Key GMSF proposals

Your questions answered

What is the draft GMSF?

  • It is a plan that has been jointly prepared by the ten Greater Manchester authorities (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) - the Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • It sets out proposals on how Greater Manchester could be developed over the next 20 years, to make Greater Manchester a better place to live, work, learn and play
  • When it is adopted it will become a statutory planning document for each of the ten districts
  • It will not cover everything and individual districts will still need to produce local plans and local policies to deal with local issues.

What are the key proposals?

  • The creation of around 200,000 new jobs
  • 227,000 new homes
  • Over 4 million square metres of industry and warehousing development
  • Over 2.45 million square metres of office accommodation
  • Identifies key strategic sites to be released from the green belt
  • Identifies key infrastructure required (including transport, schools, recreation land and utility services)
  • Defines a new Greater Manchester green belt.

How much development is proposed in Bury?

  • The creation of up to 25,000 new jobs
  • 12,500 new homes - equating to 625 new homes per annum up to 2035
  • (6% of the Greater Manchester total)
  • Up to 90,000 square metres of office accommodation
  • Around 1 million square metres of industry and warehousing

Why are we doing it?

  • Government requires local authorities to produce plans that identify development sites to meet local housing and employment needs
  • Recent changes to national planning guidance has made it difficult to deal with strategic planning issues at the local level so the proposed GMSF is a means by which the ten GM districts can plan collectively to deal with cross boundary and strategic planning issues
  • The GMSF proposals seek to meet needs in the most sustainable way, to help ensure the conurbation's most important environments are protected.

What if we do not do it?  

  • If we do not have a comprehensive plan then the inevitable result would be 'un-planned' development proposals.
  • Unplanned developments may not be in the most appropriate locations or be at a scale that could deliver the essential services and infrastructure needed to make growth successful
  • This could lead to the possibility of 'planning by appeal', whereby Council refusals of proposals are overturned on appeal because of the lack of planned development land - something that is already happening across the country
  • Also, the government has threatened to put local authorities in 'special measures' if they are not progressing plans and have suggested that they will intervene and write the plans for authorities that are not doing so
  • The government has also threatened to impose financial penalties on authorities that are not progressing plans
  • If Greater Manchester is to meet its employment and housing needs, then it is essential that a comprehensive plan is in place to direct development growth to the most sustainable locations, which will maximise opportunities for investment in necessary infrastructure. The GMSF proposes to do this to help to stimulate the sub-regional economy and create much needed new jobs and new affordable homes.

Consultation now closed

Formal consultation on the first draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework has now ended. The consultation period ran from 31 October 2016 to 16 January 2017.

All comments received during this period will be considered and used to inform how the plan is taken forward.

If you would like to know more about the GMSF or would like to register an interest in receiving further information and updates about the GMSF as they become available, you can do so at Greater Manchester Combined Authority - Greater Manchester Spatial Framework or by emailing


Strategic Planning and Economic Development