Two important announcements in the last month about future housing construction in Greater Manchester.
The first is the publication, by the 10 Greater Manchester Councils (the Greater Manchester Strategic Authority, GMSA) of a detailed map of land identified for future housing and employment developments. The Councils estimate that this is potentially enough land for an extra 175,000 homes across greater Manchester over the next 20 years.
The Mayor said: “We’ve published this data so everyone can see the land we’ve identified for potential development. We’re now asking local people, community groups and others to take a look at these sites and let us know if there are any we have missed, or if there are other sites they think we should consider”.
The full map is available here. Most of these sites are what you might call ‘brownfield’ sites. For Bury, the heaviest concentration of them is in Radcliffe. Some of the sites (the East Lancashire Paper Mill site in Radcliffe, or the Cussons site in Rainsough) already have plans for housing. Some (land behind Tesco in Prestwich) are/have already being built on.
The second announcement is a deal that is being discussed between the Government and Greater Manchester. Under the terms of the deal
- Greater Manchester has to deliver on a Strategic Plan to provide land for 227,200 new homes over the next 19 years (to 2035). (To put that into context Bolton, Bury and Salford added together currently contain 283,000 homes.)
- Greater Manchester would have ‘accelerated delivery’ getting up to 12,375 new houses a year (to put that into context that is a new Whitefield every year).
In return the Government will look at
Taking four Housing Infrastructure Fund Forward Funding bids through to co-development:
– Manchester’s Northern and Eastern Gateways;
– City Centre Salford Housing Growth Programme;
– Bolton and Wigan Key Route Network;
– South East Manchester Bus Rapid Transit Scheme.
– Provide a Land Fund of up to £50m to provide support for the remediation of brownfield land for housing. The land fund should deliver at least 4200 homes and will be subject to value for money assurance.
– Provide up to £8m capacity funding to build the Greater Manchester Place Team to support the ambitious increase in housing delivery, building on the Manchester City Place team.
– Provide £10.25m to help regenerate the Collyhurst estate to deliver more affordable homes.
It is really important to notice that the current land identified has potential for 175,000 new homes, but the Council are committing to plan for 227,200 new homes. For us this rings massive alarm bells that the next draft of the Greater Manchester Strategic Framework being published (just after the local elections) in June 2018 will again include the destruction of Green Belt land (Draft 1 included massive loss of Green Belt in Prestwich, Whitefield, Unsworth and around Elton Reservoir).
So good news that so much brownfield land has been identified. Concern that the Councils are signing up to a plan that could see the Mayor going back on his pre-election promise of no net loss of Green Belt.