Tameside Council is currently preparing a 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 project team is in the process of preparing a planning application for submission in Spring/Summer 2021. As the site is currently in the Green Belt it will be necessary for the planning application to demonstrate a case for ‘Very Special Circumstances’.
The Council is preparing an outline planning application with detailed elements. The detailed elements will include the initial infrastructure required to open up the site. The purpose of an outline application is to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development is acceptable. Further detail will be agreed through 'Reserved Matters' applications at a later stage.
Once submitted, 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.
Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF):
Godley Green Allocation
Up until the end of 2020, the GMSF was being prepared by all 10 boroughs and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). However, in December 2020 Stockport Council decided to withdraw from its production, leaving the 9 remaining authorities (including Tameside Council) and the GMCA to prepare the plan.
The GMSF is an emerging joint plan and once adopted will form part of the development plan for each of the 9 boroughs. In particular, it will:
Set out how the boroughs should develop up until 2037;
Identify the amount of new development that will come forward, 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 the important environmental assets across the boroughs;
Allocate strategic sites for employment and housing; and
Define a new Green Belt boundary for each authority.
A draft version of the GMSF was first published for consultation in 2016, followed by an amended version in 2019. A further draft was due to be formally published for consultation in late 2020, but has been delayed following the withdrawal of Stockport Council. In all three drafts, a case for amending the current Green Belt boundary in Tameside has been put forward based on there being exceptional circumstances. 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 the GMSF, the site has been proposed as a new strategic allocation to be removed from the Green Belt and allocated to deliver major residential-led development. In the latest 2020 draft, the site is allocated through draft Policy GM Allocation 43 to provide up to 2,350 new homes across a range of types and tenures, which reflects the Garden Village principles, and which provides the necessary supporting services and infrastructure to provide a sustainable new community.
The timescales for the remaining stages of the GMSF through to its formal adoption are not defined at this stage. For further information, visit www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk
Until such time that the GMSF is formally adopted, the site continues to be situated within the designated Green Belt in accordance with Tameside’s development plan.