FEC seeks Red Bank affordable homes partner

Far East Consortium, Manchester’s development partner on its £1bn Northern Gateway housing plan, has launched a search for a registered provider to help it deliver affordable homes across Red Bank, with an ambition to deliver 800 such homes over 10 years.

The Northern Gateway is a joint venture partnership between FEC and Manchester City Council, and aims to deliver up to 15,000 new homes across north Manchester over the next 15-20 years, 20% of which are outlined as affordable. It has been one of the areas to feature in the current BBC series Manctopia, with questions asked around the city’s commitment to genuinely affordable housing.

The project is divided into a series of neighbourhoods, with Red Bank being one of the first to be progressed for development and investment by the partnership.

Red Bank, close to Victoria station, is earmarked as a high-density, residential-led neighbourhood of around 5,500 homes. The council has secured £51.6m of Housing Infrastructure Fund backing for the area.

The first project to be pursued, making the need for a partner “urgent” is Victoria Riverside, a gateway site where 634 dwellings are proposed, including 589 apartments across three towers. The largest of these is to be 37 storeys, flanked by sister buildings of 18 and 26 storeys each. The cluster of HawkinsBrown-designed buildings would sit on the corner of Gould Street and Dantzic Street

As well as the towers, the proposal includes 10 townhouses and 35 maisonettes and low-level apartments. Just 32 homes within this first tranche will be classed as affordable, being marketed as shared ownership.

Around 4,000 of the homes will be delivered by FEC on land within its ownership, with an aspiration to deliver over 800 affordable homes. Avison Young has been tasked by FEC to start a marketing exercise to identify a registered provider housing partner, or partners, to help support the delivery of the affordable homes.

Hilary Brett, project director at FEC, said: “The creation of vibrant, diverse and inclusive neighbourhoods with a mixture of home types and tenures is essential in building sustainable communities. We need to develop our affordable homes delivery strategy on a larger, neighbourhood level, rather than building by building. Given the scale of the opportunity, we are looking for a partner, or panel of partners, to help shape our proposals and assist in the delivery of affordable homes in Red Bank.”

Cllr Suzanne Richards, MCC’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “First and foremost the Northern Gateway is for Manchester people. The project represents one of the biggest housing development programmes in the UK and it’s important that the homes are accessible to those who need them, across a range of house types and tenures. Affordability therefore must be a key tenet of the housing investment and bringing in a professional registered provider underpins that ambition.”

Nicola Rigby, director at Avison Young, said: “The wider potential to establish a partnership across the whole of Red Bank comprises one of the biggest urban affordable housing opportunities outside of London.”

The deadline for expressions of interest and soft market testing responses is Friday 2 October.

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