It’s a shame that the video below is set in Melbourne, Australia as this is an example of a truely world class city and one which we now need to compete with.
The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) is so badly communicated that most people who breath Manchester’s air don't have a clue what it is and how it is going to effect their lives. 500,000 more people moving into and living in our area is not going to improve our quality of life and it may have the adverse effect of businesses moving away due to the difficulties involved with trading. No quality business looking to provide quality jobs is going to want to invest in a city long term that has reached gridlock and one which is no more than a stressful pressure cooker.
As it stands, there’s a central Government requirement to build 225,000 new homes in Greater Manchester in the next 20 years or so, which is an unsustainable figure for Manchester given its poor transport network. The Victorian urban fabric of most of our areas simply cannot cope as we try to shoehorn developments into tight spaces. Personally, I have no problem with quality outfits making money, as long as cheaply built ‘shoe boxes’ don't count as housing units, particularly in our forgotten towns which have previously borne the brunt of badly thought-out development plans. The use of cheap materials to save money must surely be a non-starter as well, along with the appointment of building companies who think it’s OK not to buy into the apprenticeship scheme. The less well off areas in our region are most at risk here to house builders working on tighter margins per unit. We need strict rules as well as a plan.
For Manchester to achieve truly world-class city status, we need to make bold decisions which may involve flattening total areas to bring in a new wave of sustainability. The Green Belt isn’t sacrosanct, provided developers realise the need to blend in with the natural environment and understand the need for urban forests and gardens. If we do have to build 225,000 homes I think that should equal 50,000,000 new trees in our conurbation – and I don't think it’s unfair that companies building these homes should be made to take financial responsibility for cleaning our air. We also need to look at the tax issue of farmer's 'dropping the lottery' if and when we concede our greenbelt.
One of the biggest problems facing London is making sure that lower-paid key workers, such as carers, firefighters, police officers and nurses, can live near the city where they work. It’s crucial then that we clear an area in each major town to build affordable houses we can rent to these workers who are vital to our success, but who struggle to get on the housing ladder in areas from which they can easily commute. So yes, I’m in favour of local councils taking control over new build council-run houses, as this is one way to make sure house prices don’t move even further out of our children’s reach in all areas of Manchester. There would be no right to buy as we need to take the heat out of house price inflation.
As it stands in Manchester we have a golden triangle to the south of the city where developers are keen to cash in on executive builds of over £500,000. It would appear that other parts of Manchester are being offered cheaper housing which is only going to make the divisions of having and not having worse. The news for the wealthy areas however is that your children are being priced out of the golden triangle unless the bank of Mum and dad can help out with a deposit which is a threat to long term community cohesion.
Farmers being custodians of the countryside is an outdated fallacy now compounded by Brexit and the end of the common agricultural policy (CAP) subsidies. With no supplementary income the obvious option for many is to sell land to devolopers who offer the highest bid who will hold onto the land long term. Whoever takes ownership of our greenbelt once we have taken what we need has to be made responsible for cleaning our air. I therefore propose a forrest management plan where our farmers take an income from their new crop which will also provide much needed electricity for the city. Part of the GMSF has to be to make us energy self- sufficient by 2050.
The general rule is that Bad planning is never a good idea.