Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has voted to reject the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), by 35 to 26 votes.
The key vote by Stockport Council on the GMSF had already been postponed on 17th November by Conservatives, Heald Green Ratepayers and Labour councillors, to allow the Mayor of Greater Manchester more time to improve the proposals. A previous consultation date of 1st December 2020 to 26th January 2021 had been moved to accommodate this change.
In the two weeks since the vote to delay, the proposed development on High Lane had been removed from the plan, however an offer of removal of only 70 houses at Woodford and the same at Heald Green sites was put forward. With 1,700 houses to be built at two Green Belt sites in Heald Green and a further 750 at Woodford Aerodrome, Conservative councillors have made it clear that they could not support this irreversible loss.
I joined with local campaign groups to call for the safeguarding of the Green Belt land for future generations whilst ensuring housing is provided in the right areas.
With Stockport now having opted to leave the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, it remains up to other councils to decide whether they will remain a part of the plan, with several having moved to delay their own votes until later this month.
During my time as MP for Cheadle, I have lobbied hard for the protection of our green spaces and presented a petition to Parliament on behalf of more than 3,000 people who signed against losing our Green Belt. Our Green Belt land is protected for a reason. It is irreplaceable. Destroying this land is too high a price to pay for the Mayor’s plans.
Many arguments were made last night about the virtues of GMSF, including to remain in the plan conditionally - however the only way to save green spaces in the villages of Heald Green and Woodford is to opt out of this Spatial Framework.
I urged Stockport Council to vote to protect our Green Belt and oppose the plan to concrete over huge swathes of Heald Green and Woodford.
So, I am glad that Stockport Council tonight voted to protect our green spaces. The Greater Manchester plan was not right for our area and it is unfortunate that the Greater Manchester Mayor could not offer a plan which addressed residents’ concerns about green belt loss.
I look forward to working with Stockport Council to create a local plan that works.