5 March 2018
A response from Whalley Range council candidate Issy Patience to a recent piece in the Manchester Evening News around the lack of affordable housing in Manchester.
I wanted to respond to the excellent article by Jen Williams written on 25th Feb, on the shocking revelation that no affordable homes are being built in Manchester.
The excuses from Bernard Priest that Section 106 charges are duly collected in order to improve local areas are true. However, he fails to tell everyone that these funds can sit unspent for many years. This money could be being used to improve the area sooner rather than later. It really angers me that nothing has been done for such a long time. The residential areas are being left behind and it's clear that Manchester City Council is selling off luxury apartments to the highest bidder and has been doing so for a long time.
Many people will have been aware of this shift but now seeing the numbers in black and white we are made keenly aware of the Conservative style commercially-driven planning policies that the Labour council are passing off in Manchester.
The Green Party sees the greatest unmet housing need as being for social housing, where rents are below market rates and can be covered by means tested benefit. The kind of 'affordable' housing that seemed to be talked about for city centre developments was not social and still left the need for this kind of housing unmet.
Whether this is down to the failure of planning policies or a failure of planners to ensure policies are adhered to, it seems clear that far more must be done to bring city housing development back into balance with people's needs. A quota for social and 'affordable' housing as part of every new development could help to achieve this.