The latest version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework - the region’s long-term plan for ‘jobs homes and the environment’ - is due to be signed off by local leaders.

Proposals for Rochdale include the creation of over 10,500 homes and 700,000 square metres of employment space, creating more than 11,000 new jobs.

Bosses say it has the potential to boost the borough’s economy by around £700m a year.

While much of it remains unchanged from the version that emerged in 2019, there have been some significant alterations.

The biggest change in Rochdale is the removal of plans for Kingsway South. Proposals for 182 homes and 130,980m2 of employment space on land south of Junction 21 of the M62 have now been scrapped, saving 80 hectares of green belt.

The full run down of the plans for Rochdale under the new spatial framework - or GMSF - is below.

The Northern Gateway

This joint allocation with Bury remains the ‘game-changer’ for Rochdale.

As well as 1,000 new homes in south Heywood it also boasts an ‘advanced manufacturing park’ between junctions 18 and 19 of the M62 expected to attract ‘international level investment’.

Areas earmarked for potential development include land between junctions 18 and 19 of the M62 motorway, close to Heywood Distribution Park, with proposals to create 1,200 new homes and 350,000m2 of new employment space.

The new GMSF document states: “This strategic allocation will enable the delivery of a large, nationally-significant employment opportunity to attract high quality business and investment, with a complementary housing offer on the M62 corridor, where there is strong evidence of market demand."

It adds: “The scale and location of this allocation will help to rebalance the Greater Manchester economy, ensure the GMSF plays its part in driving growth within the north of England and enable Greater Manchester to be competitive both nationally and internationally.”

But a massive expansion of Simister and Bowlee - also part of the Northern Gateway vision - has been significantly scaled back.

The number of new houses has been cut from 2,700 to 1,500, with Rochdale reducing the 600 homes planned for its side of the border to 200.

Stakehill

Plans to extend Stakehill Business Park - a joint allocation with Oldham - have changed considerably under the new spatial framework proposals.

The number of homes on the site has increased from 900 to 1680 and bosses now want to create a ‘garden village’ at the site, similar to the one at Woodford, in Stockport.

The industrial part of the proposal, however, has reduced from 250,000 sq m of floorspace to 155,000 sqm.

Efforts will be made to separate residential and employment traffic as much as possible, and the possibility of a lorry park is being explored.

There will also be a wedge of green belt between the A627(M) spur and Thornham Lane, which separates Rochdale and Middleton, while proposals for a new railway station at Slattocks are being worked up by transport planners.

The document states: “This existing successful business park can provide a focus for a significantly expanded employment offer in this area which will complement the other opportunity areas within the Northern Gateway providing different types of premises and appeal to a wide range of uses and sectors.”

However, it adds that ‘there will need to be significant public transport improvement to and within the site as a whole’.

Bamford and Norden

Land to the west of Norden is still earmarked for housing

Plans for these villages to the west of Rochdale town centre remain the same as the 2019 draft.

They include proposals for around 450 new homes which will be mainly ‘larger higher value family housing’.

Bosses say these type of homes are needed to provide the homes for employees of the new business they hope to attract to the borough.

The document states: “This development offers an excellent opportunity to expand on this area to deliver a type of housing which is in short supply across the borough and the conurbation as a whole.

"The provision of such housing is important to ensure that a good range of housing is available across Greater Manchester to support economic growth.”

There are also plans to ‘retain and significantly enhance the existing recreational facilities to ‘create a high quality recreational and sports ‘hub’ serving the local area and the borough as a whole’.

A proposed high-speed bus route connecting Heywood and Manchester city centre could also be expanded to Norden.

Castleton Sidings

The proposals again include plans for 125 new homes at Castleton Sidings - a brownfield site close to the railway station.

Development will be limited to the eastern half of the site to minimise encroachment into the green belt, while the western part of the site will be redeveloped as an area of open space or nature conservation area.

The north east of the plot will accommodate a temporary rail halt and associated parking to allow the extension of the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) from Heywood to Castleton, and potentially a tram-train trial project.

Any development would also include ‘good quality pedestrian and cycling routes’ to the centre of Castleton and the Castleton Bee Network scheme, as well as to the train station and employment sites in Heywood.

Crimble Mill, Heywood

Plans for this site, next to Queen’s Park remain essentially unchanged from the 2019 iteration of the spatial framework.

Proposals include 250 new homes ‘within an attractive riverside setting’ - some of which will be within the the Grade II* listed mill itself.

As with Bamford and Norden many are expected to be ‘higher value family housing’.

The document says that any development will need to ‘take into account the risk of flooding’ and ensure that the mill building can be accessed from the north.

And there are also plans to enhance existing rights of way, including access to Queens Park and walking and cycling route to Heywood town centre.

The site is adjacent to All Souls C of E Primary School and any plans for the site will have to provide land for its future expansion, including outdoor playing space.

This would provide school places in a location convenient for the residents of the new development.

Aerial view of Littleborough, in Rochdale

Land North of Smithy Bridge

This ‘attractive site’ next to Hollingworth Lake and the Rochdale Canal also remains unchanged from the 2019 version of the masterplan.

It would ‘deliver around 300 new homes, including higher value family housing ‘to meet needs within the local area and to attract and retain higher income households’.

Any development would be required to provide ‘high quality’ walking and cycling routes through the site, linking to key local destinations including Littleborough town centre and Hollingworth Lake.

The area is also said to ‘provides an excellent location’ for a new primary school between Littleborough and Smithy Bridge, while the car park at the southern end of the site would need to be replaced .

Newhey Quarry

Another proposal unchanged from the version of the spatial framework that went out to consultation last year.

This would deliver around 250 new homes on a brownfield site, albeit one that sits within the greenbelt.

The document indicates there could be denser housing close to the village centre and the Metrolink stop, while the northern and eastern parts of the site would feature larger, more expensive homes.

Any development would also have to provide car parking for the Metrolink stop and residents of Huddersfield Road, as well as enhancing pedestrian and cycling routes.

Roch Valley

The number of homes proposed for this site in Littleborough has been scaled back slightly from 210 to 200 in the latest version of the GMSF.

It had been earmarked for 300 properties in the original 2016 draft.

According to the new GMSF, the scheme should be designed to allow for the eastern section of a proposed residential relief road between Smithy Bridge Road and Albert Royds Street.

Improvements to walking and cycling in the area - including links to public transport connections - are also included in these proposals.

The new document adds: “This area has good access to the A58 bus corridor and there are local services and facilities along this route. The development will need to provide good walking and cycling routes to the Calder Valley Railway line station at Smithy Bridge which offers good access to the city centre and other areas of Greater Manchester.”

Trows Farm, Castleton

The number of homes earmarked for this greenfield site has gone back up from the 360 proposed in 2019 to 550 - the same as the original 2016 plan.

Last year’s plans included space for a new primary school, but bosses believe this can now be provided elsewhere in the area - potentially at the former Carcraft site on Nixon Street.

And further work undertaken by planning chiefs has indicated the greenfield site, near Crown Business Park, can support an extra 190 properties.

Proposals also include ‘safe and attractive walking and cycling routes to the local centre of Castleton and the railway station’.

The GMSF document adds: “The site is available and deliverable for residential development and provides an excellent opportunity to widen housing choice in a sustainable location.”

What next?

The new GMSF will go before the ten Greater Manchester leaders – and mayor Andy Burnham – at a meeting tomorrow, (Friday, October 30).

If endorsed it will then be thrown out to debates in town halls across the city-region throughout November as every councillor gets their say.

Should the plan be approved by all 10 districts it will then go out for an eight-week public consultation starting on Tuesday, December 1.