Minister Claims Housing Targets For Greater Manchester Are Not "Mandatory"

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 7:20am

By Joseph Timan - Local Democracy Reporter

A Minister has said that housing numbers planned in Greater Manchester’s 20-year masterplan are not mandatory.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse made the comments about the spatial framework, which is currently under consultation, during a parliamentary debate last week.

He said: “I think there’s been a lot of misunderstanding about the notion that this is somehow a mandatory number that local authorities have to hit.”

Mayor Andy Burnham said the minister’s comments “came as a surprise” claiming that civil servants gave a “very different impression” in private conversations.

He said: “Under pressure from Conservative backbenchers, it would appear that the Government is trying to soften its line on housing numbers and greenbelt and deflect blame towards councils. We see this same tactic with council tax rises. It is unfair and dishonest.”

Bolton Council was able to allocate all of its housing on brownfield land but other boroughs are proposing to release green belt land to accommodate the homes.

Mr Burnham said that the city-region has not been offered flexibility over housing numbers as claimed by the minister.

The mayor called the comments “partial” at best and at worst “misleading”.

He added: “I will be asking the Minister for an urgent meeting, together with the City Mayor of Salford, to clear these matters up.”

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