Miles Platting, Ancoats, and Collyhurst residents were out in force on Saturday 28th October to call for social homes to be built on a plot of land that has long been earmarked for community benefit.
Over 180 people attended the MPCAN family fun day where members also launched a city-wide campaign for more social homes to be built or brought into use across Manchester amidst a housing crisis in which more than 15,000 households are now on the waiting list for social housing in the city.
The Miles Platting PFI regeneration was justified to residents on the basis that there would be a Joint Services Centre providing a suite of NHS services and a Community Hub built at the intersection of Oldham Road and Varley Street behind the current location of Jigsaw Homes offices. This is the site where MPCAN leaders are calling for social homes to be constructed.
The Joint Services Centre was to include three GP practices; a pharmacy; chronic disease management, maternity and children’s health services; drugs misuse and sexual health services; counselling and therapy services; and breast screening and minor surgery. The Community Hub was supposed to incorporate: a new library; new sports facilities; advice and information; services for young people; spaces for community, recreation; and leisure use; and community outreach services.
There was also supposed to be retail facilities and a replacement swimming pool.
These facilities were never developed, and the community have experienced a net loss of 502 social homes following the regeneration (with 240 homes lost to demolition and others through right to buy). Meanwhile, the neighbourhood has been transformed into a landscape of private housing for sale and rent, with no shops or infrastructure to support this new population, creating a food desert, where residents must take two buses to access a supermarket or swimming pool.
Social Homes for Manchester Now!
As well as calling for social homes in Miles Platting, residents launched the Social Homes for Manchester Now! campaign by a coalition of social and climate justice organisations including Friends of the Earth Manchester, GM Tenants Union, Greater Together Manchester, Mustard Tree, Shelter, and Steady State Manchester.
The new spatial framework for Greater Manchester, Places for Everyone, is in the final stage of consultation on modifications which include the removal of specific reference to building social housing (in MM7.5). The new Local Plan for Manchester is being drafted and is expected to be published for consultation in Spring/Summer 2024. Together these policies will decide Manchester’s planning strategy and housing targets for the next 5-10 years.
Social Homes for Manchester Now! are calling on Manchester City Council to take on six key proposals in the context of these new strategic developments which were launched for the first time by Anne Worthington, MPCAN leader and local activist, on Saturday:
Anne Worthington, local resident and activist, launching Social Homes for Manchester Now! on Saturday 28th October in Miles Platting.
Social Homes for Manchester Now! – Six key proposals:
- At least 30% social homes to be included in all new developments of over 10 units to be enacted in local policy and enforced through the setting and enforcement of section 106 obligations.
- Stronger public accountability and scrutiny for the setting and enforcement of developer obligations to build new social housing.
- Establish a Commission on Social Housing for the City of Manchester.
- Create a specific policy for the promotion of Community Led Housing.
- Develop a practical strategy for the renovation/transfer of empty homes into homes for social rent.
- Ensure all new developments are climate and nature friendly.
MPCAN leaders are now working with other Community Savers affiliates across the city to bring residents together around this campaign and the plots of land in their own neighbourhoods that require Social Homes Now!
There were 14,912 households on the social housing waiting list in Manchester in 2022 and this figure is now likely to be significantly higher. Live tables on rents, lettings and tenancies, Table 600: numbers of households on local authorities’ housing waiting lists, found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-rents-lettings-and-tenancies. We would like to thank Dr Richard Goulding, University of Sheffield, for his support to MPCAN in accessing statistics, research, and information.