Combined authority unveils plans to bridge 6,000-homes-a-year housing shortfall

Planning Houses

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is considering launching an investment arm to help bridge the area’s 6,000-homes-a-year housing shortfall.

Developers are currently building fewer than 4,000 homes a year in the area, short of the 9,000 to 10,000 homes needed to house the region’s growing population.

In an executive meeting on Friday, the ten member councils of GMCA will consider plans to launch an umbrella development firm or “TopCo” charged with securing long-term funding for housing projects from UK and European public instiutions and investment and pension funds.

In agenda papers published in advance of the meeting, GMCA says the TopCo strategic housing organisation would “align closely” with work on the Greater Manchester spacial framework to ensure a pipeline of suitable sites for housing schemes.

Sue Derbyshire, chair of Greater Manchester’s planning and housing commission, said: “We want to give the best possible housing choices to our residents so we need to find new ways of delivering all sorts of homes - whether that’s rented homes, affordable homes or homes to buy.

“Greater Manchester will develop as a centre of excellence for housing development. There will be strong relationships with housing functions in our local councils and this centre of excellence will not replace those district functions - the Greater Manchester organisation will focus on housing development”.

The news came as the government launched the bid process for councils to bid for £200m of funding for housing schemes on brownfield land through its ‘housing zones’ policy.

Councils in England can bid for a share of the cash, which is designed to help create 10 ‘housing zones’ outside London.

Each zone should be large enough to deliver 750 to 2,000 properties. The government published bid documents last week, with councils given until 3 October to submit expressions of interest.

A separate bidding process for a £400m pot for 20 housing zones in the capital is already underway.

Official government statistics published last week showed 36,230 housing starts in the second quarter of this year, 18% up on the same period in 2013.