Agenda item

Agenda item

Manchester Housing Strategy (2022-2032) - Annual Monitoring Report

Report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development)


This report provides an update on the progress made towards the objectives during 2022-23.


The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development) which provided an update on the progress made towards the Strategy’s objectives during 2022-23.


Key points and themes within the report included:


·         Increasing affordable housing supply and building more new homes for all residents;

·         Work to end homelessness and ensure housing was affordable and accessible to all;

·         Addressing inequalities and creating neighbourhoods where people wanted to live; and

·         Addressing the sustainability and zero carbon challenges in new and existing housing;


Key points and queries that arose from the Committee’s discussions included:


  • To welcome the ambition for the city and the progress being made, while recognising that there was significant work still to do and the challenges the Council was facing;
  • Domestic violence and the allocation of housing priority bands;
  • Barriers preventing local authorities from delivering more social and affordable housing;
  • The age of many buildings in Manchester and the challenges with retrofitting;
  • The definition of affordable housing;
  • The number of people on the waiting list for different types of properties; and
  • Consideration of access to amenities such as GPs and shops when planning new housing developments.


The Executive Member for Housing and Development reported that domestic abuse victims were classified as band one and he offered to provide further information on the allocations policy and how this was working.  He highlighted the progress in reducing the use of temporary accommodation. In response to Members’ comments, he stated that it was very important to develop on the city’s brownfield sites to deliver social and affordable housing, although there were challenges with contamination and viability.  He outlined the progress being made with retrofitting housing, while stating that more needed to be done and that some of this work was conditional on Government funding.  In response to a Member’s question, he highlighted that the Council worked with Arawak Walton, the largest independent black and minority ethnic (BME) Housing Association in the North West, which had a long history of working in central Manchester.


The Executive Member for Housing and Development reported that, for planning purposes, the Council had to use the Government definition of affordable housing but that the Council had introduced the Manchester Living Rent, which they believed was truly affordable, and which many of the Council’s partners were signing up to.  In response to a Member’s question about delays in construction of new developments, he advised that work had to start within three years of planning permission being granted.  He highlighted some of the challenges with this and stated that, in relation to partners within the Manchester Housing Provider Partnership (MHPP), the Council could have a positive dialogue on overcoming delays, but that this could be more challenging in the case of private developers.  In response to a Member’s question, he outlined some of the challenges that the Council’s partners were facing with building lower carbon buildings, including funding and the legal framework, while stating that MHPP partners had a strong commitment to delivering this and highlighting the mechanisms the Council had to enforce this.  The Strategic Director (Growth and Development) highlighted how, in relation to the private sector, the Council had to balance the need for more homes, the need for more affordable homes and the need for carbon net zero homes.


A Member who was also the Chair of the Environment, Climate Change and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee (ECCNSC), invited Committee Members to attend the 7 September meeting of her committee for an item on Housing Retrofit.  She clarified that targets related to zero carbon and not net zero carbon.  In response to a Member’s request for information on how much of the carbon reduction budget was being spent on housing, the Chair advised that it was likely that this would be considered by ECCNSC and that he would speak to the Chair of that Committee about it.


In response to a Member’s question, the Strategic Director (Growth and Development) reported that Homes England had experienced uncertainty in recent years about the capital funding they had available to deploy.  She highlighted the £150m of brownfield funding over three years to accelerate housing delivery as part of the Greater Manchester Trailblazer Devolution Deal, stating that this work was taking place in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the other nine Greater Manchester local authorities and Homes England.  She stated that Homes England also helped the city region with revenue funding for de-risking brownfield sites.  She welcomed that, following a recent announcement, the Affordable Homes Programme could now be used for the re-provision of social housing, which would be beneficial in areas such as Victoria North.  In response to a question from the Chair about what role the Council could play in enabling residents to access homes in open-market sales, where they were having to compete with investors, she stated that the Council had limited ability to influence this but, for developments where the Council was working in partnerships, such as joint ventures, it was expected that a significant amount of the homes would be for the benefit of Manchester residents.


In response to a question about supply and demand of housing, the Strategic Lead (Housing Strategy and Policy) reported that, due to population growth, there was an under-supply of approximately 500 homes per year in the city so an ambitious housing strategy was needed, considering the different types and tenure of housing needed, different income levels and constraints on the availability of land in different parts of the city.  In response to a question about the figure in the report on homes being built close to public transport, he clarified that this meant within 500m of a Metrolink, Rail or Bus Station, and not just a bus stop.


In response to a Member’s question the Head of Strategic Housing confirmed that the Enabling Independence Accommodation Strategy would include people with a physical disability.  In response to question about cladding, he informed Members about the Building Safety Group, which the Council had established immediately following the Grenfell Fire in London, stating that this had now developed into a Greater Manchester-wide group, led by the Fire Service, and that a lot of work was taking place in relation to building safety; however, he reported that there were hundreds of high rise buildings in the city, many with cladding and wooden balconies, and that some developers had still not signed the Government’s pledge to remove cladding.  He added that the next challenge would be the safety of medium-rise buildings.  He reported that there was information on the Manchester Move website about the number of households on the waiting list, including what band they were in and how many bedrooms they needed, along with estimated waiting times, and he offered to share this link with Members.


The Strategic Director (Growth and Development) acknowledged the Member’s comments about the provision of wider amenities in a city with a growing population.  She stated that population growth was monitored, using the Manchester City Council Forecasting Model, and she outlined some of the challenges with planning for amenities in areas with new housing developments, particularly where a number of housing developers were involved, stating that this included challenges with funding where the Government Departments wanted to see that increased demand was there before committing additional resources, rather than looking ahead to the impact of housing developments which were in the pipeline; however, she stated that for large scale development plans, such as Victoria North, the Council was trying to design this in from the outset.  The Director of Development reported that the district centre regeneration programmes also enabled new spaces to be created for healthcare infrastructure.  In response to a question from the Chair, he explained how the amount of Section 106 funding for housing affordability was calculated and that it could be used in a different area, reporting that the Council was keen to make the best use of this funding, prioritising social rents, more affordable tenures and low carbon homes.




That the Committee will receive an update on this work in the next municipal year.


[Councillor Johns declared a personal interest as someone affected by cladding issues, following a reference to this during the Committee’s discussion.]

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