Prioritising brownfield land

Your questions answered

How much brownfield land is there across Greater Manchester?

  • The ten authorities have identified land within the existing urban area to accommodate over 160,000 of the 227,000 new homes required
  • This equates to around 72% of the housing required over the next 20 years
  • Additionally, land within the existing urban area has been identified to accommodate around 2.5 million square metres of the 4 million square metres of industrial land needed - (63%)
  • Therefore, the vast majority of the growth planned in the GMSF will be on brownfield sites, within the existing urban area
  • Priority will be given to delivering these brownfield sites, many of which already have planning permission and are under construction
  • However, in simple numerical terms, there is not enough vacant and available brownfield land across Greater Manchester to deliver the housing and employment needs for the next 20 years (shortfall of land for around 65,000 new homes and 1.5 million square metres of industrial floorspace).

How much brownfield land is there across Bury?

  • In Bury, sufficient land has been identified within the existing urban area to accommodate around 4,500 new homes (36% of need)
  • Around 2,200 of this supply already has planning permission, and around 850 units are on sites that have commenced development (e.g. development at Dumers Lane)
  • A further 2,300 is on sites that have been identified as suitable for housing, some of which have previously had planning permission for housing (e.g. land at Kersal Vale)
  • Land for around 50,000 square metres of industrial land has been identified within the urban area, some of which already has planning permission and is starting to come forward
  • This supply is the lowest across Greater Manchester and severely restricts the potential to create new jobs in the borough or attract inward investment. It also restricts the ability of local firms to expand or re-locate to modern premises within the borough
  • Bury has the lowest level of available brownfield land for both housing and employment across the conurbation, which is significantly insufficient to meet the borough's housing and employment needs for the next 20 years (shortfall for around 8,000 new homes and much needed quality employment land).

What are districts doing to deliver brownfield sites?

  • All ten authorities are continuing to work hard to deliver brownfield sites as a priority to aid urban regeneration and minimise the amount of green field land needed to meet the government's targets
  • The vast majority of land that has been developed in Greater Manchester in recent years has been on brownfield land
  • This has led to considerable regeneration of areas in the conurbation, including in and around the city centre and in East Manchester
  • There is a commitment across Greater Manchester to continue this
  • Most of the sites that have planning permission or have been identified as having potential for development will come forward without intervention
  • However, there are difficult sites that are not currently viable, where some intervention will be required and the ten districts are working collectively to explore the best means to intervene and continue the successful regeneration of our communities

What is the Council doing to deliver Brownfield Sites in Bury?

  • Bury Council remains committed to prioritising the development of brownfield land
  • The Council has been successful in delivering over 95% of its development over the past ten years on brownfield land.
  • As a result, Bury does not have the large swathes of brownfield land that exists in other districts and has the lowest amount of available brownfield land across Greater Manchester
  • However, there is a handful of large brownfield sites in the borough that remain undeveloped and the Council is working to facilitate their development by:
    • working with landowners to identify site constraints and ways in which these can be overcome;
    • working with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to bid for funding to bring strategic sites forward (e.g. HCA recently purchased the East Lancashire Paper Mill site in Radcliffe and is working with Bury Council to secure a new planning consent);
    • identifying opportunities for development on council owned sites;
    • developing masterplans/briefs to promote development opportunities; and
    • working with housing associations and the HCA to bring empty properties back into use for affordable housing (e.g. using the s106 commuted sums to bring derelict houses back into use)
  • Bury Council is keen to ensure that developers build out sites once planning permission has been granted and do not simply 'bank their land'. The Council has written to the Government's Planning Minister on this point and will continue to lobby Government for more powers to force developers to build their sites out.

What about all the empty properties in Bury?

  • In Bury, there were a total of 1,639 properties (April 2016) that were deemed to be long term empty properties (over 6 months) - 257 of these are second homes
  • The Council has an Empty Property Strategy aimed at tackling the problems that the long term properties can bring and have been successful in helping to bring many of these properties back into use
  • The Council continues to work with property owners to identify the best way to bring properties back into use and to use our powers to take action where appropriate
  • It is important to note that the return of these empty properties to a useful purpose does not count towards the objectively assessed need (i.e. if all the borough's empty properties were occupied, there would still be a need to build 12,500 new 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