Housing and Development

We are experiencing a time of increasingly rapid change. Unless we plan for that change it will be haphazard and driven from outside Marple. This makes the work of the Marple Neighbourhood Forum and, more importantly, the contributions of our Marple residents, crucially important to the future of the town.


The Marple Neighbourhood Plan sits within a complex planning framework that is in a period of significant evolution. The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) is designed to support the economic growth of Greater Manchester over the next 20 years and is currently under review after a consultation period that ended in January 2017. Sitting beneath this is the Stockport Local Plan – the initial consultation phase of which has just begun.

In addition there is a Housing Vision for Stockport, a comprehensive Stockport Housing Strategy, a Stockport Homes Older Persons Strategy and a Mill Re-Development Strategy, amongst many other public documents.

In other words the planning environment is complex to the point of being overwhelming. Our role and our opportunity within the Neighbourhood Plan is to boil all this down to two questions:

‘What Does Marple Need for the Future?’ and

‘How can our Planning Environment be influenced to deliver what we want?’.


So What Are the Main Issues?

From our Open Meetings and AGM’s and increasing consultation with Marple residents a picture is beginning to emerge of Marple’s priority Housing issues:

  1. The Importance of Community
    Marple residents place a high value on the town’s community spirit and it’s ‘village feel’. Marple is a vibrant and welcoming community but, like so many other small towns, the retail revolution of chain stores and internet shopping has much reduced activity at the heart of the town. Reversing this trend and bringing life back into the town centre is a key element of our thinking.
  2. Boundary Definition and Access to Nature
    An essential part of Marple’s character is the clear definition that the surrounding Green Belt provides to the town. We are fortunate to have ready access to nature and the wilds of the Peak District on our doorstep and recognise that we have a duty to protect it for future generations. Accordingly we should look to the re-development of existing sites rather than the Green Belt for the town’s future housing development.
  3. The Challenge and Opportunity of an Aging Population
    Currently Marple has almost 500 residents above the age of 85 and with average life expectancy anticipated to reach 90 we will see this number more than double over the next 10 years. SMBC data predict a 46% increase in over 65’s by 2030 by which time there will be more than 3,000 over 65’s in Marple. Many residents will wish to downsize from larger properties whilst remaining within the town – this is already an issue. Bungalows and 1 or 2 bedroom houses and apartments are in very short supply and rather than live elsewhere many of today’s residents remain in larger properties that exceed their needs and have maintenance overheads they can no longer easily service. Providing better housing options for the older generations has the potential to free up larger housing stock thus reducing the need to provide sites for 3 and 4 bedroom dwellings.
  4. Access to Housing for Younger People
    Demand for housing in Marple significantly exceeds supply resulting in above average prices and rents making it difficult for younger people to access housing in the town. This lends further to the argument that we should be looking to provide smaller, more affordable housing as a core policy rather than the larger housing that developers prefer. There is no simple solution to this challenge and we will have to work alongside planners and developers to find creative ways to achieve our aims.
  5. Protecting and Improving the Environment
    We currently have traffic and street parking issues which if we do nothing are likely to get worse. We are fortunate, given Marple’s elevation, that our air quality is generally good, but we must protect this and be sensitive to the air quality of the locations around us. Additionally, we should encourage new developers to build affordable homes using modern methods of construction sensitive to location and heritage of the town.


You may or may not agree with the points we’ve made above. Whatever your perspective we’re interested to hear what you think about future housing development in Marple. Let us know what you think via the email link on our website.


Thanks for reading.