Hodder + Partners designed the scheme. Credit: via planning documents

Manchester changes tune on refused Parrs Wood resi

After refusing Dandara’s plans for the 75-apartment Blackbird Yard last year, the city council has decided not contest the matter at appeal.

Having reviewed additional information supplied by the developer in relation to the scheme’s impact on highways and parking, Manchester City Council has accepted that the development is acceptable. 

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said the city council is “satisfied that the further information addresses the three reasons of refusal set out within its original decision notice”.

“As such, the city council has concluded that it does not wish to contest the reasons for refusal and will only be at the inquiry in an assisting capacity to the planning inspector.”

In addition, a statement submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the city council states that the additional information and evidence provided by Dandara “has demonstrated that the proposals would not give rise to unacceptable impacts on congestion on the highway network…[or]harmful levels of development-related parking on nearby residential streets.” 

The additional information, provided by Curtins, addresses concerns around parking and congestion on local roads.

In terms of parking, Manchester City Council was worried that the lack of on-site parking included in the scheme would result in an unacceptable increase in on-street parking nearby, impacting residents.

A report by Curtins disproves this, stating that “there is demonstrable spare capacity on-street within walking distance of the site”, adding that “any impacts on residential amenity would be minimal”.

In terms of highways, Dandara has always maintained that the impact on local roads would be minimal. However, the city council requested more up-to-date modelling than the original traffic assessment, which was drawn up using data from September 2021.

Curtins has since provided data from surrounding roads from November 2022 that reached “exactly the same conclusions” as the original report, namely that the impact of the proposed development on the operation of the local highway network would be minimal.

It is understood an inquiry will still go ahead and a final decision on the matter will be taken by the planning inspector. 

Manchester City Council rejected Dandara’s plans to redevelop part of the Tesco car park in Parrs Wood last year. The reasons for refusal were as follows:

  • The proposal is for a high-density form of residential development outside of an identified district centre that does not address the housing needs of the area 
  • The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposed development would not give rise to unacceptable impacts to congestion on the highway network. 
  • The proposals fail to provide an adequate level of on-site car parking to serve the proposed residential units – 36 spaces are proposed. 

Designed by Hodder + Partners, the project would be constructed on part of the existing Tesco car park, resulting in a reduction of the number of spaces from 322 to 261.   

Blackbird Yard would comprise 25 one-bedroom apartments, 40 with two bedrooms, and 10 three-bedroom flats. 20% of the homes are earmarked as affordable.

To learn more, search for application reference number 133746/FO/2022 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal.

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Massive overdevelopment

By Dan

It’s developments like these that are turning Manchester into a grown-up city region. Sustainable land use like this is what Manchester needs if it’s going to grow, while not clogging up the transport network. Here you have a supermarket, metrolink, rail, bus, gym and restaurants outside your door, with local centres and green spaces a walk away. This decision is sensible. We need to densify the suburbs with more of these. This will bring the life and activity you see in places abroad with proper population density. To boot, it’s not tearing up any greenfield land, but will turn dead parking spaces into something useful. Get in!

By Fantastic

Dan – what would you rather see here?

By Anonymous

Embarassing for the council. Next time perhaps officers should consider their reasons for refusal more carefully and not just automatically pander to NIMBYs. The city needs more homes to temper rising rents and house prices – this is a fact. Reasons for refusal surrounding car parking are rooted in the 1970s and have no place in a modern functioning city.

By Oops

Quite good gameplay by MCC, initially refusing development to please the local councillors, then when the costs of such an appeal to MCC are properly communicated to councillors it’s easier to back peddle to save some money and get the development in. Everyone’s a winner.

By Anonymous

Houses, not flats, this is Didsbury, not some student ghetto or the city centre, it’s a family area

By Dan

The solitary clock tower is quite a nice little aspect, which will be lost with this. On the one hand I am all for progress, but on the other I struggle to get behind this one.

By Tom

Here we go again only 20% Affordable, I think their should be a minimum of 50% affordable on new builds because then it would be fair I’m sick of outsider’s mainly from the more affluent south who’s cost of living is higher. Here is an example. My friends, friend as recently sold his 1 bedroomed flat in London for £430.000
So if he wanted to he could buy a 4 or 5 bedroomed home up here, so it might even the playing field, if the cost of living difference was taken into account, by a levey on the people who are snapping up all the best of the Northwest’s housing stoke

By Paulspoet

Wonder if they can revisit that good looking Ollier Smuthwaite development that was refused in Rusholme.

Got to agree with Fantastic this is the sort of mid rise density close to transit and amenities we should see across Manchester and GM. Labour has such a stronger majority in Manchester you’d hope it could be bolder in the suburbs. Just thoughtful as Labour gets closer to national government, Lib Dem’s tend to revive in Labour authorities, and they aren’t exactly pro development.

By Rich X

Surprised MCC refused it in the first place. Much needed homes in a good location. Everyone was screaming it but MCC seemed deaf to that or had it’s own agenda. Shame about the waste of money and time and time-cost…and now the developers will have to add these costs onto the sales/rental prices somehow.

By Anon

I bet there was nothing new in this “additional information” that wasn’t available at the time of the planning application. What a waste of public money and resources… Clearly car parking is more important to MCC than affordable housing.

By Anonymous

The only reason the council recommended refusal was the 200+ objections from members of the public – very few of whom would actually even see the development. One of the objectors at the committee meeting lived on the over side of the 15 metre raised railway embankment and somehow claimed he would see it from his rear garden. Objectors claimed there were too few parking spaces, yet complained the junction was inadequate to deal with the increased amount of vehicles entering and leaving the site. Make your mind up! NIMBYs at their worst – make arguments against development without realising the contradictions in them.

By Js

Possibly more to this story, but why couldn’t this have been resolved during the determination process rather than building up to Reasons for Refusal and then climbing back down later?

By William Shaw

36 spaces and 75 apartments was not acceptable . Neither was the comment re accessible parking available within 5 minutes walking distance . No one will park that far away the general attitude is ” as close as I can get ” at home, work & the shops . This will lead to bad feelings with the locals who already live there .

By Anonymous

Anonymous (2:58 pm) – I am a bit perplexed. Surely the solution is for it not to be inevitable that people who live on one of the busiest bus routes in Europe, next to a tram stop, all have cars, and therefore for parking not to be required?
Britain (and the world) needs to use cars less, whether we like it or not – even the switch to Electric Vehicles won’t eliminate congestion, or parking issues, and until then we also have to worry about emissions. If housing can’t be built without additional parking in an area with such strong public transport links, where can it be built?

By Salfordian

it shouldn’t be passed. I can not believe they are even thinking about it. just look at the traffic out there . Labour is totally out of order even considering this

By Anonymous

Wow wow wow. Where did they find the parking places?? They can’t park on Kingsway or Didsbury Road. The tram station ends up over spilling onto Burnage Lane. Parrswood Avenue DOES NOT have space for parking on either side of the road. Parrswood Road on either side of Wilmslow Road has drives they park on. If cars park on the drive they won’t get out.
Saying they will be house prices they are affordable will not be for the average price. The flat prices in Didsbury are much higher than elsewhere. Hence the reason they want to build here.
It is easy for planning who do not actually come and see what this will look like, have site of the roads and the challenges for the parking in the area.
It’s easy to decide, then when things are bad, say it’s not our fault if there are major challenges, they’ll blame the people who did the assessment.
Please really assess this and don’t step back and say we’ve no objections.
Thanks for reading.
Sandra Hill

By Sandra Hill

This is a disportionate development of rental properties overshadowing a local historic landmark. Nothing wrong with building there but make sure the properties are for sale to help first time buyers, and built on a scale that fits the environment, not high rises better suited to a city centre.

By Anonymous

Rubbish scheme on a crazily busy junction. It really shouldn’t be resi but should have been commercial. Mad.

By Dr B

Some absolutely ridiculous comments on here from disgruntled, out of touch NIMBYs. The site is on a main road, next to a train station, metro station, and well-serviced bus routes. It would be a ridiculous place for family housing. Likewise, requiring car-centric development would make no sense given its highly sustainable location. That Tesco car park is barely ever 1/4 full, let alone heavily congested!

By Anonymous

This area already has parking issues with our roads congested and poor parking blocking our driveways. Whoever says that it won’t add to the problem clearly hasn’t researched the area properly.

By Anonymous

It’s not about being able to see it, or the parking implications. It’s the fact that that section of road is dangerous as it stands without adding more congestion into the mix. A woman was ran over by a taxi near that junction just the other day.


I agree with Dan, the size and scale of these flats is totally out of keeping with the area. The developer has estmated 205 residents so 33 parking spaces is woefully low which means residents and visitors will park on nearby streets causing chaos to local businesses and residential amenity. Traffic will be affected at an already dangerous junction where a severe accident happened on Thursday. I have read the additional docs provided by the developer and it hasn’t changed my mind. In fact the developer, in their parking survey has more or less stated that nearby streets will be their overspill carpark! This is the wrong build in the wrong area and I hope they lose the appeal.

By Right Build Right Place

Rubbish development. Massive rental block pleasing no-one but the developer, landlord and Tesco. Screw existing residents

By Off to Aldi

It’s interesting how people who drive view the world. Can’t possibly walk for 5 minutes and they assume everyone else drives. 40% of people in Manchester don’t own cars – perhaps get out of your cars and smell the fresh air, you’ll maybe even start to enjoy life once you’re not prisoning yourself in a metal cage all day every day.

By Anonymous

Thes 40% of people who don’t own cars are OAPs and children

By DS Resident

In Manchester, you are far safer driving than walking or getting the tram, especially if you are a young woman

By Dan

A modest building making good use of an empty plot in a sustainable location. A dramatic improvement on what’s there.

Honestly – what’s all the fuss about? People just like to moan don’t they.


DS Resident – it is 40% of households that don’t own cars in Manchester according to 2021 Census.

By Just walk

This feels like a classic example of where the UK planning system is broken. In other countries there would be a national or regional zoning category for land near transit that allows certain types of mid-rise developments as of right. I think it’s a matter public record that metrolink communities enjoy house price premiums yet the network requires support from public funds. There’s a basic fairness question here too.

By Rich X

Dan – you have to start living in the real world. Houses would not be viable here due to land costs. About 40% of homes in Didsbury are flats (2021 Census). It is not exclusively houses like you assert.

By Anonymous

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