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Following a new statement issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government released on Friday, Greater Manchester's Spatial Framework, the plan for development of commercial and residential space in the area, could be subject to further delay. The new governmental statement asks local governments to pay no attention to forecasts issued by the Office for National Statistics which suggested that future population growth would be lower than expected. Instead, it has directed councils to return to the previously-released higher forecasts which means that in Manchester, Council leaders will have to re-think the removal of 30,000 homes from the plan which were taken out over the summer. Commentary suggests there is a political motive behind this most recent directive from the Ministry following Conservative manifesto pledges on the construction of new homes from the last election.
Previous drafts have come up against much opposition due to their use of greenbelt land. When Andy Burnham was elected as mayor of Manchester in 2017, his manifesto pledge to see whether there could be “no net loss” of green belt land meant council leaders had to review what was then thought to be the final version. Since that time there have been more drafts and additional delays following which the plan was to be released this autumn. At the beginning of October, Mr Burnham released a statement saying it would be delayed due to "confusion" regarding population figures and housing targets. The new statement by the Ministry for Housing has confirmed that lower figures previously released by the ONS should be ignored meaning Manchester's 10 councils will have to re-insert 30,000 homes which they spent the summer taking out of the plan.
In the meantime, the plan for new commercial space which is tied into the whole framework also remains on hold.