Best read stories of 2021

Trafford’s upcoming surf lagoon, Blackpool’s £300m leisure complex, plans for Liverpool’s Debenhams and a revamp of Stretford all topped Place North West’s list of the most-read stories of 2021. Also, a story about the purchase of a Hattersley Tesco.

See below for the best-read stories broken down by month.

Blackpool Central 768x511

The £300m Blackpool Central features a flying theatre. Credit: via Font Comms


Blackpool moves to progress £300m leisure scheme

Blackpool Council used its compulsory purchase powers to buy 10 acress off Central Drive for the map pinBlackpool Central entertainment complex. In October, plans for Blackpool Central would officially be approved by the council.

Long-awaited Stretford masterplan unveiled

Trafford Council and Bruntwood Works shared their plans to build 800 homes in the town centre, revamp Stretford Mall, reinstate King Street high street and repurpose the Lacy Street car park. A consultation on the regeneration effort was launched in September.

Nerf edges closer to Trafford Centre opening 

Nerf lodged plans to change 25,000 sq ft of shops at Barton Square into a laser combat centre.


St George’s has 85 retail units and a 410-space car park. Credit: via Inform Communications


Preston’s St George’s falls into administration 

EY was appointed the administrator to the 280,000 sq ft shopping centre after owners Infrared defaulted on a loan secured against the asset. The shopping centre would be bought by Adhan Group in August.

Reliance sells Chadderton Mill for £2.2m

Prestwich-based Evermark Properties acquired the 250,000 sq ft building, an old spinning mill.

Shenton acquires central Manchester McDonald’s

Shenton Homes purchased No 1 Chepstow Street in Manchester, with the goal to turn the upper levels into apartments.

Port Of Liverpool Nov 21 P1

Liverpool has “freeport” status. Credit: Peel Ports


Central Stockport site pinned for 550 homes

Amstone Ventures acquired the 3.3-acre former Sainsbury’s site in order to transform it into a £100m build-to-rent development.

BUDGET 2021 | Freeport status for Liverpool

After having its freeport designation remoed in 2012, the Chancellor reinstated the status at the budget announcement in March. Liverpool City Region’s application for freeport status was one of eight successful applications.

Breakthrough for £35m Fylde holiday village

Pure Leisure Group made a deal with Fylde Council to build a golf course with 500 lodges, 102-bedroom hotel and other facilities on 67 acres near Poulton-le-Fylde.

Calderpeel and Woods Bagott designed the Piccadilly Tower project. Credit: via planning documents


Stockport prepares to advance LCR station plan

Stockport Council earmarked plots around Hazel Grove and Cheadle Hulme stations for development as part of ongoing work with London & Continental Railways.

Ballymore sells Piccadilly Tower site to HS2 

The Irish developer agreed to sell the Store Street plot earmarked for a 60-storey residential tower for more than a decade, in a £25m deal to facilitate construction of Manchester Piccadilly’s high-speed rail hub.

Widnes mall put up for sale  

The leasehold of the 85,000 sq ft Albert Square Shopping Centre was put up for auction for a price in the region of £2m-£2.5m. The leasehold sold after the auction, according to auctioneer Allsop’s website.

Fusion Students, Deansgate CGI

The tower in Deansgate was to be Fusion’s first in Manchester and second in the North West. Credit: via planning documents


Bredbury Hall sold for £5m

The hotel and country club near Stockport sold to operator Vine Hotels by agency Lambert Smith Hampton on behalf of administrator FRP Advisory.

Manchester bats away Fusion’s Deansgate tower 

Plans for the 28-storey development were refused after the city council said the developer “failed to demonstrate an unmet need for student accommodation” despite the authority’s own desire to see more student housing in the city centre.

Manchester Zoo mystery deepens

A project to create a 100-acre zoo near Hopwood Hall in Rochdale hit the buffers because the man behind the plans, Johnpaul Houston, could not be tracked down. In August, Houston would tell Place North West the project was delayed because of Brexit, Covid-19 and personal issues but that he was still committed to bringing the project to life.


Stockport Station

The Greek Street project forms part of the Stockport’s £550m station masterplan


Manchester Royal Mail shed sold for £45m

The distribution centre off Oldham Road was snapped up by a private investor connected to a low-profile Salford-based millionaire, at a record low yield for the North West.

Hattersley Tesco sold for £28.6m

Dubai investment firm Rasmala Group acquired the 100,000 sq ft Tameside supermarket, where the grocer had 15 years remaining on its lease.

Stockport outlines plan for £23m Greek Street bridge

Replacing the existing bridge and constructing a tunnel to accommodate the potential extension of the Metrolink network was the council’s preferred option after Network Rail told the council the bridge had a limited life span and would need replacing by March 2024.


The Manchester Piccadilly that was sold to Thackeray. Credit: via Tavistock


Savills investigating racist Euro tweets

The global real estate company condemned the tweets, which came from a Twitter account bearing the same name as an employee, and said it was “committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity”. The employee claimed his account had been hacked. His contract with Savills was ultimately terminated.

Liverpool-based Nobles collapses

The construction firm called in administrators after 26 years of trading. In August it would emerge that the company had debts of £6.2m.

Thackeray buys £3.4m Manchester Piccadilly building

The 9,000 sq ft office and retail space was previously owned by Yorkshire Building Society. Thackeray submitted plans to turn the space into apartments.

Morbaine, Stockport, Credit Via Planning Documents

Morbaine’s plans for the Stockport site. Credit: via planning documents


Stockport reluctantly approves Railway demolition

The council signed off plans from developer Morbaine to knock down the popular pub to speculatively build a 16,000 sq ft store on Great Portwood Street.

Aldi tipped for Liverpool green light

Liverpool City Council was tipped to approve plans for to turn a former tea factory site in Speke into a 20,000 sq ft supermarket, along with employment space, a filling station and a drive-thru restaurant. Those plans were approved a week later.

Lancaster snaps up Morecambe’s Frontierland 

The acquisition from supermarket company Morrisons provided fresh hope that the former Western-style theme park could finally be redeveloped after closing more than 20 years ago.

Modern Surf Manchester, PBECG

Leslie Jones Architecture is the lead architect for Modern Surf. Credit: via BECG


Surf’s up in Trafford after council waves through £60m lagoon

Trafford Council approved Irish developer McKinney Group’s plans to create Modern Surf on Peel L&P-owned land near the Trafford Centre.

Stockport plans £500m hospital on Debenhams site

The council and Stockport NHS Foundation Trust bid for funds to replace Stepping Hill Hospital with a new town centre medical facility.

Morbaine proposes supermarket on long-vacant Stockport site

The developer lodged plans to build a discount store where Hope Mill once stood, a site close to Portwood Roundabout previously earmarked for a 60,000 sq ft leisure scheme.

Mayfield Depot Concretene Pour, U+I, P Influential

Mayfield Depot hosted the first commercial pour of Concretene to make its roller disco. Credit: via Influential


Manchester’s Mayfield makes history with Concretene

The development was the first to commercially use Concretene, a greener and cheaper concrete alternative that blends concrete with graphene.

Manchester’s CIS Tower to become £150m ‘vertical district’ 

Castlebrooke Investments’ refurbishment project would see the 425,000 sq ft building split into three distinct parts and rebranded as Society.

Manchester’s Albert Square transformation begins

Ground was broken on the city council’s project to increase the size of the square, carry out resurfacing with granite sett paving and ultimately make the Town Hall more accessible.

Apex Tower, Arrowsmith, PCounter Context

Apex Tower has ruffled feathers. Credit: via Counter Context


Facelift for Liverpool train station 

Northern Trains, a subsidiary of the Department for Transport’s holding company Dft OLR, applied to revamp Broad Green station. 

Grosvenor gets ball rolling on Liverpool Debenhams revamp 

Liverpool One’s landlord announced its intention to convert part of the vacant 185,000 sq ft department store into leisure space, which could feature a go-kart track.

Arrowsmith unveils vision for 26-storey Manchester scheme 

Apex Tower, designed by Leach Rhodes Walker, would provide 72 apartments on the corner of Albion Street and Great Bridgewater Street. The consultation for the project ended on 8 December.

St Michaels From Jacksons Row, Relentless And KKR, P Roland Dransfield

St Michael’s will deliver 185,000 sq ft of commercial space. Credit: Revere


January start for Gary Neville’s much-anticipated St Michael’s

Bowmer + Kirkland will build the £120m first phase of the Manchester project, which is set to complete in 2024.

Cheshire East lines up amended CPO plan for bypass

Local sign-off has been sought for orders to enable the long-awaited Middlewich Eastern bypass, which will then go to the Department for Transport for final approval.

Renaker tables £741m Trinity Islands proposal

Designed by SimpsonHaugh, the project comprises almost 2,000 homes across four towers ranging from 39 to 60 storeys.

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