The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has signalled his intention to radically review the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). He has issued a call to developers to revitalise and reshape Greater Manchester’s town centres, with the objective being to deliver more residential development on brownfield land and in centres. In recent weeks Mr Burnham has gone further and outlined his plans for a Town Centre Challenge (TCC).
The focus of the TCC is to deliver more housing in town centres. The indication is that there could be funding streams and powers put in place to assist with the delivery of residential schemes in town centres.
There are 227,000 new homes required in Greater Manchester by 2035. With Mr Burnham’s objectives to deliver residential development in town centres, can existing shopping centres play a strong role in meeting the GMSF’s housing targets?
Increasingly shopping centre landlords are taking a creative approach to their assets. In response to a shift in consumer habits and a requirement to modernise, landlords have sought to provide a much wider offer to increase attraction and dwell times within shopping centres. This has resulted in new and re-imagined forms of attractions in shopping centres, with an increased emphasis on leisure floorspace.
London has led the way in this type of approach, with around a third of its shopping centres subject to redevelopment plans. Crucially, all of the plans accommodate the delivery of new homes as part of the proposals.
In Greater Manchester, recent activity has seen Regency Residential’s Six Acre House above The Square Shopping Centre in Sale deliver 80 new homes, with a further 205 homes planned by the owners, Maloneview, as part of emerging proposals. In addition, the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund has recently issued a Development Framework, supported by Manchester City Council, for the delivery of 195 new homes as part of the planned redevelopment of Chorlton Cross Shopping Centre.
The TCC has the potential to provide the opportunity for shopping centres in locations such as Stretford, Hyde, Rochdale, Swinton, Wigan, Prestwich and Oldham to make a strong contribution to meeting housing delivery targets in the Greater Manchester area.
A town centre’s residential offer can make a substantial contribution to its quality of place and how that place is perceived. This in turn can contribute significantly to the economic competitiveness of the town centre.
Greater Manchester has approximately 50 shopping centres, all of which are located in accessible urban areas with good links to public transport, lending themselves to high density development. Shopping centres can therefore play a significant role in meeting the GMSF’s housing targets by delivering mixed-use schemes with high density residential development, which can in turn boost the economic profile of the town centre.