Housing: A clear priority for the Northern Powerhouse

Housing: A clear priority for the Northern Powerhouse

Recent discussions at the annual UK Northern Powerhouse international conference identified the substantial requirement not only for infrastructure investment, but for a huge focus on housing throughout the north.

Whilst discussions were centred around the delivery of key transport infrastructure, housing was determined just as integral to successful growth for the economy. Transport infrastructure must not be planned in isolation, but in conjunction with housing projects.

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Richard Green, director at global infrastructure services firm AECOM, believes plans for improving existing housing stock, strengthening communities and building new homes will need to be considered now if long-term balanced UK economic growth is to be achieved.

By creating sustainable, desirable and well-connected communities, areas that are more likely to attain the levels of investment and infrastructure improvement will be able to both attract and retain the best talent, further bolstering the local economy.

Green explained that with planning already underway for major new transport schemes across the north, local and regional authorities are under pressure to “develop long-term strategic growth plans that open the potential for housing along route corridors”.

The increase in passengers onto the infrastructure, combined with the inevitable social and economic benefits provide a clear, unbalanced argument in favour of aligning housing with transport infrastructure.

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Stating that housing is vital to economic growth and must become a Northern Powerhouse priority, Green expressed that “it must not be overlooked in decision making around the allocation of funds associated with the Northern Powerhouse. A rebalance of the economy can only be achieved if city and regional authorities in the north successfully create well-connected communities close to transport links.“

The Northern Powerhouse is home to over 15 million people and one million businesses. It comprises some of the world’s highest ranking universities and seven international airports. With a £316 billion economy in 2015, Northern Powerhouse boasts an economy similar in size to that of Belgium, which minister Andrew Percy said he was keen to surpass.

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