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Manchester's regeneration plans ‘not fit for purpose’, warns report

Manchester image by stacey macnaught
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Manchester could face a homes and transport crisis by 2040 unless the city rethinks its urban policy, a study by the University of Manchester’s business school has said

According to the report, an influx of ‘misguided’ private development over the past 30 years has concentrated efforts disproportionately on building flats in the city centre.

This boom, reports the AJ’s sister title Construction News, coincided with less focus on building social infrastructure such as transport and schools, which is likely to come under strain in coming decades, the analysis added.

Alliance Manchester Business School professor of accounting and political economy Karel Williams, who led the research team, said: ‘Nobody can argue that major progress has been made in regenerating Manchester’s city centre in the two decades since the IRA bomb, much to the city council’s credit.

‘However, regeneration is about more than just new buildings in the centre of Manchester – it should benefit all communities in the wider city region, too.

‘But transport and housing are failing communities in the outer boroughs. This is a direct result of the misguided approach of developer-led regeneration.

‘For all Greater Manchester’s boroughs to thrive, we’re calling for a rethink in policy expertise at local-government level. We need policy-makers who have the granular knowledge of local circumstances and social needs to deliver what citizens truly need.’

The report has called on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to create a long-term strategy that focuses on the city’s social wellbeing across the 10 boroughs.

The report’s authors also criticise central government for failing to hand councils and new metro mayors greater powers and funding for transport improvements, housing and other infrastructure improvements.

It is estimated that an additional 68,000 trips per year will be made on Greater Manchester’s public transport by 2040. However, the report states that subsidies to the city’s bus network, which carries the most passengers, are being reduced.

Meanwhile, nearly 50,000 new and mostly private homes are planned in central Manchester by 2040 – yet some 80,000 people are currently on Greater Manchester’s social housing waiting list.

Williams added: ‘The city centre is increasingly built over, and developers are constantly looking for brownfield land on the edges of the centre or greenfield development in the outer boroughs.

‘Current regeneration plans and frameworks aren’t fit for the purposes of controlling and limiting development in the interests of communities.’

Main image courtesy of Tecmark

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