The This City housing development company – wholly owned by Manchester City Council - has formally launched today (Friday 4 February) to accelerate the number of new homes for Manchester people.
Schemes developed through This City will focus on high quality, low-carbon homes and will deliver a mix of accessible rent and market properties – with the latter helping to subsidise the development of homes priced at or below the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate. This means they will be accessible to people in receipt of housing benefit.
The first development site on Rodney Street in Ancoats has been unveiled as the first project by the new company, with Wates Construction appointed as the lead contractor responsible for delivering the 128 apartments and townhouses – 30% of which will be for accessible rent.
All future This City developments will include a minimum of 20% accessible rented homes on completion, which will be available at or below the Local Housing Allowance level.
This City is a new concept that will allow the Council to take control of part of the affordable housing delivery pipeline for the city and has the ambition to scale up to deliver up to 500 new homes each year – thereby increasing the number of accessible rent homes available to Manchester people.
Manchester is currently on track to exceed the city’s ambitious target to help build 6,400 new affordable homes between 2015 and 2025 – accounting for at least 20% of the city’s pipeline of 32,000 homes. Now, more than 7,000 affordable homes are expected to be built by 2025.
The Rodney Street development will also include high quality facilities for residents, with public green space accessible to all being a key element of the final proposals, complementing the wider public realm proposals for the local area.
The Rodney Street site forms part of a coordinated phase of development by the City Council, Manchester Life Development Company and Great Places across four underused sites in the Poland Street area of Ancoats and two sites in New Islington to deliver over 400 new homes to meet a range of housing needs in support of Manchester's housing requirements, and space for more local businesses and the community.
This phase builds on recent regeneration successes to further the evolution of Ancoats into a sustainable neighbourhood that is even more attractive to people and families keen to settle and stay in the area.
Wates Construction, which is part of the leading privately-owned construction, residential development, and property services company Wates Group, will work closely with its Technical Excellence Centre to design and build homes using the latest technology and construction materials. It will create energy efficient properties that not only ensure lower energy costs for residents, but also contribute to Manchester’s 2038 Zero Carbon ambitions.
The project builds on Manchester City Council’s existing relationship with Wates Group, which has seen Wates Residential and Wates Living Space deliver a number of schemes in the city including Ben Street and the Manchester Housing Investment Fund project.
A consultation is open now about the Rodney Street scheme, which will be open until 27 February
Planning applications for the Rodney Street site are expected to be submitted in Summer 2022.
Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:
“Manchester has some ambitious and radical plans to see more homes built in our city that everyone can afford. Every resident in our city should have access to a good quality home and Manchester is leading the way in building our own homes as part of this.
“Seeing more homes at accessible rent is a real challenge in the city centre, so we’re building our own. That’s why I’m really pleased to launch This City with the development plan for Rodney Street, helping to meet demand for accessible rent homes.
“There is a lot more to come from This City. We will grow the potential of the company to deliver around 500 properties each year, using Council-owned land to maximise our investment in new housing. And we hope to bring forward new sites quickly – so watch this space.”
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and employment, said:
“Our bottom line is that everyone in this city deserves a safe, secure and decent home, and as Manchester continues to grow, we also need to increase the number of affordable rent and low carbon homes for Manchester people on lower incomes.
“This City will help us meet this demand, giving us a development vehicle for the first time to deliver the homes the city needs on our own terms.”
Dave Saville, Regional Director for Wates Construction North West, said:
“We are excited to transform this currently unused plot of land into sustainable, accessible homes that put local people first. We will be working closely with Manchester City Council, the local supply chain and residents to develop designs that meet the needs of Mancunians and deliver a legacy that lasts.
“The Rodney Street development will not only help us to tackle the UK’s housing shortage, but through innovative methods of construction it will also support Manchester and its residents in reducing their energy consumption and contributing to a more sustainable future.”