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Manchester Place Gets A Boss: Deborah McLoughlin

Jill Burdett and the woman who'll build the houses

Written by . Published on December 12th 2014.

Manchester Place Gets A Boss: Deborah McLoughlin

DEBORAH McLaughlin, North West Executive Director at the Homes and Communities Agency, is to become Chief Executive of Manchester Place.

She says Manchester has an ambition to build 3,700 new homes every year but feels 2,200 would be more deliverable.

The organisation, an alliance between the HCA and Manchester City Council, was announced in the summer, with an aim to assemble land and work with developers and investors to deliver thousands of new homes.

She has been co-chair, along with Sir Howard Bernstein, since it was announced and now takes on the new role presumably in an effort to get things moving.

It’s a twelve month secondment from the HCA and she will still be managing a joint team of HCA and City Council staff but will focus purely on Manchester matching neat parcels of land with investors and developers and with the ability to throw in some money to kickstart.

I’m still trying to get a proper handle on MP but I think this means that if you want to develop in the East Manchester you need to go and knock on McLaughlin’s door. A door which, unsurprisingly, will move from the 4th floor of One Piccadilly into Manchester Town Hall.

McLaughlin, who lives in Cheshire, used to be Manchester’s Director of Housing before joining the HCA in 2008.

Deborah MclaughlinDeborah MclaughlinShe says Manchester has an ambition to build 3,700 new homes every year but feels 2,200 would be more deliverable.

“Manchester Place will be quite interventionist. We need to accommodate new people but it will be about design and quality.

“Manchester Life (The £1b Abu Dhabi/City Council Fund) is one investor but we need another investor of scale. There is potential for a regional house builder to play a role but we also need a cluster of small and medium sized builders to help us deliver.

“At the moment developers who want to invest in the city come and talk to the HCA then they go and see Eddie Smith at the Town Hall and then talk to consultants and maybe to each other.

“Manchester Place is about putting that together, creating a dedicated resource where we know the different strands of interest and investment and can bring it together and make it happen. There will be a single point of contact.

 “This is Manchester’s time – it is more ambitious and optimistic than anywhere else. It is on the cusp and I have a strong sense of responsibility that we have to get it right. We can determine the future of this city by the quality of homes that we deliver, it is a seriously important thing to do.”

Deborah's bio is here.

The Abu Dhabi Group are behind Man City's huge redevelopment in the east of ManchesterManchester City Council and Man City owners the Abu Dhabi United Group are to redevelop and provide new housing in East Manchester

Previous press release about Manchester Place:

A strengthened alliance between the council and the Homes & Communities Agency will provide a major stimulus to residential development in the city.

The partnership, Manchester Place, will create a pipeline of development-ready sites to help the city meet its ambitious target of creating 55,000 new homes by 2027 as set out in the Manchester Residential Growth Prospectus.

Manchester Place will work with investors – such as Manchester Life - developers and others who wish to support high quality housing across the city to ensure there are sufficient opportunities. Where justified, this could include providing access to public resources.

Forecasts suggest that the city has the potential to generate an extra 50,000 jobs by 2023 and that by 2030 the population will exceed 600,000. Ensuring the right number of homes in high quality neighbourhoods is a key challenge.

Key tasks for Manchester Place include working with landowners to get sites ready for development, assembling land where necessary, and using the land resources and market intelligence of both the Council and HCA to produce a co-ordinated response to government initiatives encouraging house-building. Receipts from land sales will be recycled for housing and associated developments supporting growth.

An annual investment plan will identify priority areas for public and private sector investment which can unlock residential growth. These will be designated as Investment Action Areas, with Ancoats and New Islington one of the first.

Councillor Jeff Smith, Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: "Manchester Place will secure an integrated approach by Manchester and the HCA to stimulating faster and wider interest in the city’s housing market. We welcome conversations with other investors, both international and UK-based, about the many opportunities in the city and will engage with landowners and developers to create a development pipeline for all investors and developers willing to support our residential growth strategy.

"This is a significant partnership which should have a huge positive impact on Manchester’s housing market."

Deborah McLaughlin, North West Executive Director at the HCA, said: "Manchester Place captures the strong working relationship that has developed between the City Council and the Homes and Community Agency, and is a great demonstration of how we can jointly use pioneering investment models to stimulate growth. By working closely in collaboration, we are ensuring that we support local strategic priorities – Manchester’s population is growing enormously quickly, and this partnership will accelerate the supply of much-needed housing in the city."

The activities of Manchester Place will be overseen by a project board, chaired jointly by the chief executive of Manchester City Council and the regional director of the HCA.

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