GM leaders find ‘insufficient evidence for uplift in housing need’
Planners and housebuilders have started to digest the latest draft of the eagerly awaited Greater Manchester Spatial Framework which opened for public consultation on Monday and shows a reduced annual housing delivery target despite improved economic growth forecast.
An earlier draft of the influential planning blueprint published by Greater Manchester Combined Authority in 2014 showed a housing need of 10,700 units a year based on economic forecast of 2.3% growth.
The latest version of the weighty paper which currently runs to more than 650 pages follows a growth forecast of 2.5%, mirroring the UK average, but reduces housing need to 10,300 a year compared to the earlier forecast of 10,700 units annually.
The report’s authors argue at length the cases for increased or reduced housing targets and weigh up different options for economic forecasts, the greatest being 3.3% if everything proposed in the Northern Powerhouse came to fruition, but conclude: “Given that the analysis of market signals suggests that there is insufficient evidence to justify any uplift in the housing requirement, it is therefore concluded that the objectively assessed housing need for Greater Manchester over the period 2014-2035 is 217,350 net additional dwellings, which is an average of 10,350 net additional dwellings per annum. This equates to an average rate of dwelling increase of 0.81% per annum.”
Dave Trimingham, director at planning consultancy Turley, responded: “It is good to see the consideration of a range of growth options including the higher growth rates that were put forward by the development industry in response to the previous consultation. However, two of the three options plan for lower levels of housing and employment development than the consultation in November 2014 and much lower proportionate growth than is being planned for in London and the South East. This is surprising given that the 2014 work took no account of Northern Powerhouse and the current consultation says it has done.”
Eamonn Boylan, Greater Manchester chief executive lead for housing and planning, said: “The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will help the city region to determine how we use land in future. This means outlining how many new homes we need and how much land is required for new businesses and employment but it also means looking at how we can do this in a way that creates attractive places that people want to live and work in.”
To take part in the consultation or to learn more about Greater Manchester’s Spatial Framework visit the GMCA website at www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/gmsf The consultation and call for sites will be open from 9 November 2015 to 11 January 2016. Experian and Oxford Economics advise GMCA.