Housing the Powerhouse – Developing a Narrative for Planning
Housing the Powerhouse
Date of work:
A new Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) is currently being developed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to set out the approach to strategic planning for the City Region over the next 20 years. Housing the Powerhouse was established as a collective effort between more than ten different housebuilders and property companies, with the support of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Home Builders Federation, to help shape a compelling, evolving narrative to influence the emerging planning policy framework for the City Region.
Lexington’s starting point with the campaign was a holistic branding exercise that included devising a name and logo for the campaign, as well as providing creative input on a campaign website. This initial work allowed us to then successfully launch the campaign to the media with resulting coverage in industry and regional press. Since then, Lexington has ensured that there has been a consistent and coherent media strategy throughout the campaign, which has repeatedly resulted in positive coverage and comment in regional, national and trade press.
The media was, however, just one element of the campaign and Lexington has been responsible for facilitating top level briefings between the Housing the Powerhouse Steering Group and key political figures, including those at a regional and national level, such as senior officers within the GMCA and at Ministerial level in DCLG. Further strategic stakeholder engagement has resulted in securing support from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Home Builders Federation for the campaign. Housing the Powerhouse also had a presence Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in 2015, where an event bringing together key figures in the housebuilding and development industry in Greater Manchester was held.
Other successful initiatives as part of the campaign have included collaborating with national planning firm NLP on a report into the delivery of new homes in Greater Manchester as a key driving force behind the Northern Powerhouse and working with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to undertake a survey of businesses across the City Region to identify the housing priorities they see as being particularly key to their growth plans over the coming years.
A social media campaign via Facebook and Twitter has recruited over 1,500 people from across Greater Manchester who support Housing the Powerhouse. Lexington is working with these supporters to put grassroots pressure on regional politicians to be ambitious with their housing targets.
Meeting Greater Manchester’s growing housing needs remains high on the political and media agenda in the City Region. Housing the Powerhouse has successfully coalesced support for raising housing targets in Greater Manchester amongst key stakeholders within the industry and the media. Notably, the latest draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework included the ‘Housing the Powerhouse figure’ of 16,000 new homes a year as one of its scenarios for consultation.
The campaign group is regarded as the ‘go to’ representative organisation of the housebuilding industry in Greater Manchester, with recognition at the top levels of the City Region Combined Authority, in policy circles and through the media. The campaign remains ongoing, with the next strand of work focussing on mobilising support from amongst people living and working in City Region who have signed up to support the campaign.