Regent Park, Henley Investments, p Lexington

Around five acres of public green space are proposed. Credit: via Lexington

Aiming high – Henley’s bid to put Salford on the map 

Change can be scary, so when Henley Investments proposed building the tallest tower in the UK outside London as part of a 3,200-home redevelopment of Regent Retail Park, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

Despite the huge changes being proposed to this chunk of Salford, Warwick Hunter, managing director of development at Henley, is determined that Regent Park will be just as much for existing residents as the new arrivals who will call it home. 

“It will be a district centre that Salford [can be] proud of that has a real sense of community and a sense of place and is completely part of the Ordsall fabric,” he told Place North West. 

Henley acquired the site for £16m from M&G in late 2020 when the country was still in the grip of the Covid pandemic. It was a time of opportunity for those with a long-term view. 

“Given where we were with Covid, we just felt this site was able to take regeneration,” Hunter said. 

“The changing pattern of retail dictates that this is a very underutilised brownfield site that is strategically important for Salford.”  

Aiming high 

The site’s location on the border of the bustling, booming cities of Manchester and Salford makes it the perfect location for height, according to the scheme’s architect Matt Brook. Brook says the site provides an opportunity to put Salford on the map. 

The most eye-catching part of the proposals is undoubtedly the vision for a 241.5-metre tower, one of 10 residential buildings proposed. 

The skyscraper, reaching upwards of 70 storeys – would be the tallest in the UK outside of London, overtaking anything built or proposed by Manchester’s incumbent tall building specialists Renaker.

Brook is keen to stress it is not height for height’s sake. 

“It will be the tallest building in Greater Manchester but [the height] is more derived from a placemaking strategy and how you mark Salford and that sense of arrival,” Brook said. 

At the moment, there is no statement building to tell you you’re in Salford, he explains. 

If you’re heading into the city from the long straight drag of the M602, you will see plenty of tall buildings – Deansgate Square, Beetham Tower, and, in the not-too-distant-future, Renaker’s Trinity Islands – but they are all in Manchester. 

“We do hope [Regent Park] will be a real source of pride for Salford,” Brook said. 

“It is quite a unique arrangement, where you’re going to get a really good dialogue between Manchester and Salford and those twin cities very visibly coming together either side of the river.” 

Regent Retail Park henley p.Matt Brook Architects

The tallest building would front Ordsall Lane and the railway line. Credit: consultation materials

Not all about height 

Density is also important. Brook believes that Regent Park can be a shining example of the kind of high-quality, high-density development that does not currently exist in the city. 

“Some of the very high-density schemes in the city region are reasonably monoculture,” he said. 

“I think we’ve demonstrated over the last few years that people want to live in our cities again, which is fantastic, and we can deliver density [but] I think you’ve still got to demonstrate we can deliver that in a really liveable way.” 

One way to do that is to activate the ground floors and pay attention to how buildings, tall as they are, meet the earth. 

“The biggest impact [of tall budlings] really is on those lower levels and how we create human scale and how they sit properly,” Brook said. 

Activating ground floors is a fairly standard practice in residential development, but not every developer does it and not everyone that does, does it well.  

At Regent Park, a strategically significant site with the ability to knit together new and existing communities, getting this element of the proposals right is an absolute must. 

After the first round of consultation on the scheme, there was a backlash from existing Ordsall residents about the loss of the current retail provision at the shopping complex. 

Henley wants to knock down the existing 116,000 sq ft of big box retail. However, the developer says the plan is to re-provide much of what will be lost as part of the site’s regeneration. 

More than 100,000 sq ft of flexible commercial and community space is proposed and talks with existing occupiers, which include TX Maxx and Boots, are ongoing, according to Hunter. 

“What we’ve worked hard on over the last three months is to look at re-providing big boxes,” he said. 

“We will look at adding to that in terms of doctors surgeries and community centres, which then actually provides a really nice active frontage and environment on the ground floor”. 

Could the park at Henley’s scheme be Salford’s answer to Mayfield? Credit: Place North West

Salford’s Mayfield 

Good quality, useable space between buildings is equally as important as active ground floors, if not more so. 

“For the development to be successful, the public realm has got to work really well. It’s about creating a sticky community,” Hunter added. 

At 3.5 acres, the public green space Henley is proposing as part of Regent Park is not as big as the much-lauded Mayfield over the border in Manchester, but could have a similar impact. 

The park would provide residents, both of and outside the development, with a place to relax, and hang out, as well as providing the kind of injection of green space there is often such clamour for. 

It would promote porosity and permeability and act as a thriving thoroughfare for this growing area, according to Mark Graham, director of LDA Design.

“It’s such a strategically important site and sits in the heart of lots of existing and future movements,” said Graham, who is leading on the ambitious landscape proposals. 

“How we get movement through that space, both in terms of people living there, but also people from Ordsall and Middlewood Locks, has been a real driver.” 

Engaging early 

An outline planning application for the 3,200-home reimagining of the ageing retail park could be lodged this autumn – but first there will be a second round of public consultation, which has launched today.

Click here to have your say on the proposals

Liaising with local residents has become a crucial part of the development process, particularly for large schemes. If you do not take the local community on a journey with you, they will feel as if the proposals are being forced upon them, which creates headaches. 

Drastic change needs to be couched carefully, there needs to be buy-in from residents. It is a delicate process and one that takes time, something Henley is glad to have plenty of with this project. 

The first retail leases at Regent Retail Park do not expire until 2027, which means work on the site’s redevelopment might not begin for another three years.  

“I’ve been involved in projects where you have got an absolute milestone in 12 or 18 months’ time and you just have to crack on at pace,” Hunter said.  

“To have the luxury of time to meaningfully consult [means that] by the time we get to 2027, we know that we’ve got the right scheme that the community supports. It’s quite rare.” 

It will be impossible for Henley to convince everyone that this scheme is a good thing for Salford. It may not even convince a majority, no matter how much time the developer has to consult.  

However, while the populations of Manchester and Salford are growing at a ferocious rate, big-box retail is going the other way. Those that Henley fails to win over are likely to be left disappointed, drowned out by the tides of change. 

Your Comments

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I fully support this scheme, and hope that regeneration continues all the way up nearby Liverpool Street to the Albion Way, A5063. I do feel though that a tram stop should be part of the proposals at current Regent Road Retail Park, with new tramlines also being constructed. Perhaps an extension from Langworthy first down Eccles New Road, and then down the Regent Road with a stop along the way to the Retail Park – where further lines are constructed to provide a direct route into Piccadilly.

By Verticality

Greengate and Great Jackson Street are the right places to build something this tall, they are zoned for tall buildings. Plonking something this big on Regent Rd is the fevered dream of a greedy investment company.

By Anonymous

70 storeys is the stuff of dreams!!

By Giant Skyscraper Fan

Agree with Verticality, hopefully tram trains will help connect this part of the city via the Salford central train station.

By Anonymous

That end of Regent rd is going to be absolutely chaos when this and the work around the casino opposite starts up. All for development but I hope they plan rd closures better than they did last year when the junction work there was being done.

By Anonymous

Get it built!

By GetItBuilt!

Is this a sponsored post? If so, why isn’t it labelled, and if not, why’s it a puff piece with no perspective other than the developers?

The lack of tram or train is a big problem here, it should at minimum allow space at the north and design it to allow a tram / train stop to be added on the rail line in the future.

All the flats should have a balcony, although predictably doesn’t look as if that’ll be the case.

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous. To confirm, this is not a sponsored post. I am sorry you feel that way. Best wishes, Dan

    By Dan Whelan

Get it through! Fantastic. Although more imagery would be nice 🙂

By Tom

I see Greengate when I drive into the centre from the west of the city Mr Matt Brooks, a cluster statement buildings to tell you you’re in Salford.

By Big Dub

Two new railway stations on Oldfield Road wouldn’t go amiss as this area is desperately starved of rail connectivity to Manchester City Centre

By Anonymous

I really hope this goes ahead. It’s great to see ambition!


Not keen on the name. I know it’s Regent Road, but it sounds like we have copied that city with all the trains. Give it a Greater Mancunian name. Pankhurst Park, Peterloo Park, or my favourite,Greenwood Park, after Salford born Walter.It looks good though but build the biggest tower please, we don’t want, “outside London,” attached to this city anymore. It sounds provincial and does not define the success of Manchester.

By Elephant

Sounds like a great, exciting development, which based on the above information, I’d be in support of.
However, the existing road network and public transport solutions will need to be developed concurrently, as this is a congested major artery and will become even busier.
Perhaps vehicular overpass(es) and/or underpass(es), plus tram and train integration into the area, all of which is not a nice-to-have, but are essential.

By Anon

Love these developments, but I do question why the comparison for tallest outside of London referenced Salford. Technically Salford is an LGA and London is really Greater London. So it’s either.
Tallest outside of London (when thinking London is Greater London vrs Greater Manchester)
or 3rd Tallest after Southwark & City of London

After all, no one thinks of the tallest building in the UK is Southwark, they think it’s London, so the same applies here.

This makes a difference, as one of the reasons London gets so much more attention from the government is that it treats the whole of Greater London as a single large city, whilst dividing up Manchester into small LGAs, claiming London is just so much larger.

For Manchester to compete with London, it needs to be in the same criteria. As long as we keep diminishing Manchester into little unconnected LGAs, we won’t stand a chance.

We should compare apples with apples


I’m fine with the name Regent Park if there is an actual park there. Also am more concerned about the design of the new tower than the actual height, Gt Jackson Street and Renaker are pretty close by, is this really going to be something different?

By Anonymous

I hope Renaker or Salboy would develop this plot.

By Martina

The site is actually a much used commercial space that will be more in demand as the construction of a large number of flats finishes locally. We don’t really need anotherhuge tower with no connection to local transport with no local services, like doctors, dentists or a pharmacy.

By Colin

A superb development and fantastic for Salford to have a landmark pinnacle, i am in Australia and this has caught my attention. Greater Manchester is looking more and more like a forward thinking modern international city. The skyline mixed with the heritage buildings and indeed the cultural aspects of the city will only attract further investment. I hope one day Manchester will have the tallest building in the UK with a viewing area and become an Icon for the North. Superb plans and good luck with this development.,

By Simon

Not for salford people need social housing

By ___A_

This isn’t meant as social housing —A- . This is pretty much just the city centre growing outwards. It’s not the 1950’s anymore, the world has moved on, Lowry has left the building.

By —B-

Despite of what the author is saying, this very much seems like a paid for marketing blurb. If it’s not that, than it’s just a really bad piece of journalism that puts developers first and doesn’t take into account the needs of the local community and those who live nearby who use the existing shops and facilities.

And I don’t understand the comments here that praise Greengate development. Has any of you actually walked down that area? It’s a very badly planned and maintained, littered space with the a big ugly car park in the middle of it. It looks more like a place in a third world country than a development planned in the 21st century in a civilised world. Tall building, doesn’t equal good architecture. All those cheap tower blocks will age really badly in 10-20 years time and we will be stuck with 30 or s ugly looking buildings in the heart of Manchester for decades..

By Johnny

Fully support this proposal, but it *must* come with substantial section 108 payments AND transport infrastructure improvements paid for by the developer

By Bernard Fender

Move on Johnny, Manchester has. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant, there’s loads of tall towers now and lots more in the pipeline . If they weren’t properly zoned or if there was nothing else, I might complain too but there is so I don’t. Like many of us on what is after all a building and development site you’ll learn to love them…or there’s always the countryside .

By Ronnie Diggs

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