Bernstein: Unreasonable behaviour will not stop housing

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Manchester City Council is willing to use compulsory purchase powers to deliver on its target of 55,000 new homes across the city by 2027, the council's chief executive has said.

Sir Howard Bernstein spoke this morning at the launch of Manchester Place, a joint venture between Manchester City Council and the Homes & Communities Agency. He was joined by Sir Richard Leese, leader of the council, and Deborah McLaughlin, North West executive director at the HCA.

Bernstein said: "Our focus is on ensuring that barriers to development are removed as much as possible. This includes using compulsory purchase powers, so that our ambitions are not constrained by any unreasonable behaviour."

He continued: "We are trying to change our front door to developers and investors."

The panel laid out plans to provide a "major stimulus" to residential development. Key tasks include working with landowners to get sites shovel-ready, assembling land where necessary, and using land resources and market intelligence of both the council and HCA to respond to government house building initiatives.

Receipts from land sales will be recycled for housing and associated developments supporting growth.

An annual investment plan will identify priority areas for public and private sector investment. These will be designated as investment action areas.

The launch of Manchester Place follows the recent announcement of £1bn investment from Abu Dhabi United Group over 10 years to support the development of 6,000 homes in Ancoats and New Islington.

At the event, Leese said: "In Manchester, the future isn't something that happens to us, it's something we make."

McLaughlin said: "Manchester Place captures the strong working relationship that has developed between the City Council and the HCA, and is a great demonstration of how we can jointly use pioneering investment models to stimulate growth. "By working closely in collaboration, we are ensuring that we support local strategic priorities – Manchester's population is growing enormously quickly, and this partnership will accelerate the supply of much-needed housing in the city."

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