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Looking to Manchester’s future with new housing and transport plans

Delivering at least 200,000 new homes and expanding the tram network are among the key parts of newly-announced plans for the development of Manchester.

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has earmarked a number of sites where a minimum of 201,000 new homes will be built by 2037, in line with government targets. That’s a reduction of more than 25,000 since the GMSF’s first draft, but with that 2016 proposal eating into 12,100 acres of Manchester’s Green Belt, a plan that has now been reduced by half.

Manchester, Trafford, Salford and Oldham will be the main focus of the drive for new homes, but Stockport features prominently amongst the GMSF’s other proposals. The town, second in Lendinvest’s recent survey of Britain’s Buy-to-Let hotspots, could see another 3,000 homes built to the west of its centre with Cushman & Wakefield appointed for a strategic regeneration framework.

Transport in the spotlight

But as well as measures to add much-needed housing stock to the area, improvements to the transport infrastructure have been proposed. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has put forward an expansion of the Metrolink on several fronts, some of which could potentially be delivered by 2025.

Extending the existing line that terminates in Ashton-under-Lyne out to Stalybridge is one proposal, and a similar extension to the Bury line to Middleton is another. With Media City a popular base for large employers, putting a tram line up to nearby Salford Crescent is suggested, as is taking the Trafford Line extension – currently under construction – out to Port Salford.

A tram-train system, where current Metrolink trams are adapted to run on the same rail lines as trains, forms a major part of the GMCA’s proposals. Tram-trains are currently being tested and plans to link Hale to Altrincham and Manchester Airport to Wilmslow are the first parts of a plan that could open up much of the existing rail network if approved.

Another spur of the tram network out to Terminal 2 at the airport is already subject of a bit by the GMCA. All the transport plans will be considered within the next five years, as part of a wider strategy looking ahead as far as 2040.

Manchester set for more growth

With the city’s population having jumped by 6% to 572,000 in the last three years, and with EY predicting employment will grow by 1.25 in the next three, Manchester is set to keep expanding.

With 36% of Mancunian-born graduates returning to their home city after their studies, and 69% of those who graduated in the city after studying there deciding to stay on, the need for more housing and infrastructure is clear.

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