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Brownfield land identified for less than half of housing need in Greater Manchester

Less than half of Greater Manchester’s housing need can be met on brownfield land, according to recently submitted local authority registers.

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Brownfield land registers have identified sites for less than half of Manchester’s housing need #ukhousing

Greater Manchester will need a lot of development on greenfield land to meet its housing targets #ukhousing

Research by planning consultancy Barton Willmore revealed that sites identified as suitable for housing in brownfield land registers prepared by local authorities in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) area could fulfil just 44% of the area’s requirements for housing. Brownfield is land which has previously been developed.

The research found that under current plans the 1,246 identified brownfield sites could deliver 100,103 homes against a need for 227,200 homes by 2035.


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This target was set by the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) in October 2016. The GMSF is a joint plan between councils in Greater Manchester to provide land for jobs and new homes.

The research also revealed that more than half (60%) of the brownfield sites identified to deliver homes don’t yet have full planning permission and approval for redevelopment, with only 40% having obtained permissions.

The research showed that Manchester City Council is the only member of the GMCA to demonstrate that more than 70% of its GMSF target can be delivered on brownfield land.

For sites identified in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford, less than 30% of each authority’s GMSF target for homes on brownfield land can be demonstrated.

The government required each local authority in England to publish a register of brownfield land suitable for housing by 31 December 2017.

Greg Dickson, planning director at Barton Willmore, said: “Looking at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, while a large number of sites have been identified it is clearly not enough to meet the identified housing need for the city region. This picture is echoed up and down the country.

“What the brownfield land registers do is help us to establish the extent of the shortfall so we can carefully consider through a plan-led system, how and where additional housing should be delivered.”

Steve Rumbelow, lead chief executive for housing, planning and homelessness at the GMCA, said: “Brownfield registers are a subset of available brownfield, which in turn is just one element of wider land supply. The registers therefore represent only part of the total potential land supply for new homes.

“[GMCA] will publish an update of our baseline land supply in the coming weeks; it forms part of our wider strategy focused on optimising the use of urban land and regenerating town centres across our city region.”

Update: at 16.47pm, 09/01/18: A comment from the GMCA was added to the story.

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