Almost every day I am contacted by families desperate for decent housing. There just aren’t enough homes for families to buy or rent. In Stockport, the divide is huge between those who have homes that meet their needs and those who do not. It can’t be right that so many children are being brought up in high rise flats, or that families are having to move every six months because of short insecure leases, or that we have over 6000 people on the Stockport Homes waiting list.
Everybody agrees we need more family homes to buy or rent and that there are still not enough being built in Stockport, but we seem to be embroiled in endless arguments about housing targets and use of Greenfield sites.
Population growth figures for Stockport suggest we will need around 15,000 more homes over the next 20 years. Those homes to buy or rent can’t be built without land.
We need to accept that, and that with a growing population we can’t retain 40% of our borough as Greenfield or in the Green Belt. The aim shouldn’t be to build as little as possible, it should be to meet the future housing needs of our children and their children.
With devolution, the number of new homes to be built across Greater Manchester is going to be decided by all the boroughs. However the delays continue in producing an agreed number and now there is unlikely to be a draft until next summer, because of disputes about population growth.
I welcome the announcement that 3,000 homes will be built between the A6 and the Pyramid but most of these are likely to be apartments. We have 1,357 Stockport Homes flats in our town centre, with many of those residents already desperate for a family home to bring up their children.
We are letting down our young families. That is unfair. So let’s not start from a position of ‘we must protect our green belt’. Let’s instead start from ‘we must ensure that more family homes are built for sale and for rent so that our young families can have the same opportunities that we had’.