Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s planning and housing portfolio holder, has said more must be done to enable housebuilding in the region.
A report from think tank Resolution Foundation this week revealed that Greater Manchester has experienced the sharpest decline in home ownership of any city in England, which Farnell dubbed “a damning indictment of national housing policy”.
The proportion of homeowners in Greater Manchester dropped from 72% in April 2003 to 58% this year.
Farnell took over from Cllr Sue Derbyshire as GMCA’s housing spokesman after the Stockport councillor lost her seat in May’s local election.
He said: “Home ownership should not be put beyond the reach of a whole generation because it has traditionally been viewed as giving people a real stake in society.
“Notwithstanding the importance of high-quality rental property, we need more action and investment from the government to reverse this worrying decline. Greater Manchester authorities are doing what they can within their current restraints but housing policy needs an urgent review to address the problems that are leaving so many people frozen out of the housing market.
“We will continue to work hard to address these issues, and to press the government to do more, particularly to ensure the right levels of funding are in place.”
GMCA is in the process of creating a spatial framework for the borough, which will define housebuilding levels for the next 20 years. The three options are 7,300, 10,350 or 16,000 new homes a year. Campaign group Housing the Powerhouse, a coalition of housebuilders, businesses and residents, is highlighting the benefits of going for the higher target of 16,000 to meet the high need for homes in the conurbation.
According to Housing the Powerhouse, 1,500 residents across Greater Manchester, including many young first time buyers, are backing its campaign. The draft version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is due to be published in the autumn.