Leftfield’s 24-storey Manchester tower finally secures consent

While the 415-home scheme on Dantzic Street has been granted planning permission after a two-year wait, a start on site is not understood to be imminent with the plot still up for sale.

First put forward in December 2016, the SimpsonHaugh-designed project features four blocks of 24, 15, 10, and six storeys, including 415 apartments and 2,900 sq ft of commercial space on a vacant plot between Dantzic Street and Dulwich Street.

While planning permission was granted in October 2017 with no objections, planning officers said at the time that the council’s strategic development team had put forward late representations with it being “essential the development makes the appropriate financial decisions for key infrastructure improvements”.

A decision notice was finally issued last week, along with the Section 106 agreement, which will in theory allow work to begin on site.

Place North West understands much of the delay has been with the various landowners for the site having to sign the agreement. With the city council understood to be losing patience, all the signatures were able to be gathered before planning permission lapsed.

There are six signatories to the Section 106 agreement, excluding the council; Isle of Man-based Leftfield Investment Holdings; Leftfield General Partner, Leftfield Nominees, Leftfield Investments Limited Partnership, all of which are based at the same address in London; four Macclesfield-based private owners, all treated as one party; and Sprint Loans.

The first five are all considered landowners, while Spring Loans is the mortgagee. According to Companies House, Abdou Amadou, based in Switzerland, and Collin Walwyn, based in Saint Kitts & Nevis, are listed as persons with significant control over Leftfield General Partner, with a sole director, Richard Kay, listed for Leftfield Nominees.

Despite the signing of the Section 106 agreement, sources close to the deal have cast doubt on the project getting under way in the immediate future. The site is understood to remain up for sale, with Savills originally acting as the retained agent; in May this year, the site was also marketed by WT Gunson.

At one point, the site was offered for sale at around £9.5m; while parties including Far East Consortium were understood to be interested, the asking price was too high for bids to be made. Leftfield also has options on parts of a neighbouring development site which is owned by a number of different parties.

While the use of compulsory purchase order powers had been mooted – the Northern Gateway strategic regeneration framework, adopted after Leftfield secured its original consent, includes some provision for these – this is understood to come with a prohibitive cost.

The wider Northern Gateway, which stretches from Victoria Station to Collyhurst, now takes in the Leftfield site and its surroundings, as well as the nearby Angelgate plot, which was bought by FEC, the council’s development partner for the masterplan, at auction.

The decision notice was issued by Manchester City Council on 24 October. At the same planning committee as Leftfield secured its initial consent, Unite Students secured consent for a tower at New Wakefield Street in the city, subject to a Section 106 agreement; construction of this building is well under way.

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