Manchester City Council

A Bit about Planning

Still in recovery mode after a totally exhausting 24 hours last weekend doing the national 3 peak challenge with a group of 21 Councillors, Council staff, other colleagues, and assorted hangers on. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon with two drives through torrential rain in between. Not quite a relaxing Sunday but we have raised almost £25,000 to support both young people in the city and to help homeless people get back on their feet. Thank you to everybody who has donated and you still can at https://tinyurl.com/y22g95nx. Onto the theme outlined in the heading. Reasonably regularly I get emails making either positive proposals for particular pieces of land or objecting to proposals, often citing city wide policies as a rationale. What correspondents rarely take into account is the overall context and that planning the city can't be done on a plot by plot basis. Housing, workspace, amenity space, transportation, green/blue infrastructure have to be looked at least at the neighbourhood level, often wider. The city has committed to zero carbon by 2038, sooner if we can (we won't do it by next week!). Living at far higher density than we have done over the last century is a key element of this, as is enabling residents to live a lot closer, ideally within walking distance, to where they work. City Centre and edge of City Centre living alongside significant growth in commercial space and associated jobs has made a major contribution to this but we do need, and have the opportunity to provide even more, as we continue to recover from successive recessions and turn ourselves into a 21st century industrial city. Our outline transport strategy envisages an enormous increase in people travelling into the city but a reduction in the number of commuter journeys by private car. However, successful redevelopment around the core of the city has seen surface car parks disappear at a faster rate than we can manage and this causes particular problems including for residential neighbourhoods that become used as car parks. We are in the process of developing a car parking strategy that takes account of changing behaviour, that has the right nudges to influence behaviour, that has parking close to principal routes, and reduces neighbourhood to disamenity. Frankly, although only envisaged to be used on an interim basis, the existing car park at Central Retail Park fits this perfectly. Similarly we know high quality, well managed green and blue space is good for our well-being (incidental open space generally isn't). That doesn't mean that every piece of undeveloped space should be turned into a park. It does mean that we do have to plan that space into any regeneration plans. We did that in Hulme almost 30 years ago with a very substantial new park. We're doing that now in the Lower Irk Valley and Collyhurst, in the Lower Medlock Valley and in Ancoats. However we can only get the right sort of spaces by looking at the totality of an area, and not just on a site by site basis.

Still in recovery mode after a totally exhausting 24 hours last weekend doing the national 3 peak challenge with a group of 21 Councillors, Council staff, other colleagues, and assorted hangers on. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon with two drives through torrential rain in between. Not quite a relaxing Sunday but we have raised almost £25,000 to support both young people in the city and to help homeless people get back on their feet. Thank you to everybody who has donated and you still can at https://tinyurl.com/y22g95nx.

Onto the theme outlined in the heading. Reasonably regularly I get emails making either positive proposals for particular pieces of land or objecting to proposals, often citing city wide policies as a rationale. What correspondents rarely take into account is the overall context and that planning the city can't be done on a plot by plot basis. Housing, workspace, amenity space, transportation, green/blue infrastructure have to be looked at least at the neighbourhood level, often wider.

The city has committed to zero carbon by 2038, sooner if we can (we won't do it by next week!). Living at far higher density than we have done over the last century is a key element of this, as is enabling residents to live a lot closer, ideally within walking distance, to where they work. City Centre and edge of City Centre living alongside significant growth in commercial space and associated jobs has made a major contribution to this but we do need, and have the opportunity to provide even more, as we continue to recover from successive recessions and turn ourselves into a 21st century industrial city.

Our outline transport strategy envisages an enormous increase in people travelling into the city but a reduction in the number of commuter journeys by private car. However, successful redevelopment around the core of the city has seen surface car parks disappear at a faster rate than we can manage and this causes particular problems including for residential neighbourhoods that become used as car parks. We are in the process of developing a car parking strategy that takes account of changing behaviour, that has the right nudges to influence behaviour, that has parking close to principal routes, and reduces neighbourhood to disamenity. Frankly, although only envisaged to be used on an interim basis, the existing car park at Central Retail Park fits this perfectly.

Similarly we know high quality, well managed green and blue space is good for our well-being (incidental open space generally isn't). That doesn't mean that every piece of undeveloped space should be turned into a park. It does mean that we do have to plan that space into any regeneration plans. We did that in Hulme almost 30 years ago with a very substantial new park. We're doing that now in the Lower Irk Valley and Collyhurst, in the Lower Medlock Valley and in Ancoats. However we can only get the right sort of spaces by looking at the totality of an area, and not just on a site by site basis.

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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