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Manchester's plan to go it alone and build its first council homes since the 1980s

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 5 days ago Niall Griffiths

Manchester council has unveiled plans for more than 200 new homes as it looks to go it alone and build its own housing for the first time since the 1980s.

'This City' was set up by leaders last June with the aim of delivering at least 500 new homes a year for people on lower incomes - including families.

Building more affordable housing remains a key aim for the city, with numbers expected to exceed 7,500 by 2024, though critics still believe the authority should be doing more.

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Manchester council is already building social housing in north Manchester alongside the Far East Consortium as part of their £4bn joint venture Victoria North, formerly known as the Northern Gateway.

an empty road with trees on the side of a building: How 'Collyhurst Village' might look © Manchester Council/FEC How 'Collyhurst Village' might look

The market rent and 'accessible rent' housing proposed in the first phase of This City will be the first time that the council has taken on the role of housebuilder in decades.

Accessible rent is a type of tenure that will be created and controlled by Manchester council where homes are let at or below Local Housing Allowance levels.

These homes will be affordable to those who earn the average annual Manchester salary of £27,500, and will be subsidised by the profits from the market properties.

Two schemes offering both types of housing are currently in the early stages of development, according to a report going before the council’s executive on Wednesday.

The first project would see 122 apartments and townhouses built at an unspecified site in the Ancoats and Beswick ward, where there is an average of over 600 bids for each three-bedroom property that becomes available.

At least 37 of the homes will be let at an accessible rent. A full planning application is expected to be submitted in June 2022.

The second site in Piccadilly is said to be at a ‘less advanced stage’, with the council set to hold a competition to appoint an architect to design the scheme.

Up to 82 homes - including 17 to be let at an accessible rent - have been earmarked for the site, which has also not been identified.

Homes for sale at discounted and market rates could feature in future phases the This City development pipeline.

Manchester council’s executive will be asked to increase the £1.5 million budget for This City by £347,000 to cover design team fees until the end of this year.

The report says: “This City is initially going to build homes on council-owned sites which have remained vacant for a number of years providing net new supply housing in areas where demand is high and complimenting other regeneration initiatives taking place in the surrounding area.

“It is intended that there will be an element of family housing provided across the majority of schemes delivered through This City.

“This will diversify the housing market and develop mixed communities across a range of housing market areas.

“A significant proportion of the homes to be delivered by This City will be market rented.

“This City aims to offer a best in class lettings, maintenance and management function which will act as an exemplar for others to follow and be attractive to prospective residents.”

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