Constellation - Spatial Opportunities

Constellation : creating the place where everything connects
Constellation : creating the place where everything connects
Project date
  • Strategy
North West England
The Constellation Partnership
Associated team members
Associated documents

In 2017 URBED were commissioned to undertake a piece of strategic planning work for The Constellation Partnership; a consortium of six Local Authorities and two Local Enterprise Partnerships. The area sits between the "Northern Powerhouse" and "Midlands Engine" and it was felt to have a great deal of untapped potential. The aim of the Constellation Partnership was to capitalise on the unique opportunities arising from HS2, with a plan to deliver 100,000 homes and 120,000 jobs across the strategy area.

Our role was to produce a "Spatial Opportunities and Visioning Study", one of several studies commissioned to support a bid to central government. The purpose of our report was to develop a sustainable methodology and a coherent spatial strategy through which to deliver the growth aspiration. In other words we had to turn the headline figures of "100,000 homes and 120,000 jobs" into an overall plan for the area, with strategic development sites and key transport links.

We worked alongside:

  • Mott McDonald who produced a Connectivity and Viability Study in partnership with CBRE
  • KPMG, who produced a Financial Modelling Study
  • Regeneris, who produced a Skills Strategy.

Each piece of work fed into the other and all of the reports were developed as part of a collaborative, iterative process with our fellow consultants and the client team.

Working at such a scale and looking so far into the future required a simple, logical approach. We took a wide range of data sources, QGIS mapping, technical information from the wider team and the political aspirations of each authority and synthesised it into a clear, visually-driven narrative and a coherent spatial strategy.

We also wanted to develop a strategy that was sustainable and equitable. We used GIS to develop a methodology that concentrated development around existing public transport nodes or in locations where new public transport infrastructure was planned. In that way, we sought to embed fundamental principles of sustainability into the process of site selection, particularly for housing. We also used Index of Multiple Deprivation data to analyse the inequalities across the study area. Part of our work explored how releasing higher value sites for development could be used to bring forward brownfield sites that were less viable or attractive to the market, funding remediation works or necessary infrastructure to prepare them for development. 

This piece of work was a fantastic opportunity to plan for high quality, sustainble development "at scale" and went on to inform later work on strategic planning, including the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. 





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