Property industry dismayed as voters reject TIF package

Michael Hunt

Greater Manchester residents in all ten local authority areas have voted 'No' in the TIF referendum.

The Yes campaigners included many property firms who believed the £3bn investment package would have helped Manchester develop as a world-class city.

Simon Reynolds, director at GVA Grimley, led the disappointed responses: "The 'no' result of the referendum will negatively affect the commercial property market in the longer term. Initially, in the years preceding the commencement of the charging and installation of infrastructure, there will be little impact."

He added: "In the longer term, without its enhanced public transport infrastructure, the city misses a huge opportunity to gain competitive edge and secure its profile as a sustainable European city. This will slow down the emergence of Manchester as the second, or possible alternative, to London as the UK office location."

The referendum attracted a 53.2% turnout. The results (see below) show an overwhelming rejection of the package.

Mike Redshaw of Nolan Redshaw added: "The resounding 'No' vote was inevitable. The general public, when faced with such a vote, in the vast majority of cases, vote according to their own transport needs, rather than looking at the bigger picture.

"The outcome has come despite the good intentions and efforts of a large section of the property industry, who recognise the necessity for better infrastructure to serve the needs of the city. Individuals who work in property are accustomed to planning ahead and taking a long view; a view which is totally at odds with many of Manchester's commuters. One major fault in the 'vote yes' campaign and perhaps a reason for the disappointing outcome, was failing to get the message across that the charges would not be brought in until 80% of the infrastructure was in place.

"The property industry, by and large, understands the need for strong infrastructure to Manchester a truly successful city able to compete with its European counterparts. Unfortunately this was not enough, as it only comprises a small percentage of the vote."

David Hughes, senior partner at Altrincham-based architecture practice Pozzoni, added: "The Partners of Pozzoni had in-depth discussions about the TIF Vote and we were fully supportive of the investment that it would allow for the Greater Manchester region. As one of the largest employers in Altrincham, with staff numbers close to 100, we have found the link to Manchester through the current metro system of massive benefit and if the congestion charge were to allow more spending in areas like this then we saw it as a plus. We're disappointed therefore in the 'no' vote and hope it won't be the last opportunity to deliver the public transport improvements that the region needs."

The package voted on would have led to nearly £3bn of investment in public transport.

Motorists driving in and out of Manchester city centre during peak times would have been faced with congestion charges of up to £5 as part of the plans.

The full result:

Yes 43,593
No 113,064
Rejected votes 250
Turnout 46.1%

Yes 20,529
No 76,910
Rejected votes 167
Turnout 48.8%

Yes 16,563
No 64,001
Rejected votes 94
Turnout 57.4%

Yes 17,571
No 68, 884
Rejected votes 141
Turnout 54.4%

Yes 17,333
No 61,686
Rejected votes 118
Turnout 50.8%

Yes 14,603
No 79,326
Rejected votes 105
Turnout 57%

Yes 24,090
No 103,706
Rejected votes 169
Turnout 59%

Yes 16,323
No 83,105
Rejected votes 124
Turnout 60.7%

Yes 20,445
No 83,568
Rejected votes 142
Turnout 63.6%

Yes 27,810
No 78,565
Rejected votes 132
Turnout 45.3%

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