Build on brownfield land to meet housing targets, GMCA told

Greater Manchester should make more use of its brownfield sites if it is to meet its housebuilding targets and address its social housing waiting lists, a new report has revealed.

Research by the affordable housing developer Edaroth has identified 1,580 brownfield sites across Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs which could be used as sites for new homes.

These brownfield sites could be developed to deliver at least 119,000 of the 201,000 new homes targeted in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)’s 2019 – 2024 housing strategy, the developer said in a report.

The report said that the scale of unused brownfield land in Greater Manchester would also help the GMCA exceed the strategy’s target of 50,000 affordable homes – 30,000 of them social homes – and ‘eradicate’ its housing waiting list, which stood at just under 100,000 last year.

Mark Powell, Edaroth’s managing director said: “While the GMCA has a clear housing strategy in place, there is still a need to accelerate plans to provide affordable homes where people want to live, work and prosper.

“Much of the brownfield land in Greater Manchester is located within existing communities with better than average access to schools, healthcare and economic centres, providing and enduring more positive outcomes for residents and local authority landlords.”

Greater Manchester has 1580 brownfield sites which could be used as sites for new homes, with Manchester having the most such sites. Credit: Edaroth

Edaroth’s report, Unlocking The Greater Manchester Housing Challengefound that Manchester leads the way among the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs in its number of brownfield sites with 527 sites available, followed by Salford (278), Rochdale (151) and Oldham (145).

The report identified a total of 1580 brownfield sites in Greater Manchester, saying these could be used to produce a minimum of 119,379 homes, 19.5% more than the city region’s 2019 waiting list of 99,898.

Local authority housing stock in the city region has fallen by 77% in the last quarter of a century, from 263,571 homes in 1994 to 60,276 last year, while four of the 10 local authorities own no homes at all.

Edaroth has called on Greater Manchester’s local authorities to prioritise modern construction methods which can overcome the challenges of building on GM’s brownfield sites.

Councils should also focus on maintaining and improving their existing social housing stock to increase GM’s housing capacity, the report concluded.

Powell continued: “While we wait to fully understand the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 virus, we must try to prepare as much as possible for the resulting consequences while managing new and existing challenges.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been approached for comment on Edaroth’s report.

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