MIPIM 2015: McLaughlin sets out Manchester Place vision

Jessica Middleton-Pugh in Cannes

Deborah McLaughlin, chief executive of the £1bn Manchester Place housing initiative, gave a strong message of support to developers, saying that the city was "absolutely serious" about extending its residential offer.

Manchester Place is a collaboration between Manchester City Council and the Homes & Communities Agency launched in July 2014 with the aim of creating a pipeline of development-ready sites to help the city meet its target of 55,000 new homes by 2027.

Speaking on the Manchester stand on Thursday morning, McLaughlin said: "There are 100,000 new jobs forecast for the city region, so housing demand is intense. Manchester has committed to building 55,000 homes, and we are absolutely serious about extending our residential offer."

McLaughlin gave an overview of Manchester Place plans, with repeated statements that the organisation was "here to work with you to bring forward viable schemes" as part of its goal to support the private sector to unlock sites and support sustainable communities.

This includes a £300m housing investment fund which McLaughlin said was due to go live in May, which will deliver recoverable loans or investment to smaller housebuilders to support around 15,000 new homes.

Part of the Manchester Place delivery programme is being brought forward by Manchester Life, a joint venture between Manchester City Council and Abu Dhabi United Group, owner of Manchester City FC, which aims to deliver 6,000 homes in Ancoats and New Islington in the next 10 years. Manchester Life announced the first of these sites to be brought forward earlier this week, with a planning application for 950 homes in New Union Street and Murrays' Mill due to be submitted next month.

Designs from Feilden Clegg Bradley for the Murrays' Mill scheme were revealed as part of McLaughlin's presentation as an example of the standard of homes due to be delivered.

"There is a lot of money and investors around, but we need to understand opportunities that they are looking for," McLaughlin explained.

"Quality needs to be at the heart of our development. We are absolutely pro-growth, and we need to work at pace to deliver numbers that are hugely ambitious. We have to do things differently to achieve that pace."

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