Up to 25,000 jobs and more than 12,000 new homes could be created in Bury under a new development plan for Greater Manchester.
If the proposals go ahead, it would mean the creation of a major employment generating site near Pilsworth covering an area bigger than Trafford Park.
This is just one of the proposals being considered by Bury and the nine other Greater Manchester councils under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). This is a strategic planning guide to meeting the region’s employment and housing needs for the next 20 years and beyond.
Across Greater Manchester, it is estimated that an additional 200,000 new jobs would be created by 2035 and around 225,000 new homes would be needed to meet demand. The GMSF aims to ensure that new homes and jobs are provided in the right places with the transport and other infrastructure (roads, rail, Metrolink, schools, health care) to support the communities and manage growth sustainably.
The majority of proposed development within the Framework is on brownfield land. However, for Greater Manchester to build the number of homes and develop the amount of business space that will be required in the future, a small percentage of proposed development will be on land within the existing greenbelt, as outlined in the draft plan.
This draft plan will be considered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on 28 October for approval to begin an eight-week consultation period from 31 October to 23 December. All stakeholders, including members of the public, are encouraged to have a say. Views submitted will be considered and a final draft will be published in 2017 when another period of consultation will be held.
As part of the consultation, Bury Council will be holding a ‘drop-in’ session at the Elizabethan Suite on Monday 21 November (12-7pm) where the plans will be on show.
Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “It is vital that employment sites are identified to provide decent jobs for our growing population, which the Government estimates will increase by 20,000 by the year 2035.
“Taking a strategic approach allows us to look to developers to meet their share of the costs of infrastructure requirements, unlike the current piecemeal approach.
“In drawing up Bury’s proposals, we have been at pains to avoid urban sprawl and to avoid damaging the borough's environmental attractiveness.
“The proposed sites have been carefully assessed against important criteria, such as flood risk, and not all of the employment land or 12,000 homes will be built immediately. Individual planning applications will still have to considered and approved by the council’s planning committee, and it will take many years for these to come forward.
“Individual sites will not be fully developed, as there will be considerable green space left within them and in fact some sites will open up more green space to public use.”
The main proposed employment site:
The largest site that is proposed to be released from the Green Belt in Bury is on the eastern side of the M66, which is proposed to be a new employment site of national significance, creating thousands of new jobs within the borough. The site already has excellent motorway links and will need significant investment to improve public transport links to ensure that the new jobs are accessible by the local workforce.
Cllr Shori said: “The potential economic benefits and employment opportunities of this site are a complete game-changer. Bury has one of the highest out-commuting rates in Greater Manchester because of the lack of local employment opportunities and this site will provide quality jobs that will reduce the need for our local workforce to out-commute. It will significantly improve the life chances of our residents, helping to address the inequalities that exist within the borough.
“Clearly, there will need to be improvements to the local infrastructure and we will be working hard with landowners, developers and public bodies to ensure that this site remains successful in years to come, rivalling other GM employment hotspots like Trafford Park.”
The Government’s population projections mean that more than 12,000 new homes will be needed across Bury over the next two decades, much of which can only be accommodated on land currently designated as Green Belt. This figure represents around 5% of the total proposed housing target in Greater Manchester that is likely to emerge through the draft GMSF plan. The largest of the sites proposed is the land around Elton Reservoir, where some 3,500 new homes are proposed. Large schemes are also proposed in Walshaw and Simister.
Cllr Sandra Walmsley, cabinet member for strategic housing and support services, said: “There clearly is a need to build more homes, including affordable homes, to meet the needs of a growing population that is living longer. The Government’s housing targets are a challenge and the only way that we can meet these is to provide new homes on Green Belt land.
“We have consistently said that we want to prioritise the development of brownfield land and the council is working hard to get our borough’s vacant sites developed. However, the powers available to us to force landowners and developers to build on these sites is limited, and the council is lobbying the Government for powers to tackle those who fail to develop land within a reasonable timeframe.”
She added: “The draft GMSF has been prepared in line with the Government’s national planning policy, which has increased the emphasis on plans meeting the full identified development needs. The only way that this can be done in Greater Manchester and Bury is to release some Green Belt land. However, the council will seek to ensure that where land is released for development that the sites retain large areas of open land for recreation purposes and to protect local ecology.
“It is inevitable that there will be significant challenges to the sites that the draft GMSF proposes. This will come from local residents, who may want to retain particular areas as Green Belt. Challenge will also come from the numerous landowners and developers who have put forward a further 500 hectares of land for development in the borough, which the plan proposes should instead be retained for Green Belt.
“Having said that, the proposals are also likely to be welcomed by others, including residents who would like to work in quality jobs within the borough but are currently restricted by a lack of available job opportunities and those who are struggling to find an affordable home.”
Around 500 hectares of Green Belt land was also suggested by landowners and developers but it is not proposed that these areas are released in the plan.
The draft GMSF plan and supporting documents will be available to view at
Additional information can be found at - https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/GMSF
Sign up to receive further details - http://gmsf-consult.objective.co.uk/portal
Note to editors:
The detailed employment and housing sites proposed for Bury are as follows:
- Northern Gateway (extension of Pilsworth to the East of the M66)
The largest site proposed to be released in Bury forms part of a number of sites in Bury, Rochdale and Oldham that are collectively referred to as the Northern Gateway. Around 490 hectares is proposed to be released within Bury, with the potential to generate significant levels of investment and create around 17,000 high quality jobs in a range of sectors including advanced manufacturing and logistics. These new job opportunities will dramatically improve the life chances of local residents, reduce issues associated with deprivation and have environmental benefits in terms of reducing the number and length of journeys to work for Bury residents that currently commute outside the borough to work.
- Gin Hall
As part of a wider release of 30 hectares of land in the Baldingstone area, the proposal is to deliver new, high quality employment development on a site at Gin Hall. This site has been proposed for employment development previously through Bury’s own local plans to reflect its high quality location on Junction 1 of the M66. The site is considered to have the potential to generate around 800 new jobs in a location that would be accessible to some of Bury’s most deprived communities.
- Elton Reservoir Area
This area includes a number of significant parcels of land covering a total area of 87.49 ha. on land around Elton Reservoir and to the east of Starling Road. The sites within this area together represent a significant opportunity to create a new large-scale residential community in a parkland setting. The area is a sustainable location and has the potential to provide around 3,500 new homes together with a significant amount of affordable housing and necessary supporting infrastructure and facilities.
- South of the M62
It is proposed to release 255 hectares of land in Bury around Simister Island to the south of the M62 extending eastwards from Prestwich towards the north of Middleton. In total, this site has the potential to accommodate around 2,300 new homes including a significant element of affordable properties and supporting facilities, improved access to motorway interchanges and significant investment in transport infrastructure and education facilities.
It is proposed to release 62 hectares of land around Pole Lane and Mode Hill Lane in Whitefield. The land is bounded by the M66 to the east, the M60 to the south and the urban area of Whitefield to the west and Unsworth to the north. The site has the capacity to provide around 600 new homes with a significant element of affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. The site is well contained by existing residential areas and highways, and the layout will ensure that accessibility to this area is improved and that new service provision will cater for the wider needs of the Whitefield/Unsworth area.
- Bevis Green
As part of a wider release of 30 hectares of land in the Baldingstone area, the proposal is to deliver around 60 new homes on a 1.7 hectare site to the south of Bentley Lane. Any proposals on the site will need to make provision for affordable housing in line with local policy requirements.
- Holcombe Brook
This 3.12 ha. infill site immediately to the south of the existing urban area in Holcombe Brook is considered capable of delivering around 100 new homes – including an element of affordable units. The site provides an opportunity to deliver a relatively small-scale urban extension that would effectively involve infilling between a well-established residential area and the recently-constructed Holcombe Brook Sports Club.
A 4.3 ha. site - latterly used as a training centre - is surrounded on three sides by existing residential development in the Seedfield area of Bury. The site is considered to have the potential to accommodate around 135 new homes (including affordable housing) and will require the provision of suitable replacement sporting facilities.
50.83 ha. of land to the north and south of Walshaw Road sits within the existing urban area and represents a significant opportunity in a sustainable location for the provision of around 1,250 new homes together with affordable housing and necessary supporting infrastructure.
For further information please contact Peter Doherty in the council press office on 0161 253 6096. Alternatively please email email@example.com