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Manchester’s ‘trailblazing approach’ to tackle housing crisis

Manchester Council's development firm takes on the housing crisis, initiating work on two pioneering schemes that promise a future of genuinely affordable housing and urban revitalisation.

It’s been nearly two years since Manchester council decided to take matters into its own hands by setting up a development firm in a bid to tackle the housing crisis – and now work on This City’s first two schemes is underway.

Manchester Council’s Development Firm

Offering a mix of ‘truly affordable’ housing as well as some to be rented at market rates, the arms-length company puts the town hall in the driver’s seat.

Unlike traditional council homes, properties built and managed by the town hall’s development arm cannot be sold to tenants under Right to Buy rules and taken out of the social housing stock.

The council hopes this will make it easier to house the 15,000 residents and their families currently on the waiting list.

Manchester Council Leader Bev Craig

Soon after council leader Bev Craig started the top job at the town hall, the local authority announced that the first sites to be developed by This City will be in central Manchester.

Some of these new homes will be available at the Manchester Living Rent rate which means they will be capped at the level that housing benefit pays locally, opening up opportunities for anyone to live there.

Work on This City’s first two schemes has now started.

100 new apartments in Ancoats

Work at Rodney Street

In Ancoats, 128 new homes are under construction at Rodney Street while a further 100 new apartments are set to be built off Newton Street in the Northern Quarter.

The town hall now has its eyes on six more sites for development across the city.

But over the next six months, it will look for investors to make it a reality.

1,567 new homes in Manchester

Up to 1,567 homes could be built on these sites in north and east Manchester, the largest of which could accommodate up to 625 new homes in Harpurhey.

The other sites identified are in Ardwick, Longsight and Piccadilly ward where two developments of up to 401 homes are planned in total across both – but the specific location of each of these plots of land has not yet been revealed.

I Love Manchester understands another site identified in Ancoats and Beswick ward is part of the regeneration plans for the Grey Mare Lane estate where the council is stepping in to save the long-awaited scheme.

The Re-development of Collyhurst

However, as the redevelopment of Collyhurst continues, the council has said it is unlikely to build the 3,000 new homes planned in the neighbourhood itself.

Work on 244 new homes in Collyhurst Village is well under way with a further 30 new council homes planned on another site nearby.

A recent council report has set out plans for the next phase of this part of the Victoria North scheme.

A new masterplan for future development in the area is now being drawn up with further details expected later down the line.

But the council has said it is ‘likely’ that an external affordable housing provider would need to be involved.

15,000 new homes for Victoria North

Of the more than 15,000 new homes planned in the Victoria North scheme, at least 20 pc are expected to be affordable.

But the local authority may not be able to build all the additional affordable housing it wants to see in the area.

According to the council report, there is ‘significant interest’ from affordable housing providers who have a ‘proven regeneration track record’ in the region.

Work to identify an affordable housing partner is set to start this summer with the council and developer of the Far East Consortium to appoint one next spring.

Labour Councillor Gavin White

Speaking at an executive committee meeting last month, Labour councillor Gavin White said that more funding is now available for registered providers to build affordable housing.

The executive member for housing and development explained that Homes England previously only funded new affordable homes.

But now, the government-backed organisation will fund replacement homes too.

This makes it easier for affordable housing providers to access funding.

He said: “We’d like to see up to 3,000 new homes in this area, working with a new affordable housing delivery partner to get the maximum Homes England funding so that we can deliver the ground new homes in this community.”

A public consultation is planned for the next phase of the Collyhurst scheme.

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