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Newly-elected metro mayors to determine construction priorities

Newly-elected metro mayors to determine construction priorities

While many in the construction sector will be focused on the general election and its potential implications for the building industry, the metro mayor elections last week will have their own profound impact on those areas.

The largest areas to elect mayors were the West Midlands and Greater Manchester, with both regions having over 2.7 million inhabitants.  

Former Labour cabinet minister Andy Burnham won the Greater Manchester election, where he will seek to renegotiate the terms of the Greater Manchester Housing Fund to enable the construction of more social and affordable homes by councils and housing associations. This will be a key part of his plan to improve affordability and reduce homelessness.

His manifesto also pledges to revise the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework to improve housing options, while there will be as much "ambition and vision" for the peripheral areas of the conurbation as has been spent in recent years on the city centre.

Mr Burnham also promised work to modernise railway stations, establish more cycle routes and extend the Metrolink tram system. The latter will include the establishment of radial routes around the various boroughs, something that could provide greater connectivity. At present, the various lines on the system all run through Manchester city centre.

In the case of the West Midlands, Conservative candidate Andy Street won a very tight contest against Labour's Sion Simon. The former John Lewis boss's manifesto included a 'brownfield first' policy for housebuilding, with this strongly emphasising the need to avoid repeating the "decimation" of Sutton Coldfield's greenbelt to meet Birmingham's housing plans.

Mr Street also pledged to reopen key rail routes in the Black Country and Birmingham. These include the Camp Hill lines to Moseley and King's Heath in the south of Birmingham and to Castle Vale in the north-east of the city.

He is also committed to the planned expansion of the Midlands Metro tram system.

Elsewhere, Labour candidate Steve Rotherham won the mayoral election in the Liverpool City Region, but the Conservative candidates won in the West of England (centred on Bristol and Bath), Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and the Tees Valley.

Image: iStock


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