Manchester is among UK’s biggest cities allowing developers to plan huge new residential developments containing little or no affordable housing. An investigation by Guardian Cities investigation has revealed the findings.
In Manchester, none of the 14,667 homes in big developments granted planning permission in the last two years are set to be “affordable”. The planning documents are breaking its own rules, and leading to worries that London’s affordable housing crisis is spreading.
In Sheffield, house prices grew faster last year than in any other UK city, according to property portal Zoopla. Just 97 homes out of 6,943 (1.4%) approved by planners in 2016 and 2017 met the government’s affordable definition. That says homes must either be offered for social rent (often known as council housing), or rented at no more than 80% of the local market rate.
In Nottingham, where the council aims for 20% of new housing to be affordable, just 3.8% of units given the green light by council planners meet the definition.
Manchester has recently been named by Deloitte as one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. Property in the city now sells three times as quickly as in London. Planners have routinely waved through huge new developments – some containing swimming pools, tennis courts and more than 1,000 flats. Not one of the swanky apartments meets the national definition of “affordable”. This leads critics to accuse the council of social cleansing.
Others worry the city could become like London, where people on average salaries can no longer afford to live anywhere central. In central Manchester monthly rents have increased on average by more than £100 year on year, according to campaigners.