‘Misguided’ Manchester regeneration causing housing and transport crisis, report says

Manchester faces a growing housing and transport crisis because of its ‘misguided’ developer-led regeneration approach, according to an Alliance Manchester Business School report.

The report says Manchester’s regeneration strategy over the past 30 years has focused disproportionately on new urban buildings, leaving the city with under-developed transport and social housing.

The Guardian reported earlier this year that none of the 15,000 new properties approved by planners in 2016 and 2017 were classed as ‘affordable.’

The report adds that private property developers have also failed to consider the transport and social infrastructures, such as schools, libraries and broadband.

It’s estimated there will be 110,000 new jobs created in the city by 2040, which will mean an additional 68,000 trips per year will be made on Greater Manchester’s public transport.

However, the report points out that subsidies to the city’s bus network, which carries the most passengers, are being reduced.

The report calls on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to create a long-term strategy that ‘focuses on citizens with consideration given to the region’s cultural and geographical diversity.’

Karel Williams, professor of accounting and political economy at Alliance Manchester Business School, who led the research team, said: ‘Nobody can argue that major progress has been made in regenerating Manchester’s city centre in the two decades since the IRA bomb, much to the city council’s credit.

‘However, regeneration is about more than just new buildings in the centre of Manchester – it should benefit all communities in the wider city region too.

‘The region now faces a growing crisis because while Manchester city centre is creating thousands of new jobs, many of them very well paid, transport and social infrastructure, such as housing in the outer areas, is failing communities and not delivering true regeneration.

‘This is a direct result of the misguided approach of developer-led regeneration.’

The report criticises central government for not backing Mayor Andy Burnham with greater powers and funding for housing and transport infrastructure improvements.

Ms Williams added: ‘The city centre has become too compact and developers are constantly looking for brownfield land on the outskirts, so we’re steadily seeing Manchester spill over into neighbouring boroughs.

‘While all of this inward investment has been encouraging, current regeneration plans and frameworks aren’t fit for purpose and fail to meet the basic requirements of communities.

‘For all Greater Manchester’s boroughs to thrive, we’re calling for a rethink in policy expertise at local government level. We need policymakers who have the granular knowledge of local circumstances and social needs to deliver what citizens truly need.’

Read the report here.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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