There are some major proposals in the pipeline for Manchester, including a strategy for the housing industry and a move towards greener living. As plans start to take shape, how can we expect the city to change?
They may have been years in the making, with several updates and changes along the way, but plans to transform Greater Manchester are now a step closer to fruition.
Last week, city leaders unveiled their latest vision for the city, which takes the impact of the past few months into account. A consultation will take place in October and November to finalise plans with stakeholders. This includes the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, as well as the Clean Air Plan for the city.
Building better homes, as well as improving the private rented sector, are top priorities. As well as creating more jobs and improving the economy, the plans intend to create a “happier, healthier” place to live.
Emerging from the crisis
One key update in the latest proposals takes changes surrounding COVID-19 into account. Manchester has suffered similar struggles to the rest of the country during the crisis. But now is an opportunity to reshape the city’s future, said Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
He added: “Greater Manchester has always been a place of progressive thinking, where we work together to achieve our potential. We are now taking action to deliver real clarity about where we are going as we emerge from this crisis. We want quality homes, quality jobs, and space that allows us all to live happier, healthier lives.”
Burnham believes that Greater Manchester can now build back “cleaner, greener and better”, adding: “We want this future to be shaped by the people who live and work here. These plans will allow us to progress our plans to achieve our long-term ambitions, working together across our 10 local councils, to build a strong recovery while reducing inequalities.”
The Spatial Framework intends to make the city a more attractive place to invest and do business. this city is already one of the top business districts in the world. The proposals included in the plan should further enhance the region’s reputation.
The city’s housing strategy
Greater Manchester’s plans for improving the region’s housing involve a range of proposals. One major part of the proposal is improving the lives of private tenants. By driving up standards in the private rented sector, this will also enhance the business opportunities of landlords operating there.
The local authority is making a case for more devolved powers and a local approach. This could involve bringing in selective licensing where necessary, to keep rogue landlords at bay.
The housing plan also looks at pathways for retrofitting and reducing fuel poverty across the city. It proposes a clear approach to ensure that houses of all tenures can be retrofitted to improve energy efficiency. The private rented sector will be a key target of this. The council is currently developing finance and delivery mechanisms to push this plan forwards over the coming years.
A greener future
One aim of the Clean Air Plan is to lower air pollution to within legal limits by 2024. This includes having the largest Clean Air Zone outside London. There are also other measures in the plan to reduce emissions and encourage businesses to become cleaner and greener.
Local authorities will also commit to supporting businesses ahead of the Clean Air Zone. This may involve offering grants or financing to fund low-emission vehicles, for example. The government has already promised £41m for the region’s businesses, sole traders and voluntary sector.
According to Councillor Andrew Western, road traffic has reduced massively in recent months. This is of course mainly due to the coronavirus outbreak, but he believes it could spark long-term change. Walking and cycling journeys have increased, and he believes we should “grasp these benefits” for a sustainable recovery.
He added: “We know that people want to see further improvements to cleaning up our air, and we are committed to doing this as quickly as we can while supporting our businesses, to make sure they can upgrade to cleaner vehicles ahead of the introduction of the proposed Clean Air Zone.”