Sebastian Tibenham, executive director at consultancy Pegasus Group, gave the opening presentation at yesterday’s virtual Planning for Housing in the North and Midlands conference.
In his speech, he acknowledged that the production of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework had been complicated by regulatory changes since the process began six years ago.
However, he said that the planning “paralysis” at a “city-wide level” exists despite the additional powers that had been given to the conurbation as part of its devolution deal with central government.
Tibenham said: “Devolution is not working at the minute: there is a real paralysis over housing delivery due to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which comes down to political differences at a local level.
“It’s up to mayors and local plans to attract investment and direct where housing goes. It will be interesting to see where fingers are pointed if investment and growth is not delivered.
Tibenham, who heads Pegasus’ Liverpool office, said it was important that the spatial frameworks for both Greater Manchester and the Liverpool city region were delivered because of the large share of the North West’s population who live in the two conurbations.
He said: “Greater Manchester and Liverpool have 60 per cent of the population so a lot hinges on these two city regions getting their act together in producing a city plan.”
He was backed up by Giles Cannock QC, barrister at King’s Chambers and the conference’s chair.
He said: “Devolution has potential to be the answer but it’s not working.”
Planning for Housing 2020 North & Midlands was organised by Planning magazine, and sponsored by Kings Chambers and Pegasus Group.