UKREiiF panel Joanne Roney, UKREiiF, c PNW

Joanne Roney was one of the panellists for a mini seminar on the residential sector at UKREiiF on Tuesday. Credit: PNW

UKREiiF | Delivering enough affordable housing one of Manchester’s biggest challenges, says Roney

Even with the projected 10,000 affordable homes set to be built by 2032, there will still likely be an undersupply to suit the needs of a growing city, according to city council chief executive Joanne Roney.

Roney was speaking at a panel session delving into the demographics and economics of the residential sector at UKREiiF on Tuesday. The Leeds-based property convention has an attendee list of 12,000+, bringing together the public and private sectors from across the country to discuss key issues.

Housing is one of those, particularly affordable housing delivery.

“I see that as the biggest challenge,” Roney said. “How do we get the right homes at the right price, built at the right scale and pace, in the right part of Manchester that will keep pace with a growing city – a globally significant city? That is what we’re seeking to do.”

Adding to complications is the desire at Manchester City Council to not compromise on sustainability or public realm ambitions either – both of which add to the price tag. Roney pointed out that of those 10,000 affordable homes to be built by 2032 (as outlined in the Manchester Housing Strategy), 80% are to be on brownfield land.

“That is one hell of a challenge,” she said.

Roney and her fellow panellists Aviva Investors’ Imogen Ebbs, CBRE Investment Management’s Ann Xu, Vigo Group’s Tariq Shah, and HUB’s managing director Damien Sharkey all agreed that public-private partnership is the way forward.

“Partnership is the bread and butter of delivery,” Xu quipped.

Shah added that the world of partnerships was changing too, with the private sector needing to take a share of the risk. “We’ve got to be more grown-up about those conversations…,” he said.

“If we’re going to share some risk, which we need to do in certain circumstances, we also have to be prepared to share some of the upside,” he continued.

And while discussions can get heated, Roney pointed out that there is no need to “fall out” as everyone wants what is the best outcome for a place.

“Why would we fall out? We should only be in partnership because we want to do right, don’t we?” she said.

“We need the private sector to bring in investment. We need the private sector to do the delivery. I want to build the best city in the world. What are we going to fall out about? We’re going to find a way through it, aren’t we?”

Leaning to Manchester specifically, Roney spoke about how the city council is also changing its approach to delivery – rather than focussing on creating new neighbourhoods, it’s looking at how to create new towns.

Holt Town is a prime example of that, she said. The 4,500-home masterplan for 74 acres of brownfield in East Manchester calls for a “town within a city”.

“It’s easier to put affordable housing in areas outside what is traditionally seen as the city centre,” she said. “You can only make that an offer if we’re also investing in infrastructure and connectivity – and we can only do that when we’re aligning housing investment with investment in schools, investment in GPs and health facilities.”

UKREiiF continues through 23 May at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Stay up-to-date on the latest coverage of the convention on our UKREiiF news hub.

Your Comments

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There hasn’t been a single decent house built in Manchester for years

By Anonymous

Did I just detect Joanne Roney positioning Manchester to do a new town using the city’s brownfield assets, is that a bridge into Rayners somewhat vague national housing strategy.

By Rich X

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