GMSF FAQs: What is the GMSF?

What is the GMSF?

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Greater Manchester’s Plan for Homes, Jobs, and the Environment (the GMSF) has been put together by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which comprises the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the leaders of Greater Manchester's ten local councils.

This plan is about providing the right homes, in the right places, for people across our city region, including Trafford.

The plan talks about jobs and homes, but it’s about so much more than bricks and mortar. It's about reducing inequalities, improving the lives of our residents, and ensuring the future prosperity of Greater Manchester including Trafford.

It is important to note that the GMSF is part of a wider suite of documents sitting below the Greater Manchester Strategy (including transport and housing strategies). Together these will help to reduce inequalities, improve the lives of our residents and transform Greater Manchester into the world leading city region we know it can be. It is crucial that the borough of Trafford is part of these ambitions and benefits from the socio-economic benefits that we are collectively trying to achieve.


  • sets out how Greater Manchester should develop up until 2037;
  • identifies the amount of new development that will come forward across the 10 districts, in terms of housing, offices, and industry and warehousing, and the main areas in which this will be focused;
  • supports the delivery of key infrastructure, such as transport, utilities, social and green infrastructure;
  • protects important environmental assets and highlights opportunities for the city region;
  • allocates sites for employment and housing outside of the existing urban area; and
  • defines a new Green Belt boundary for Greater Manchester

Why are we producing the GMSF?

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The Government requires local authorities to produce plans that identify enough land to meet local housing and employment needs.

The level of housing that the plan needs to provide for is determined by the Government’s methodology.

Through the GMSF we can prove we have enough land available to deliver the homes determined by this methodology up to 2037 across Greater Manchester. If we don't, we will have less control over the future shape of Trafford, and growth will take place without being properly planned for the benefit of all.

Without a plan, there would be pressure from the development industry to release sites on Green Belt land in an unplanned manner. Unplanned housing growth could result in sporadic development in locations that provide little or no opportunities to secure the necessary infrastructure needed (i.e. smaller sites spread across the borough would not give the scale of development needed to require substantial investment into new schools, roads and public transport).

How has the plan been developed?

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Following a recommendation from AGMA Executive Board in November 2014, the 10 Local Planning Authorities in Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) agreed to prepare a joint Development Plan Document to set out the approach to housing and employment land across Greater Manchester. 

Three informal consultations have already taken place. The first, in November 2014 was on the scope of the plan and our initial evidence base, the second in November 2015, was on the vision, strategy and strategic growth options, and the third in October 2016 on a draft plan. We have listened to people’s feedback, taken into account new and emerging evidence, and have developed this revised version.

In November 2014, the first devolution agreement provided for an elected Greater Manchester Mayor with responsibility to produce a spatial strategy. The first Mayor was elected in May 2017. This revised version of the plan has been put together by the Mayor and Greater Manchester’s ten local council leaders to support our agreed priorities for the city-region, including safer communities, age-friendly neighbourhoods, and high-quality job opportunities for all.

These priorities are set out in full in the Greater Manchester Strategy: ‘Our People, Our Place’, which is our plan for making Greater Manchester a great place to grow up, get on, and grow older.

Why does Trafford need the GMSF?

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The Government’s methodology (Local Housing Need - LHN) results in a housing target of 25,365 units for Trafford over the period 2018-2037, out of a total target of 201,077 units for Greater Manchester.

For Trafford the GMSF is proposing a lower housing target than the LHN, the requirement for Trafford is 19,280 new homes. This is consistent with the GMSF’s emphasis on additional housing and employment development in the central core and northern districts, whilst sustaining growth in the south.  

Trafford does not have sufficient land in its existing supply to meet the housing target proposed in the GMSF therefore some Green Belt is required to come forward for development despite having increased densities and yields on urban brownfield sites. If we did not have the GMSF then it is likely Trafford would be required to meet its local housing need in full, which would likely require additional Green Belt release.

If Trafford is not able to prove that it can deliver the homes required, we would have little say in the types of homes and developments being built, and we would not be able to prepare for the supporting infrastructure that would be needed, such as transport links, health services and access to education. The GMSF gives us the ability to have a development strategy that delivers affordable homes, different types of housing, and thriving communities that are well connected to transport and other facilities, such as health, education and greenspace.

How will the GMSF link to the Trafford Local Plan?

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The GMSF sets out the strategic planning policy framework for the whole of the city region. More detailed policies and local matters are dealt with in local plans across Greater Manchester. The Greater Manchester plan will not cover everything that a local plan would cover and therefore districts will continue to produce their own plans.

The Local Plan for Trafford Council is currently made up of the Core Strategy, the saved policies of the Unitary Development Plan, the Greater Manchester Joint Waste Plan, the Greater Manchester Joint Minerals Plan and the Altrincham Town Centre Neighbourhood Business Plan.

Trafford Council is currently producing a new Local Plan which will replace the Core Strategy and Unitary Development Plan. Once adopted, the Local Plan will become the main land use planning document for Trafford. The new Trafford Local Plan will need to be in conformity with the GMSF, but will cover more locally-specific issues, policies and site allocations. 

The timetable for the production of the new Local Plan and how this fits with the stages of the spatial framework is set out here:

  Stage    Date    Completed  

Local   Plan – Issues Paper Consultation

Summer   / Autumn 2018


GMSF – Consultation on the draft plan

Jan 2019


GMSF – Consultation   on Final version of the plan

Autumn   2019


Local   Plan ­- Consultation on the draft plan

Autumn   2019


GMSF –   Examination

Spring   2020


Local   Plan -  Consultation on Final version   of the plan

Autumn   2020


GMSF – Adopt   final plan

Winter   2020


Local   Plan – Examination

Early   2021


Local   Plan – Adopt final plan

Mid /   late 2021



You can download a PDF of these Frequently Asked Questions