The Greater Manchester Law Centre believes that at the heart of almost all housing policy are two key questions:
- Is housing a human right or a commodity?
- Is housing for people or for profit?
A recent article in The Guardian looks at how developers in Manchester are intent on building more “sleek urban homes” whilst the city’s homelessness figures rise.
There are now almost 2,000 households living homeless in temporary accommodation in Manchester which is a six-fold increase over the last five years.
The city’s homeless population is more than 4,000, the highest rate in northern England, and nearly 13,500 households are on the social housing waiting list.
Desipte these outrageous numbers, only 28 social homes were built last year.
Here at GMLC we think that this is unacceptable and quite simply, there needs to be more publicly funded housing available.
However, as the Guardian revealed last year, across the 61 big residential developments granted permission by Manchester’s planning committee over the previous two years, not one of the 14,667 homes met the government’s definition of affordable, being neither for social rent nor offered at 80% of the market rate.
There are signs, however, that Mancunians’ vocal criticisms are beginning to have an impact. The first tower to include on-site affordable housing was secured earlier this year, in the form of the 30-storey Swan House, although it will still be only 5% of the total number of flats. Meanwhile, the council has started to make viability assessments public, and has introduced a “clawback mechanism”, for when developments turn out to be more profitable than expected. The council must have the confidence to insist on truly inclusive developments, with a higher calibre of design that respects the city’s fabric, otherwise the lifeblood of Manchester, the fuel in the powerhouse’s engine, will drain away.
The above is an extract from the original article which can be found here