face of continued confusion from the Conservative government, who will not come off the fence and tell us whether their top-down targets are mandatory or whether we can act to protect our Green Belt for future generations.

“We all agree on the need to build the right homes in the right places, but that must not be a license to concrete over the Green Belt. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to protect our Green Belt. It’s part of what makes Stockport the special place it is.”

Cllr Colin MacAlister, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, added: “Since the scale of Green Belt release required under GMSF to meet the government targets became clear back in the autumn of 2016, the Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that we should develop our own plan and tell government what housing Stockport needs and where, not the other way around. The approach we are going to take is novel but we hope will give us the maximum flexibility, whatever the government finally decide to do.

“Councillors in other political groups will be briefed this week ahead of the formal publication of papers before Christmas. I am sure they can be relied upon to respect the confidentiality of those early briefings and avoid any further delay that leaking inaccurate information might cause.”

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