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GM housing strategy unlikely to meet targets without Land Programme

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is seeking a closer partnership with the private sector in order to increase the city’s housing capacity.

In a new board paper, the GMCA said that it is seeking to establish a Greater Manchester Land Programme and reconsider the role of the social rented sector.

It says that the Land Programme “will address the viability gap caused by remediation and infrastructure issues to ensure that strategic sites for housing and employment can be brought forward by the private sector more quickly”.

The city’s devolution deal included a £300m Greater Manchester Housing Fund, of which £100m is now committed to investment projects.

GMCA plans to use the fund to build 15,000 houses over the next 10 years, which the report said cannot be achieved “within a reasonable timescale – if at all” without the Land Programme.

In addition, it said it going to “create new pathways to help households to access home ownership models appropriate to their income levels” and develop new investment models to provide more homes for groups such as the disabled and elderly, in order to free up more social housing.

Recently housing charity Shelter warned that the extension of the Right to Buy could cost councils £26m a year.

It is estimated that Greater Manchester will need at least 217,000 more houses by 2035. It currently builds approximately 6,000 a year.

The LGA has estimated that up to 5.4 million people across the country will need affordable housing by 2024.

The Housing Fund will be managed by Manchester City Council instead of the GMCA because the combined authority currently lacks the necessary borrowing powers, although this function may transfer to the GMCA after it gains new powers in April 2017.

Projects will be scrutinised by an independent Gateway Panel before they are approved.

(Image c. Joe Mott)

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