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Rochdale set to play major part in Greater Manchester’s plan for growth

07 January 2019

An ambitious plan, which could transform Rochdale borough’s economy through the creation of thousands of new jobs and homes, is set to go out to public consultation for a 2nd time.

Plan could mean 20,000 new jobs and 12,000 new homes in Rochdale borough over the next 20 years

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) aims to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to live and work and Rochdale borough is set to play a key role, with plans for 12,000 new homes and almost one million sq metres of employment space, creating around 20,000 new jobs in the borough. The plan has the potential to boost Rochdale’s economy by £600 million a year.

The proposals, which will go before Greater Manchester council leaders on Friday, 11 January 2019, aim to support massive economic growth in the city region, by giving people access to thousands of new jobs and creating the right homes in the right places, supported by new infrastructure. If council leaders approve the plans, an 8-week public consultation will start on Monday, 21 January 2019. 

Plans for Rochdale borough include Northern Gateway, the largest employment opportunity in the spatial framework

A number of sites in Rochdale borough have been earmarked for potential development under the plans, including land between junctions 18 and 19 of the M62 within Rochdale borough and Bury. This proposed site in Heywood is the largest employment opportunity in the region, with 1.2 million sq metres of employment space proposed, 600,000 sq metres of which would be in Rochdale borough, along with 1,600 homes.

Other areas which could be developed include Stakehill and land west of the A627(M) area in Middleton, and land south of the M62 at junction 21, known as Kingsway South. 

New transport links and school places will also be delivered if plans are approved

If developed, the sites could be in line for major infrastructure improvements to support the new homes and jobs. Options being considered include the extension of the Metrolink to Middleton and Heywood, upgrades to the Simister roundabout, a new motorway junction (18a) at Birch Services and improvements to the Calder Valley rail line.

The new developments would also fund additional school places, either through new schools on site or financial contributions to support improvements to existing schools in the area. We're also looking at creating a new advanced manufacturing park at Heywood as part of the Northern Gateway site which links to the local universities.

The plans were initially put out to pubic consultation back in 2016, and have since been revised to reduce the amount of green belt land included. In Rochdale borough, the original proposals would have seen the total amount of green belt land in the borough reduce from 62.8 per cent to 58.2 per cent. Under the new proposals, the green belt will reduce to 59.9 per cent, meaning Rochdale will still have the highest proportion of green belt of all the Greater Manchester districts. 

The new green belt loss has reduced from 726 hectares in the 2016 plan to 459 under current proposals

Under the revised plans, it is proposed to add 175 hectares of land to the Green Belt for the first time, giving further protection to open spaces, including Firgrove Playing Fields and the Roch Valley. The net green belt loss in Rochdale has reduced from 726 hectares in the 2016 plan to 459 hectares under current proposals.

The new proposals assume all existing brownfield land will be developed over the next 20 years. To meet housing needs, further previously developed land and buildings put forward in response to the last consultation have also been added to the plan. These include Newhey Quarry and Mutual and Crimble Mills in Heywood. Around 125 homes could also be developed at Castleton Sidings, as part of a major regeneration scheme which could include the extension of the East Lancashire railway into Castleton. Plans for new homes in Norden and Bamford have been scaled back, with sports facilities in this area set to be retained and improved with funding from the development.

"This plan will bring our prosperity in line with other parts of the city region" – our council leader, Allen Brett

Councillor Allen Brett, our council leader, said:

“Rochdale is a hugely ambitious borough and we’re planning for major growth in the future. By bringing thousands of new jobs and homes, as well as substantial investment, this plan will help us play an even bigger role in Greater Manchester in the future and bring our prosperity in line with other parts of the city region.

"Rochdale’s employment rate, at 68.5%, is 4.5% below the Greater Manchester average and 6.5% below the national average and job numbers in our borough are not forecast to increase over the next decade. We can’t create all the jobs and homes we will need to transform our economy within our brownfield land supply.

“This plan gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address these challenges and significantly boost our economy, while still remaining the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.”

The consultation runs from Monday, 21 January 2019 until midnight on Monday, 18 March 2019.