Manchester City Council

Workers' Housing

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit EDM, a company based in Newton Heath, to mark the start on site for an extension to their existing factory. EDM employ lots of engineers, they make stuff and they sell it all over the world. What they make is pretty sophisticated - mainly full-size replicas of big bits of aircraft digitally enhanced to give an inflight experience without ever leaving the ground, and used principally for cabin crew training. In a competitive market the company is thriving through quality and innovation and shows that manufacture at the smart end of the spectrum is still a major part of our economy.

Our growing economy has put even more pressure on housing and with a failure of housing supply to keep up with demand. It is still the case that the city needs more of every sort of housing and it is on that basis we ought to welcome the new wave of apartments being built in and around the city centre. Of course they don't meet all the housing needs that Manchester residents have. Yet, partly as a result of City Council planning policies, they have good space standards, an increasing number with three ( or more ) bedrooms, meet good environmental standards, and do meet the housing needs of one important sector of our population. Small and medium size companies are flourishing, particularly in the city centre, and are fuelled largely by a highly skilled and youthful ( ie younger than me ) population.

City centre living is not just for younger people and I know a fair few people who have retired to the city centre but it is fair to say the average city centre resident is a lot younger than me. The city centre is host to 19% of all the jobs in Greater Manchester, the next biggest concentration being Trafford Park with just 3%. Those SMEs are predicted to add another 16,000 jobs by 2020 and those young workers need somewhere to live. Most of the new city centre flats, far from being for the wealthy, are for these city centre workers who are building a new economic future for the city.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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