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Burnham pledges to regenerate Greater Manchester towns

Words: Laura Edgar
Bury / iStock-145842811

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has launched a new initiative that aims to regenerate town centres across the region and move away from the ‘developer-led, greenfield-first approach of the past’.

The mayor has invited settlements across Greater Manchester to nominate a town to be part of the Town Centre Challenge.

Working with each council, Burnham plans to bring together stakeholders including housing providers, public and private landowners, developers and community groups, to support local councils to unlock potential in town centres. In particular, he wants to deliver viable housing markets and sustainable communities.

The Town Centre Challenge will be supported by new mayoral powers, including development corporations, the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) and mayoral grants to kick-start developments.

Burnham hopes that it will also be supported by a new housing deal; this is currently being discussed by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the government.

Launching the move today (17 November) in Bury, the mayor said: “This new initiative is all about regenerating town centres across Greater Manchester which have felt left behind. The time has come to breathe new life into our proud towns and move away from the developer-led, greenfield-first approach of the past.

“There is a massive housing requirement across the city-region and we must have a housing and planning policy which is based on housing need and regeneration, not just the number of units.  We need to build the right homes in the right places. Greater Manchester is suffering from high levels of traffic congestion and that means we will only be able to support new housing growth if we link it much more closely to transport infrastructure.”

He said this is part of the approach being taken in the rewrite of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. He added that the new approach won’t mean there won’t be difficult planning decisions ahead, and “some green sites will still be needed”.

Caroline Simpson, corporate director for place at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, added: “The role of town centres has changed significantly over recent years; they continue to have an important part to play in achieving Greater Manchester’s vision of becoming a world-class city-region.

“We welcome the Town Centre Challenge which will build on the first-class work already under way by bringing together partners from across the public and private sectors to drive forward collaboration and innovation. This combined with the work will help ensure the full potential of our town centres as places where people want to live, work and play is fulfilled.”

Image credit | iStock