Greater Manchester to complete 65 new transport projects in next five years

Leaders in the north west region have unveiled ambitious plans which will aim to see 200,000 new homes built, the net loss of green belt slashed by more than half and hundreds of millions invested into its transport network.

At an event today (7 January), mayor Andy Burnham, alongside deputy mayors Sir Richard Leese and Bev Hughes, and the leaders of Greater Manchester councils, set out a series of bold and far-reaching new housing and transport proposals.

The host of leaders were in attendance to reveal Greater Manchester's Plan for Jobs, Homes and the Environment – the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF).

A central aim of the radically rewritten document is the bold vision of building a minimum of 201,000 new homes by 2037, mainly focused in Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Oldham, alongside 6.5m sq ft of employment space.

The plan focuses on making the most of Greater Manchester’s brownfield sites, prioritising redevelopment of town centres and other sustainable locations. It will also help to address the housing crisis with a minimum target of 50,000 additional affordable homes – 30,000 of which will be social housing.

Elsewhere, the announcement also included more details on Greater Manchester’s 2040 Transport Strategy Delivery Plan which sets out all the transport improvements to be implemented by 2025, as well as longer-term plans.

The transport plan identifies more than 65 projects that will be completed within the next five years, including: Metrolink’s Trafford Park Line; the purchase of 27 new trams; an upgrade of Salford Central railway station; a £160m new walking and cycling infrastructure across all 10 districts; expanding the city-region’s electric vehicle charging network; and new interchanges in Tameside and Stockport.

Commenting on the spatial plan, Burnham said: “In this time of national social and economic uncertainty, and with politics in Westminster paralysed by Brexit, Greater Manchester is taking the initiative and setting out an innovative blueprint to give people, communities and businesses hope and confidence for the future. When we consulted people on the first spatial framework, the public were clear that we hadn’t got the balance right. We listened, reflected, and can now present a radical re-write as promised. It also lays the foundations for radical reform in other policy areas such as housing, the environment and transport.”

Poor quality is also on the agenda with a coordinated plan to bring levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) within legal limits is currently being developed by all 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester.

While in a UK first, mayoral powers are to be used to regenerate Stockport town centre. Burnham is set  to work with its council to consult on bringing forward a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) for the town. It is the first time MDC powers have been used to regenerate a town centre.

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