Manchester to rethink unpopular Hough End proposals
The council has backed down in the face of a campaign against plans to extend the leisure centre and build two artificial sports pitches. The authority will now go back to the drawing board and aims to lodge revised plans in August.
The Princess Road project would have seen the erection of a two-storey extension to Hough End Leisure Centre comprising changing facilities, a café, flexible social rooms and gym space.
Under the plans, the existing changing pavilion building would have been demolished to make way for the new-build extension.
Also included in the 15-acre scheme was the introduction of two 3G pitches and associated lighting and fencing, along with a 67-space car park and 100-space overflow car park.
However, the proposals have proved unpopular with some residents.
A petition launched by campaign group Save Hough End Fields has garnered more than 2,500 signatures since the council lodged plans for the project in April.
The petitioners object to the plans to build the enclosed artificial pitches on the open space to the rear of the leisure centre, claiming it goes against a historic covenant aimed at maintaining the land for public use.
“Fencing off areas is not in the spirit…[or] in the wording of the covenant,” the group said.
Save Hough End Fields also raised concerns about the impact the project would have on wildlife and air quality.
The city council has withdrawn its planning application for the project in response to the objections.
Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have listened carefully to what residents have had to say and their responses will help to shape our new proposals for the site in the future.
“We would like to thank all residents and community groups who have engaged in the community consultation to date and will now reflect on the feedback that has been provided to shape the revised scheme.”
Consultancy ISG submitted the plans on behalf of Manchester City Council, while the scheme’s architect is Ellis Williams Architects.
Greenwich Leisure operates Hough End Leisure Centre for the city council.