Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

Government withdraws £68m housing deal

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The Government has told Greater Manchester that the City Region will no longer be receiving a £68m brownfield housing fund, following the reduction of housing targets included in the rewritten Spatial Framework.

The Outline Housing Package, agreed in 2017, included a land fund of up to £50m to support the remediation of brownfield land, £10.25m to deliver affordable homes at the Collyhurst estate, and £8m in capacity funding to support setting up a delivery team.

The money and powers were offered on the basis that Greater Manchester provides 227,200 homes over a 20-year period, a figure included in the previous draft of the GMSF and the Greater Manchester Industrial Strategy.

Following the rewrite of the GMSF, the figure has been reduced to 200,980 homes. It is understood that as this is 11% below the previous figure, the Government has written to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority confirming that the deal is no longer on the table.

Greater Manchester leaders, including Mayor Andy Burnham, have defended the change as a response to the reduction in Green Belt release in the plan, and have criticised Government for sending mixed messages about population estimates, and the level of autonomy each region should have to set its own targets.

Talking to Place North West during MIPIM, Burnham said that while civil servants had set “a hard line” that if Greater Manchester didn’t stick to the higher housing numbers it would lose the £68m funding, Housing Minister Kit Malthouse had then suggested it was wrong for Government to pressure local authorities to deliver specific targets.

Without the Housing Package, the City Region is still able to access funding from Homes England, which includes a £600m small sites fund to support councils and developers to release smaller sites.

According to the Housing the Powerhouse coalition of housebuilders and land promoters, which has consistently called for higher housing targets, the decision by Government is an opportunity for GM politicians to negotiate an “even better deal”.

Housing the Powerhouse spokesman Rob Loughenbury, of Lexington Communications, said: “The development industry supports the creation of a GM Plan, including the focus on promoting high quality, healthy and affordable communities.

“We also recognise the difficult political compromises that have had to be made. But we have consistently argued that the assessment of overall housing need is not aligned with the Combined Authority’s more ambitious statements about economic growth. It would be a shame and a significant backwards step if Greater Manchester has lost its £68m brownfield housing package as a result of this.

“If the housing deal is no longer on the table, Greater Manchester must rise to the challenge of negotiating a fresh housing package that reflects its ambition to tackle the housing crisis and support the growth of a global city. The question of overall housing need should be revisited, along with whether the right mixture of homes is planned to meet the aspirations of residents.”

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Burnham is waste of space. His new plan has just cost the region £68 million. Just so he can pander to the middle class, who don’t want to lose their view.


The government probably need that cash to bribe the DUP into supporting their shoddy Brexit deal! Either that or Crossrail 2…. It was naive to think the government would give money to the north anyway. We’re second class citizens…

By Anonymous

This is what the people of Greater Manchester wanted


Agreed PDM, but this Govt has made it very clear that it doesn’t want to and won’t listen to what ‘the people’ want :|

By MancLad

Drop in the ocean compared to the number of houses. GM is right to do what is right for GM – government bribe or no bribe

By Bribey Bri

Love the comments blaming Andy B as if this was wasn’t a direct result of what the people of GM wanted. Point your finger at central government, which has once again essentially said “forget the people, it’s what we want or nothing”.

By Daveboi

Give the Government half a chance not to give money to the north and they’ll jump at it.

By Anonymous

It’s the NIMBY vote that has won here, not the people of Manchester. Weak Councillors and a weak mayor have bottled it.

The people of Manchester didn’t ask for less housing and higher house prices.


You do realise that this £68m was from the so called brownfield housing fund and it was meant to support derisking and accelerated construction at such brownfield sites?

The reduction of house numbers in the GMSF is due to a reduction in green belt release.

Yes, blame Andy Burnham for listening to the people.

By Anonymous

Yes, but by reducing the total number, it has resulted in the loss of the money.

Yes, Manchester should still get the money, and yes the Government loves to take money away from the north, but by being bullied by the middle class NIMBY’s in “Cheshire” (not the people), and changing the plan, we have lost £68 million.


What’s not mentioned here’s is that I understand the government also rejected flexibility on the £300m housing fund in the same letter, this possibly nearly as important as the loss of the £68m, interesting

By Seaweed

Don’t think anyone was bullied. Just Burnham playing the populist card to secure a very well paid job.

By Just saying

Interesting quid pro quo game being played by gov.

The reduction in numbers was to pacify suburban communities and their tinpot councillors. Yet the effect will be stop the development of housing on brownfield land which is mainly in the inner city – a double blow.

This to me illustrates why an elected mayor for greater Manchester is so vital. Greater Manchester is an INTEGRATED housing, employment, commercial and labour market. You can’t have these suburban NIMBYs thinking they’re somehow separate to the rest of the city. Burnham needs to double down on reinforcing the Greater Manchester-wide nature to this plan and ensure all areas take their fair share of housing and articulate a positive, conurbation-wide vision that talks as much about design, infrastructure and public amenities. Something has clearly gone badly wrong in communicating the GMSF.

But the housing developers also need to play their part. If they want higher numbers (and in general higher numbers are a good thing for the region’s prospects), they need to show they are genuinely committed to building attractive, sustainable, well designed housing and neighbourhoods, not merely the usual ugly sprawl of expensive-to-buy, cheaply built, ‘executive’ noddy boxes, starved of amenities and poorly served by infrastructure.

If GMSF is to pass we need a genuine partnership between the public and private sectors to make the positive case for housing; high quality housing, how it will be funded and then communicated properly. As it is, just talking about numbers is setting the political process against the plan.

By House by Mouse

Marrying the needs of Harpurhey and Hale Barns was never going to be easy. Manchester is not blessed with particularly attractive inner-city areas unlike London which has beautiful Georgian squares which professional people continue to gentrify. For brownfield sites to become appealing the current housing stock would need to be completely bulldozed. Schemes like Timekeepers square in Chapel street in Salford are the way forward but these are rare developments and then the affordable housing issue is raised again. Building Lego as they have done in Hulme is not going to get the Middle classes out of Didsbury and Ramsbottom. The plans for Collyhurst are ambitious but which demographic will this attract?

By Elephant

Cracking debate on here. Some very good points raised by Elephant, House by Mouse and By Just Saying.


That’s very sad news and highlights how little the government cares about the responsibilities we have to care for the environment, protecting greenbelt is a very big part of that and it’s not about having a nice view. Brownfield sites must be used first.

By Amber

You cant dictate to developers to use brownfield sites, they will not build unprofitable schemes.

By Anonymous