Upper Brook Street , PAG, p.PAG

The redevelopment of Upper Brook Street would be the next phase of growth for the Oxford Road Corridor. Credit: via Property Alliance Group

Developers left frustrated by spirited opposition in Manchester

The city council’s planning committee opted to defer decisions on two schemes valued in excess of £800m after hearing the arguments of local councillors. 

Two developments – 2,000 student beds and 700,000 sq ft of life sciences workspace off Upper Brook Street and 3,000 PBSA units in Fallowfield – had been recommended for approval by Manchester City Council’s planners. 

However, the developers behind the projects will have to wait until January at the earliest to secure approval following a spirited display of opposition from local councillors.  

The redevelopment of 7.5 acres of land next to the Brunswick Estate in Ardwick was the first scheme to go before the committee at its December meeting. 

Four developers – Property Alliance Group, McLaren Property, Kadans, and Moda – are delivering the two projects that make up the Upper Brook Street masterplan. The schemes form the next phase of development in the Oxford Road Corridor, a strategic growth location for the city council. 

Speaking out against the proposals, Cllr Amna Abdulatif said the project would “overshadow” the neighbouring Brunswick Estate. Her fellow Ardwick councillor Abdigafar Muse chimed in, saying “we are not anti-build but we are anti-being taken advantage of”. 

The scheme, which has already been significantly reduced in height in response to residents’ concerns, was deferred pending a site visit. 

The University of Manchester’s plans to demolish various buildings at its student campus in Fallowfield to pave the way for 3,300 modern student beds met the same fate. 

Designed by Sheppard Robson, the scheme would see the site’s 1960s tower block, Oak House, Owens Park, and Woolton Hall, demolished. Together, those buildings provide around 2,370 student beds. 

The University of Manchester is also seeking to procure a partner to design, build, finance, and operate the campus, a contract that is worth up to £400m.  

A site visit will take place before a decision is made. 

Fallowfield Campus Redevelopment, University of Manchester, p.University of Manchester,

UoM is seeking a partner for the £400m project. Credit: via University of Manchester

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Perhaps the council should run a course for members regarding the path of the sun

By Anonymous

Typical NIMBY mentality of third – rate councillors/ politicians. They moan about HMO’s taking away family housing, and then moan when proposals are made to reduce and mitigate this.

By Adam

We should be building homes for Manchester families not overpriced student accommodation for foreign students to line the pockets of developers who don’t care about what’s good for Manchester but just about profits.

By David Jones

The height should never have been reduced and now we have a deferment. If the locals don’t like sustainable high density development why don’t they simply move somewhere else? This is Manchester not Grimsby. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the rest of the Committee will wave this through.

By Concerned

The city centre is expanding and there is a real need to intensify/density the city, especially the City Centre/Inner City. This should be the main priority for the Cllrs, delivering much needed housing, jobs, and opportunities to the City. Low rise former council estates like the Brunswick Estate, in the outdated Radburn design do not need preserving or protecting they need redeveloping in similar process to those to the north of the city centre and replaced with more dense typologies.

By H

What a disgrace this committee are. Are we really to believe they haven’t already made a site visit to an £800m development up for planning? What good does a further visit do? Just kicking the can down the road. Make a decision FFS!

By Mr Manchester

I expect this to be approved in the new year by the planning committee if not it will be approved by the planning inspector.

By Anonymous

Why is our normally bullish council so timid round here? Just get it through in its original form.

By Tom

Spirited opposition, love it!

By Anonymous

Taken advantage of hahaha. What by bringing investment and jobs to the area. Get a grip. Place needs sorting out around there anyway, it’s hardly green belt. These decisions should be taken with the city as a whole in mind.

By Bob

I’m afraid it’s the councillors who are getting in the away of progress. MCR needs to prosper and they need to move with the times.

By MacDopel

Both should be built!


It does make sense to hold up this development that would greatly improve an architecturally unattractive corner of the City.Delays could result in investors pulling out at a time when financial investment and creation of jobs is badly needed and especially at a time when there is a possibility of an economic recession looming.

By Mr Paul Griffiths

There is hope for those of us who like sunshine and don’t like the idea of living permanently in the shade.

By Steve

The city centre is expanding, people should accept this. Building more HMOs will release houses which are used for student accommodation.

By Anonymous

Looks like if you are spirited enough this is sufficient to override policy and the wider needs of the city. Madness. Also, this site is maybe 5-10 mins walk away from Albert Square. Have they really not been for a visit already – shocking!

By Anonymous

Deferring items for something you should have already done, as a lot of other councils have members formally visit sites prior to the committee meeting, always irks me.

By JohnMac

Ah, what you’ll be wanting Steve is called Countryside. Head out there’s loads of it. This will pass early next year…after the councillors have there jolly boys outing, just as speakers house did.

By Anonymous

The extortionate prices of the proposed PBSA will not free up the HMOs for families, this is wishful thinking from MCC. Prices for a tiny room in a tower are double that of a 2-3 bedroom house with a garden, and living in a shared house is all part of the Uni experience. Giant towers of PBSA do not contribute business rates or council tax to the city. The new houses built in Brunswick over past decade have lease conditions preventing them being rented as HMOs. Upper Brook Street land should be used for more family housing for the community, supermarket, and local amenities. Why should families be forced out? Some of us have grown up in this area and have generations of our family here. Impressive to see the Councillors fighting for their residents.

By John

@10:39 John…If everyone expected all the expanding generations of their families to be housed in their local areas, then how would a city grow? There used to be housing on all the city centre streets presumably but as the city grew, it had to make way for other things. Why should land so close to the city be given over to family houses when it can benefit the wider population by providing workspace and labs, bringing income in, as well as housing students in purpose built high rise, taking them away from other parts of town.

By Clouded Leopard

Well the comments here are certainly lopsided and arguably in favour those with a vestied interest in construction, HMOs or dare I suggest sock accounts for the developers.
The mere suggestion that existing residents should clear off is offensive. Ardwick as a whole is still reeling from the clearances from the 1960s.
The proposed developments are equally grotesque. Where is the provision for parking for this monstrous block?
Who’d benefit from this long term? Not the community with drain on resources or more transient residents who add zilch to the community.
Bin this nonsense development and give residents what they need, family homes with covenants against HMOs, heck put a supermarket there!

By Ardwick Resident

Such a shame. I think the Universities plans look great. I watched the planning committee live yesterday and it felt like watching a Donald Trump interview. The local Cllr’s for Fallowfield and the objector supposedly speaking for me as a resident are so misled. They were talking about points of law being ignored around the destruction of bat habits. Natural England give licenses for the safe removal and relocation of bats! I studied ecology so I should know the importance of protecting these species!
I also read the committee report because I am genuinely interested, and whilst I’m not an expert in planning, the report and need explained made sense to me.
Committee members were woefully poor. Not one of them came across as they had read the report and the request for a site visit made me laugh, not sure what this will achieve. Or do they just need to figure out where Fallowfield actually is!
Now, as a resident there are genuine problems with litter in the area. But I don’t see how the University can be held to account when you can see they are trying to create more beds within their existing campus.
As an alumni who lived in Owen’s Park it’s such a dump now. Manchester is one of the greatest cities in the country, if not the world. We have worldwide acclaim for the incredible things achieved by Mancunians and UoM Alumni alike.
If anyone from the committee reads this, I really hope they get their act together and approve these plans. The HMO situation everyone complains about will not improve until more students can live on campus!
So don’t fanny around in January and do the job you’re elected to do!

By Fallowfield resident and Uni of Manc Alumni

The Brunswick PFI should have had elements of high rise in it to increase density whilst renewing and adding floors to existing housing. This close to the city centre they will regret not doing that in 10 years time. All the PFI did was improve the housing and not really increase any density…perfect opportunity missed. Councillors may like to be seen “fighting” for their residents but that’s short term thinking. This area WILL change due to its proximity to the city centre…you can either be included in that change or eventually have it forced upon you. And if the councillors are from the area they should know the site inside out. I do and I’m not even from the local area.

By Anon

Labour should be called the conservative party nowadays with councillors like that

By Dan

@Concerned why do you have to do Grimsby like that.

By Grimbarian

David Jones @ 4.29.

Sacha Lord thinks overpriced student accommodation is a great idea as it lines the pockets of his self interest playtime supporters

By John

The schemes will get the nod in Jan and then Councillors can tell their constituents they tried and that should be enough to secure their vote at the next elections.

By Alan

Who on earth puts these Councillors in place?? I watched the on line committee hearing and it looked like we were going back in time to the 1970s! An important city centre regeneration scheme creating lots of jobs and high quality development which will rejuvenate the surrounding area. How on earth can these jokers sit there full of self importance and self righteousness and yet not take the time to have even visited the site?!? Shame on the Councillors and an absolute embarrassment. They would fit in well at Liverpool Council!

By Mr Embarrased

When will councillors ever be held responsible for reckless decisions? There is a good chance that schemes refused which benefitted from a positive officer recommendation will be approved at appealed, costing the tax payer unnecessarily. Larger developers can affordable the time and expense of appealing, but some SME’s can’t, meaning that companies that tend to be more open to innovation, sustainability and delivering meaningful social value are penalised.

By Ardy

Don’t sort the ‘fly’ commuter car parking blocking all of our pavements every working day 9-4pm, or refuse to set aside land for a proper medium-large local supermarket, we’ll object to a development with inadequate parking bringing 1000s more people into our area. Only people to blame are the clueless fools managing Manchester City Council.

There’s a certain Billy Ray Cyrus song you can listen to, if this upsets or triggers you.

By Baron Von Aardvick III

Ardwick Resident is typical of the backward NIMBY mentality that is holding this city, no this country, back. Manchester thrives off the back of it’s university sector, with three top class universities. The students bring revenue and jobs to the city, not to mention the diversity of culture along with the research that a university brings. People like the Ardwick Resident seem to think that all that a modern economy revolves around is supermarket’s. Actually no, I bet even if Lidl turned up with an an application, they’d fine a reason to moan.

By Adam

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