Greater Manchester is 10th in the world for inward investment according to the latest IBM rankings and applauded at pro-manchester’s annual Property and Regeneration lunch.
Held at The Lowry Hotel, over 150 senior professionals attended the event featuring two expert panels focusing on the future of housing and investment into property in Greater Manchester.
Bruntwood’s Heather Gray, Together’s Alex Garland and Gerry Brough, Corporate Director of Place at Bolton Council joined Tim Newns – CEO of Manchester’s inward investment agency MIDAS to discuss how Greater Manchester is performing within the investment, property and regeneration arenas, globally:
- 170th by population
- 151st by economy / 54th by perception
- 10th in the world for inward investment
The panel agreed that Greater Manchester’s strengths can be attributed to Place and People and identified as:
- the city region is high perceived in terms of performance
- the region is out-performing huge global cities for investment
- GCHQ’s investment at it’s new base at Heron House in Albert Square will host as many as 1,000 staff when it officially opens later this year stating that the idea of top secret intelligence work taking place in a city centre was “revolutionary”.
- LBGT – rank in the top 4
- Partnerships and a collaborative approach
Greater Manchester’s road and rail infrastructure along with proximity to the UK’s third largest airport provides excellent connectivity; Manchester is delivering on product in terms of logistics, office and residential accommodation and continues to do so as is apparent by the sheer number of cranes decorating the city’s skyline.
But inward investment and an ambitious strategy for growth and regeneration is not exclusive to the city of Manchester as Alex Garland, Corporate Relationship Director at specialist lender Together pointed out:
“Stockport is a great example of investment and regeneration outside of the city of Manchester.”
Gerry Brough, Corporate Director of Place at Bolton Council, who is heading up the town’s ‘grand masterplan’, agreed that the boroughs of Greater Manchester also provide ample opportunity for investors being more cost effective and unique places in their own right:
“There is optimism in keeping the momentum going; skills are hugely important and challenging but we also have great universities that are attracting international students, nurturing international relationships.”
Other than infrastructure and connectivity, where do we need to invest to maximise the opportunities that investment brings?
A recent survey showed that 72% of the city’s working population live outside Manchester & Salford. A more inter-regional transport infrastructure within 50 miles of Manchester city centre was called for
People, Places & Partnerships: key to the region’s success
Much in line with Stockport Council’s ambitious plans, including launching the region’s first Mayoral Development Corporation – MDC – Bolton’s ‘masterplan’ includes:
- A focus on convenience in moving people around the town easily
- Creating a vibrant town centre
- Taking 30% of retail out of the town centre over the next 3 years
- Increasing the residential offering
- Developing more grade A office space
- Developing a 4* hotel in the centre
The population of Greater Manchester is 2.8 million; where and how will new residential schemes house the growing population?
According to the political party’s manifestos, Labour plan to provide 100,000 new homes in the social / council housing / affordable categories per annum over the next 5 years; the Conservatives are promising 200,000 new homes each year including 1st home schemes and the Liberal Democrats have set a target of 300,000 new homes per year of which 100,000 would be for social rent.
In Greater Manchester approximately 12,000 new homes are built annually across the residential spectrum and for contrasting markets: from traditional house builders offering 3/4 bed homes in suburbia to social / council housing. Is there a gap to be exploited to provide more middle-ground residential developments?
How can we measure social value?
While social value cannot me measured in £s and pence, but a good barometer is when we look at what makes a place great.
While Manchester city centre’s residential offering may be thriving, people struggle to buy homes of lower value in some of the boroughs. But in Stockport, steps are being taken to address this with a more diverse plan for the development of Stockport Town Centre West offering a mix of homes, styles and tenures.
Development of the former Royal Mail sorting office in the town centre is underway to include over 90 1-bed apartments and 26 two-beds of around 800 sq ft available for private rent
Is there the facility to walk / cycle to work? Green spaces, parks and public realm – these impact upon a places perceived and actual social values.
Considerations in creating 21st century housing
Sociability – how people live – planners and developers need to define the audience’s social value
Diversity – we have a hugely diverse audience: an ageing population; more single people; empty-nesters downsizing; young people leaving care as well as the traditional markets
New communities – creating new urban communities, delivering new amenities and green spaces
Environmental – Clean Air Plans / reduction in carbon emissions /
The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework – GMSF – outlines Greater Manchester’s plans for homes, jobs and the environment.
Championed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the GMSF lays out the region’s ambitious vision for the future of Greater Manchester:
– a safe, decent and affordable home and a good job for everyone who lives here, with no-one forced to sleep on the streets
– resurgent town centres circling our vibrant city-centre and a reliable transport system that connects people to the job, cultural and leisure opportunities in both
– we want everyone to have green space to enjoy and clean air to breathe
Following public consultation, Mr Burnham committed to re-writing the first GMSF working with the 10 borough councils, according to three clear principles:
– a brownfield-first approach to the release of sites for development
– a new priority on town centres for more residential development
– a new drive to protect the existing Green Belt as far as possible