The next phase of public consultation on Greater Manchester's Places for Everyone plan was approved by Oldham Council’s Cabinet committee earlier tonight (Monday 2 October).
Places for Everyone is the Joint Development Plan of nine Greater Manchester districts which will determine the kind of development that takes place across their boroughs.
Subject to all nine councils approving recommendations to move to the consultation stage - as Oldham has tonight - the public will then have their say over an eight-week period this autumn.
That consultation will give residents the opportunity to comment on a set of recommendations made by the Inspectors examining the plan, to modify the policies and allocations within it. These modifications do not change the overall vision, objectives and spatial strategy of the plan.
The consultation is therefore only on the proposed modifications to the plan, and any representations not relating to those proposed modifications will not be considered.
Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “We know Oldham needs more homes, and quality homes of all sizes and affordability, if more people are to live, work and raise their families here. We're also absolutely committed to building on previously-developed land - also known as brownfield land - wherever we can.
“Our recently announced partnership with Muse will help us to achieve that, and will see 2,000 homes built on previously developed sites in the town centre including the former leisure centre and the Civic Centre when it is vacated by staff moving into Spindles. Other schemes on brownfield land are also in progress, including 150 homes at Southlink, Oldham Mumps.
“If we are to tackle the housing crisis, we also need to build the right type of homes to help people get their first foot on the property ladder, downsize in older age or buy their next family home.
“Places for Everyone sets out how we’ll build the much-needed quality, affordable homes Oldham desperately needs and shows how we’ll create jobs and vibrant neighbourhoods so that our town and future generations can get on and do well.”
Inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State (Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) examined Places for Everyone during public hearing sessions between November 2022 and July 2023.
They have now published a set of modifications to make the plan sound and legally compliant.
These include proposing to change the plan period from 2020-2037 to 2022-2039 to ensure that it has a minimum 15-year period from the anticipated date of adoption.
Modifications to Oldham’s allocations include relatively minor boundary changes to the allocations at Broadbent Moss and South of Rosary Road.
The residential capacity at Chew Brook Vale has been increased from around 90 to around 138 homes and the amount of commercial, leisure and retail facilities reduced by 3,000 sqm.
Modifications to include the need for an infrastructure phasing and delivery strategy are also recommended for a number of allocations. These modifications are intended to ensure that developers plan their development proposals with full consideration to what infrastructure will be needed and at what stage of development.
We also proposed to add an area of land behind Denshaw Village Hall into the green belt – however the Inspectors say that it doesn’t meet the test for exceptional circumstances and should be removed from the plan.
Cllr Elaine Taylor, Cabinet member for Housing and Licensing, said: “The Government has set Oldham a housing target of 680 new homes a year. We have repeatedly challenged this figure, but it remains unchanged.
“Places for Everyone identifies what land could be developed for homes and workspaces over the next 15 years – without it, all our open spaces are up for grabs because there’s no plan currently in place.
"It is normal for the initial outcome of a local plan examination to be that the inspectors recommend main modifications, where necessary. However, the overall vision of the plan remains the same.
“I encourage residents to take a look at the proposed modifications and have their say on them when the consultation opens.”
For more information, visit www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk