OMI Architects is behind the scheme's design. Credit: via We Are Indigo

CERT reworks Salford co-living proposals

The developer has decreased the number of units within its 30-storey Clippers Quay scheme by 90, increasing the size of the remaining 171 in a bid to appease city council planners.

CERT Property lodged plans for its Saford co-living scheme – which also features 141 apartments – in December 2021.

Since then, the developer has been in an ongoing dialogue with Salford City Council planners, who have expressed nervousness about the co-living concept.

The sticking point for Salford and many other local authorities across the country when it comes to co-living is the size of the proposed units.

The co-living concept, by its very nature, calls for smaller unit sizes than a typical apartment scheme, offset by an increase in amenity space.

While units in co-living developments are smaller than apartments in build-to-rent projects, the trade-off is lower rents and a focus on creating a sense of community, encouraging residents to mingle in the communal spaces, developers say.

However, as most councils do not have a specific planning policy to assess co-living, the projects often end up being refused as they are judged on the same basis as regular apartment schemes – namely by Nationally Described Space Standards.

Having seen its OMI-designed scheme stuck in the planning process for two and a half years, CERT has now significantly cut the number of co-living units in its Salford scheme from 261 to 171.

By doing this, the developer has been able to increase the average unit size within the development. The units, which previously ranged from 193.75 sq ft to 250.8 sq ft, now range from 250.8 sq ft to 328.3 sq ft.

This means that some of the units in CERT’s development will be larger than in typical co-living schemes – a British Property Federation report from 2023 puts the average at between 172 sq ft and 290 sq ft

CERT’s decision to reduce the number of units has affected the viability of the project.

A viability appraisal by CBRE states that, even without affordable housing and S106 contributions, the residual profit margin is negative.

On this basis, the report states that the scheme would cost £83.1m to build and have a gross development value of £81.5m.

It concludes that the development requires “significant reductions in construction costs and increases in rental prices to reach the target risk-adjusted developer’s return”.

CERT declined to comment.

Enabl is advising CERT on planning matters.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

On the basis of the CBRE advice why is this being progressed?

By Anonymous

They need to change architect. Yet another eyesore.

By John

That’s the angle they chose to show their development? yikes

By GetItBuilt!

Coliving is just an excuse to build slums. Stand firm Salford and don’t follow Manchester’s lead. It’s fine for developers to make money but coliving breaches a red line.

By Mancunian

IMO I think this development would have looked better if they had made a decision between either a glass design or a brick design, rather than combining both.

Suppose we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out …

By MrP

Yet another flop for the Quays. This area should be an economic goldmine. It has water, high earners, decent transport, and space, and yet it is the most uninspiring place imaginable. Dreary architecture, and despite the Lowry, devoid of any decent bars, or restaurants. People should be flocking there on hot days.

By Elephant

it is really a jarring proposal, that it seems to ruin the existing area, I hope it will be improved

By Toby

There’s enough scepticism of the numbers used in viability assessments without CERT now apparently claiming their schemes aren’t viable even without affordable housing.
It’s quite difficult to keep on suspending disbelief when developers submit numbers like these yet want to go ahead with construction anyway, unless the return is actually in selling on the hopefully consented site for someone else to value engineer, rework or sit on.

By Quay Worker Housing

Just build a decent looking tower full of apartments. The tower doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t make economic sense. Scrap it a d start again.

By jrb

Elephant – I agree with most of what you said but other parts are a bit deluded.
As well as the bars/restaurants at Media City, the new addition to Central Bay (including a food hall) which overlooks the water and Old Trafford is pretty fantastic. I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best spots for food and beverage in Greater Manchester.
If anything, parts of other areas at Salford Quays are becoming too claustrophobic, mainly due to some of the more recent awful additions in that area e.g. X1. The should have had more medium rises developments with occasional towers and continued with the more radical architecture. They’ve ruined parts.

By Anonymous

No wonder CERT declined to comment, they should be embarrassed. Who is managing these projects for them? Between this and their Liverpool scheme its been a bit of a disaster for them. Maybe they need to leave the residential market alone?

By Quays Resident

It is a very bad proposal. Clippers Quay is very crowded now. The traffic congestion is very serious. The proposal must affect the environment and existing residents.
The construction must produce much pollution, the swans, ducks… must lose their habitats…
I object the proposal. Please stop the construction in Clippers Quay. Thank you!

By Mary

It is more than an eyesore, it also leaves people already living on the quay with loss of light. Salford quays, especially quieter residential quays such as Clippers should have a green area and smaller buildings around the edges to make a community not an overcrowded eyesore of skyscrapers making a dark and cold area

By Local Resident

Crikey, look at the utter state of that…

By Wish I hadn't gone to specsavers

Why are more houses being built in an town area that
has no shops, employment and the hospital is over capacity now. Too many construction companies seem to be only interested in lining their own pockets.

By Anonymous

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below