26th May 2022



Design standards to set the bar for all new housing in Manchester

3 min read

Manchester German Christmas Markets 2016 at Albert Square Manchester Town Hall.

Manchester City Council’s executive has approved the design and quality guide for all new housing across the city.

The quality guidance demands design excellence in all new housing development, sets minimum space standards and ensures high environmental standards.

Manchester German Christmas Markets 2016 at Albert Square Manchester Town Hall.

However, the guidance goes further than aesthetic value and will shape the future look and feel of the city informed by the guidance document, and all development will need to link back to the quality standards set out by the guidance.

A consultation over summer sought input from both the public and the housing industry to understand what quality home building means to them.

Prior to this, a sounding board of experts, a multi-discipline team of architects and housing professionals –  chaired by past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Stephen Hodder –  was brought together to develop the draft standards guide, providing expertise in planning, urban design, place making and architecture.

The Manchester Residential Quality Guidance document can be found here

The key principles of the guidance are:

Make it Manchester – developers must understand the city’s unique character, heritage old and new, density and scale in various parts of the city and appreciate how new homes will fit in to what’s already there.

Make it bring people together – new homes must encourage a sense of community and neighbourliness, offering a mix of tenures to promote a mix of people.

Make it animate streets and spaces – understand the relationship between new homes and its environment and create public space.

Make it easy to get around – make sure developments have good transport links, along with good walking and cycling provision.

Make work with the landscape – development should improve the connection with the local environment with improved biodiversity, as well as greening and water schemes.

Make it practical – dealing with waste, car parking, bike storage and visitors should be made as easy as possible.

Make it future proof – design must anticipate the impacts of climate change and extreme weather with efficient design and adaptability.

Make it a home – sufficient space, natural light, privacy and storage are essential for people to settle down and flourish.

Make it happen – ensuring proposals are delivered, to a high quality, with high design standards and high sustainability.

Manchester City Council worked with industry leaders in developing the guidance. The document has been researched and compiled by Deloitte Real Estate, creative design practice Planit-IE and architects CallisonRTKL.

Paul Beardmore, Chief executive of Manchester Place, said: “Excellence in housing shouldn’t be luck, or for the fortunate few. Manchester has a great reputation for residential development and in particular for maintaining good design standards. 

“This guide has been widely welcomed by our quality developers and designers as it helps set out clearly our expectations and ensures that the quality of place is maintained for future generations to enjoy.

“If developers want to bring their business to Manchester, they need to buy into our vision for what housing can and should be in a modern, forward-looking city. This guidance should be seen as the absolute minimum in what we expect in the final product.”

Architect Stephen Hodder of Hodder and Partners, Chair of the Manchester Residential Quality Guidance Sounding Board, said: “From its inception, the guidance was pitched to push developers to excel, to deliver housing that residents will be proud of and to wholesale change the approach to new housing in the city.

“Prodigious home building should not mean a loss of quality, and through this guidance we hope to not only ensure that, but to push the boundaries of design for all new homes.”

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