A review that will look at the way all aspects of housing is managed in Manchester will be undertaken over the next six months to better react to local issues – including affordability and sustainabil
Manchester’s housing story is one of high demand. However, at the same time Manchester remains a highly polarised place with major wealth and housing inequalities across the city.
The Housing Strategy review will bring together previous Housing and Residential Growth Strategies to focus on delivering high-quality homes that people need.
The key elements of the review will look at:
- Increasing the supply of all housing types and across all tenures to meet demand.
- Ensure enough housing is affordable and accessible to those who need it most
- Improve the quality and management of the city’s private rented sector across the city
- Improve the sustainability and safety of existing homes in the city
Housing development in the city has been prodigious in recent years – indeed in the summer of 2019, Deloitte found that there were more cranes in the sky than any other European city.
Manchester has welcomed 50,000 new residents in the last five years and the city’s population is expected to continue to grow quickly in the coming years because of increased employment opportunities and the city’s international reputation as an attractive place to live.
More than 17,500 homes have been built since 2015 – around 50% of the target of 32,000 homes up to 2025 – with a further 15,000 homes expected to be completed in the next five years.
The Council has committed to ensure at least 20% – or 6,400 – of the 32,000 homes will be affordable to Manchester people. The pipeline figures currently show that this number will be surpassed, and more than 7,000 affordable homes will be delivered between 2015 and 2025.
However, more homes across all tenures are needed to meet demand.
74% of all homes in the city are in Council Tax A and B. This presents a funding gap for the Council as the city becomes more reliant on its own tax base (as levels of Government grants decrease).
However, challenges remain with growing numbers of people on the housing register and living in temporary accommodation. Options for home ownership are also fewer and housing inequalities remain across different parts of the city.
A key element of this review will look at ways to increase supply of affordable homes for those that need them most and provide new housing options for residents.
As the fastest growing sector in the city, the private rented sector is one that must be of quality and be trusted by residents. Working with landlords to ensure standards are met is crucial, alongside interventions to help drive up standards, such as targeted landlord licensing.
And to meet the Council’s target to become a zero carbon city by 2038, housing has a significant part to play. High sustainability standards in new builds through planning policy is already an important element of developing in the city – and will be more so as the Council completes a separate review of the city’s Local Plan. However, retrofitting older homes to meet modern sustainability standards is a challenge, and this review will look at how this can be done effectively and affordably, as soon as possible.
The new Housing Strategy is expected to cover a 10-year period up to 2030, and the results of the current review will be presented to a future meeting of Council’s executive (and scrutiny committees) later this year.
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and employment, said:
“There are things that should of course be celebrated in Manchester – high demand means more people are choosing to live and remain in the city, and indeed there are no areas of the city that are currently ‘low demand’. This is a picture of a city very much enjoying a period of enviable growth – and this has been met with significant housing investment in recent years.
“However, it is important that while be celebrate our successes, we take the opportunity to take a holistic and in-depth look at our city and accept that there remain large inequalities, particularly in housing.
“We know that we need to increase housing supply – particularly affordable and social housing – along with continuing to improve standards in our existing homes, and sustainability as a key tenet of residential development.
“This review will allow us to take an unflinching look at the challenges we still face in the city and develop strategies to tackle them head on.”