Manchester Move - A Bold New Housing Strategy

Fri 14 Dec 2018
Issue 13 crop

Manchester’s bold new housing strategy signals a change of direction for the city. As well as 3000 new and affordable homes over the next ten years, equally shared between social rent, shared ownership and affordable rent, it promises to revisit city centre affordability and a fresh focus on community led housing, design and modular housing.

Jon Sawyer, Manchester City’s Director of Housing and Residential Growth, just moved from Igloo Regeneration. His appointment and the new intake of councillors after the May elections, are clearly having an impact.

Involving residents to inspire and guide the design of new buildings will be explored as one of the new policy ideas, although community-led housing is hardly new for the North West. The first ever co-operative housing was built in Spotland Road, Rochdale by the Rochdale Pioneer Land and Building Company in 1861. The new strategy commits to explore the feasibility of at least 3 community-led housing projects on council land providing a minimum of 30 affordable homes in total. At least one of these will be led by older people. Another aim is to develop a strategy to unleash the potential for community-led housing of all tenures across the City by Summer 2019.

How will the housing strategy bring about design improvements?
Citing the 2016 Manchester Residential Design Guide as an exemplar local policy, the strategy underlines the need to send out a strong signal with its own council house building activity. It focusses on aspects of delivery such as design and build contracts and procurement. There is a serious intent and a real understanding of how to bring about change.

Jon Sawyer, recently interviewed by Architects Journal,  stated that the new areas of innovation he has earmarked would not be rushed. He said: 'What we have to do is carefully work our way through the gears of advancing our design aspirations and introducing the aspirations that I described in a way in which we continue to deliver and we progressively innovate’.

Cover image: Wikipedia

Until next week. Please make sure to send in your ideas to info@designnetwork.org.uk
Author: Jane Briginshaw, Design England

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