Tameside Council has submitted an outline planning application for Godley Green. If permission is granted, this will be the key to unlocking much needed homes and wider benefits for local people.
Godley Green Planning Application Approach
The innovative Godley Green Garden Village Development has taken another step forward. An application has been lodged for outline planning permission. The outline element define the scale and nature of a proposed development, whilst details are included for the access points. Further detail will be agreed through 'Reserved Matters' applications at a later stage.
The planning application will be subject to public and independent professional scrutiny before any decision is made.
Adopted Planning Policy Position:
The current development plan for Tameside allocates the site for a variety of designations. This includes the site’s position within Tameside's Green Belt. The Green Belt is a designation that covers large areas of land within the countryside, with the aim of preventing urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.
Most forms of new development are restricted in the Green Belt unless it meets one or more exceptions set out in national planning policy. Where new development does not meet such exceptions, it will be necessary to demonstrate that there are Very Special Circumstances to justify the development. "Very Special Circumstances" is not a defined term in planning and is a matter of planning judgement to be taken by the decision-taker.
In order to demonstrate that Very Special Circumstances exist, it is necessary to demonstrate that the benefits of the proposed development clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and any other harm arising from the development.
Places for Everyone (PFE): Godley Green Allocation
Up until the end of 2020, the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester were preparing a joint development plan known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). As a joint development plan document for each authority the GMSF, once adopted, would:
set out how Greater Manchester should be developed to 2037
identify the amount of new development that will come forward across the 10 districts, in terms of housing, offices, and industry and warehousing, and the main areas in which this will be focused;
support the delivery of key infrastructure, such as transport and utilities;
protect important environmental assets across the city region;
allocate sites for employment and housing outside of the existing urban area; and
define a new green belt boundary for Greater Manchester.
In each published draft of the GMSF, an exceptional circumstances case for amending the current Green Belt boundary in Tameside was identified. This includes, but is not limited to, meeting the need for housing and employment land as well as rebalancing growth across the city region. As part of this process, Godley Green was proposed to be removed from the Green Belt and allocated for up to 2,350 new homes with a range of supporting services and infrastructure to provide a sustainable new community.
However, following the withdrawal of Stockport Council in December 2020 from the joint development plan process, the GMSF is no longer being progressed and has officially been withdrawn. Instead, the nine remaining Greater Manchester authorities have formally agreed to prepare Places for Everyone (PFE) as a new joint development plan.
Much of PFE, including its spatial strategy, planning policies, proposed allocations and evidence base, are based on the GMSF. The site’s proposed allocation in the GMSF has therefore been carried across in PFE, as set out through Policy JP Allocation 31. The proposed allocation of Godley Green in PFE can be viewed here: https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/media/4838/places-for-everyone.pdf
A consultation on the Publication Draft of PFE ended on Sunday, 3 October 2021. The joint development plan was submitted to the Secretary of State in early 2023, alongside all supporting documents and representations received during the final round of consultation, for an independent examination.
The planning inspectors post hearing letter, was published on the PFE website in August 2023 which stated they are now satisfied that the main modifications are now necessary to make the plan sound. A further public consultation process is being held on the Modifications which is expected to conclude in December 2023.