Atlas Business Park expansion, Aviva, p planning docs

Aviva's scheme is partially located in Green Belt. Credit: via planning documents

Manchester waves through Ancoats resi, refuses 400,000 sq ft industrial 

The 256-home Phoenix Ironworks was unanimously approved on Thursday, while Aviva Investors’ plans to extend Atlas Business Park were rejected on Green Belt grounds. 

 Atlas Business Park

Atlas Business Park proposal Aviva p Aviva

Hale Architecture designed the warehouses for Aviva. Credit: via Aviva Investors

Developer: Aviva Investors  

Architect: Hale Architecture  

Planner: Turley  

Aviva’s hopes of developing a five-unit extension to the existing Atlas Business Park in Wythenshawe have been dealt a blow.  

The city council refused the application in line with officers’ recommendations due to concerns about the impact it would have on Green Belt and Manchester Airport.  

Aviva Investors submitted a planning application for 411,000 sq ft of employment space close to the airport in September, almost a year after first consulting on the proposals.   

Designed by Hale Architecture, the scheme proposed the construction of five units ranging from 37,000 sq ft to 166,000 sq ft on a vacant 23-acre plot off Simonsway.   

Part of the site, close to both Heald Green train station and Peel Hall Metrolink station, was previously occupied by the Ferranti electronics factory. The company went bust in 1993.  

Around half of the site is located within the strip of Green Belt that separates Heald Green and Wythenshawe.   

To learn more about the application, search for reference number 135952/FO/2023 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal. 

Phoenix Ironworks 

Phoenix Ironworks Makers Yard, Manchester Life, p.planning docs

The internal courtyard at Phoenix Ironworks. Credit: via planning documents

Developer: Manchester Life – a joint venture between Manchester City Council and Acre Real Estate Investment and Development.    

Architect: Callison RTKL  

Planner: Deloitte  

The next phase of Ancoats’ regeneration will see a former industrial site redeveloped into 256 homes, following unanimous approval by the Manchester City Council’s planning committee yesterday. 

Designed by Callison RTKL, the project would deliver a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses and up to 14,500 sq ft of commercial space, including a row of workshops geared towards creatives.   

Located off Naval Street, Poland Street, Jersey Street, and Radium Street, the proposal does not feature any affordable homes.  

A viability appraisal by Savills estimates the scheme has a gross development value of £77.1m and will cost £71.5m to develop.   

The project team features Mace, Planit, Deloitte, Curtins, Buro Happold, Sandy Brown, Hoare Lea, Turner and Townsend, and Counter Context.   

To learn more about the project, search for application reference number 137346/FO/2023 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal.  

Phoenix Ironworks builds on Manchester Life’s extensive work in Ancoats and New Islington, which has seen the business deliver nearly 1,500 homes across the neighbourhoods.    

Earlier this year, the company succeeded in securing planning permission for 190-flat Jersey Wharf project, located close to Phoenix Ironworks.   


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What is it with all these new apartments in Ancoats having horizontal windows and no balconies. Such a shame, MCC need to make a stance.

By Urbano

Once again we see major developments being accepted without an affordable housing allocation. Local plan and National Planning Policy states that there must be a subsidised route for affordable home ownership for local young families and for the local workers within the borough.
All I see is the local community being marginalised and being one of the poorest wards in Manchester I wonder how many young families could afford to buy a 3 bedroom property on the site. We are going down the same route as London village and forcing the indigenous population out of areas they and their parents grew up in and contributed to the local economy for all those years. I think the council has lost sight of the issue and ignores the plight of those trying to get a foothold on the housing ladder.

By Themisk

Phoenix Ironworks looks exciting, in-keeping, and the row of workshops seems v. smart. A real crucible of talent & glad to keep some space aside for the start up brands that seem to proliferate.

Must say I can’t agree with talk about marginalisation. The application is pretty clear that this is a former industrial site. Other than squatters, nobody is getting displaced – what we are getting is high quality dense urban living in one of the most vibrant and trendy parts of the country. One of the hippest spots in the U.K., 1km from the heart of one of Europe’s largest cities – these are going to be in high demand and you’d expect city centre prices.

There’s a very clear disconnect between poorer households and those in the Urban Splash apartments – but that’s a critique, not an actionable strategy moving forward. Do we want MCC to lose out on the greater council tax revenue? Do we want less housing? Do we want to see the back of the thriving hospitality scene around Ancoats? Do we want to see the back of those high value added jobs in the creative sector? Do we want to see the gains to ‘indigenous’ house values crash?

As is, a cursory look on right move shows within 3 miles of Naval St. there are 92, 3-bed properties available – under £200k. Many of which – shock horror – will be bought by non indigenous Mancunians. The investment boom is predicated on a growing, modern, productive city region.

By Anonymous

The whole ‘affordable’ housing diatribe in the city centre is beyond meme or parody now. This is on the edge of one of Europes fastest growing and most dynamic cities. Market forces will dictate what is built and sold here and they are not dictating anything else yet, not here anyway.

By Anonymous

So, elsewhere today, MCC is pleased to be given £20 million to have yet another go at Wythenshawe town centre, but here is its Planning Committee turning down high quality, well-located employment space, because Green Belt is the new thing councillors want to compete with each other about. Green Belt ship sailed here years ago, once the Airport was allowed to expand. This site was part of the former factory, and some incidental open space, mostly lawn, which hasn’t been used or accessible for years. All surrounded by existing development and airport car parks. Should have been released from the Green Belt already, and hopefully a good prospect for appeal. Meanwhile, Labour councillors on the Committee will have to find something else to put on their leaflets now they all seem to have lost interest in affordable housing again.

By Breen Gelt

Great that the Ancoats development is being approved, although I agree with others that a residential building this height should have balconies, and decent sized ones as well.

Really odd that the industrial site was rejected. There is no clear reason why in this article outside of impact with the airport and greenbelt. No idea why this impacts the airport. Industry near airports are the right things. Who wants to live under a flight path?

As for Greenbelt, that is equally perplexing. Greenbelts can be good, but again, this is under the flight path of a hugely busy airport. There is no lovely, relaxing nature to roll around in here. It shouldn’t be green belt. This is where industry should be built.


The unstoppable march of MCFC and its associates continues. Manchester should thank its lucky stars and doff its cap to the moment in its history when Sheikh Mansour said ‘yes’ to buying Man City. East Manchester has been on an upward curve ever since this is the latest example. Well done Your Highness, we salute you.

By Micky F.

Glad the apartments have been approved. Atlas business park is unsightly and looks mostly empty, there’s so many empty office spaces around now because the rent is too high and more people are WFH.

By Anonymous

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