More than £1bn of Manchester development approved

On a huge day for city centre investment, plans for two co-living schemes from Downing and Union Living, Far East Consortium’s 634-home Victoria Riverside, and Engie’s 400 homes in Miles Platting were all approved by the council, but the controversial Warp & Weft was knocked back.  

US-based arena developer Oak View Group also won approval for a £350m arena in East Manchester, a scheme described by Manchester City Council planning officer Dave Roscoe as “game-changing”. 


First Street co-living cluster 

Downing First Street

The development will be Manchester’s largest co-living scheme

Developer: Downing    

Architect: SimpsonHaugh    

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate  

Value: £300m  

After two previous unsuccessful reviews by the council’s planning committee, developer Downing was given the green light to build a £300m co-living scheme on First Street close to Mancunian Way. 

The scheme, which comprises 2,224 bedrooms across four blocks including a 45-storey tower, had been deferred and refused in recent months due to concerns raised by councillors over its potential impact on surrounding residential areas in Hulme.

Downing bought the site, Plot 11 on the edge of First Street, from investment manager Patrizia last March for around £18m. The developer submitted plans in January.

Around 44,000 sq ft of amenity and surrounding public realm are contained in the proposals. The flats would be split between 11 accommodation types, ranging from compact studios to five-bedroom apartments.    

The co-living proposals include 1,113 apartments divided between one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms, along with 1,091 studio apartments.    

Downing, which will also construct the scheme, will start on site this year. 

George Tyson, projects director at Downing, said: “We’re delighted to secure approval from the council to deliver our vision for First Street, to create a resident-led living space that will complement the area’s existing blend of cultural, leisure, retail and office space.  

“We believe our plans will add to the diversity and vibrancy of the working and residential community already based in and around First Street, and act as a catalyst for future phases of regeneration in the area, including the Oxford Road Corridor. 

Water Street co-living 

Union Living Towers

The two co-living towers occupy a site on Water Street Vita bought from Allied London 12 months ago

Developer: Vita Group and Manchester Quays, a joint venture between Allied London and Manchester City Council  

Architect: Denton Corker Marshall    

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate    

Value: £222m

Union Living, the co-living arm of Vita Group, has secured approval for the second of a pair of co-living towers on Water Street after the first was approved in July. 

Vita Group bought two sites on Water Street in the St John’s area of the city centre from developer Allied London last year and approval of the second tower, at 32-storeys, means the firm will now deliver a total of 762 apartments, totalling more than 1,600 bedspaces, across the £222m development. 

The first tower, built over 36 storeys with 800 bedspaces, was approved by the planning committee two months ago, but consent for the second was delayed due to concerns over space requirements. The tower comprises 870 bedspaces across 350 units. 

Officers said that the objections put forward in July’s meeting could not be substantiated and recommended that the scheme be approved for a second time in August, but it was deferred.  

However, yesterday the planning committee approved the scheme after being again told by officers that there were no statutory grounds to refuse it. 

Miles Platting homes 

Engie Miles Platting 2

The development was designed by Levitt Bernstein

Developer: Engie Services and Landcare  

Architect: Levitt Bernstein   

Planner: Avison Young and Allsop 

Value: £80m

Developer Engie, alongside Landcare, part of regeneration firm NPL Group, are to build 410 homes on a 16-acre plot of land off Hulme Hall Lane, next to the Rochdale Canal in Miles Platting.  

A total of 303 units will be houses, with a further 107 apartments across four blocks. The plans include 8,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Many of the homes would be delivered through the housing association One Manchester on affordable tenures. A total of 36 homes would be available for shared ownership with 34 for affordable rent.  

Additionally, the plans propose two acres of open public space. 

James Crow, divisional head of investments and development management at Engie UK & Ireland, said: “This is an exemplar of regeneration in the modern world, taking a derelict brownfield site and transforming it into a multi-tenure, energy efficient development with much-needed new homes.” 

Simon Towers, group managing director at NPL Group, added: “The proposals focus on creating a family-orientated community with a range of homes for all ages.

“The scheme will provide a high-quality sustainable neighbourhood, including local shops and enhanced connections into and around the site, ensuring that the new development is integrated with the wider community.” 

Engie and Landcare are working with funding partners to commence site activity in early 2021. 

Victoria Riverside 

FEC Victoria Riverside 2

FEC lodged plans for more than 600 flats on Dantzic Street in May

Developer: Far East Consortium   

Architect: Hawkins\Brown  

Planner: Avison Young  

Value: £185m

Victoria Riverside totals 634 homes across three towers, of 37, 26 and 18 storeys, linked by podiums.  

The £185m scheme includes 611 flats and 23 townhouses and is the largest so far to have come forward within the wider £1bn Northern Gateway masterplan, being delivered by a joint venture between FEC and Manchester City Council.  

The Northern Gateway could see 15,000 homes built to the north of the city centre over the next 20 years.  

The Angelgate site became mired in controversy after the 2017 administration of its previous developer, Pinnacle, which owed overseas investors £24m in deposits for a planned 344-home project that never came forward.  

FEC bought the site at auction in 2018 for £5.2m. The developer is bringing forward two other residential schemes nearby, at Addington Street in New Cross, and in Collyhurst. 

Hilary Brett, project director at Far East Consortium, said: “This is such an important site for us and securing planning consent is a significant milestone to allow us to kick start the regeneration of the Red Bank neighbourhood as part of the first phase of the Northern Gateway. We are hoping to be on site with a package of enabling works later this year with main construction commencing in 2021.”
Katie Tonkinson, partner at Hawkins\Brown, said: “As the first phase of the Northern Gateway project, Victoria Riverside promotes a regeneration approach that prioritises good design quality, provision of public realm and the expansion of the urban life of the city. The three towers are positioned to allow physical and visual permeability across the site, opening up and improving key routes along Bromley Street and Dantzic Street as well as helping integrate the proposals with the wider district.”


Warp & Weft

Warp And Weft Thomas Strret

The developer had hoped to start the redevelopment of the site before Christmas

Manchester City Council’s planning committee rejected plans to demolish three grade two-listed buildings that would have unlocked the Northern Quarter site for a residential scheme known as Warp & Weft, against officers’ recommendations.

In August, officers voted unanimously for a motion of “minded to refuse” the plans from developer Real Estate Investment Partnership, but the plans were deferred for further consideration in this month’s committee meeting.

The former weaver’s cottages were spot-listed in 2018 to block the redevelopment of the site after REIP won consent to bring forward a five-storey apartment block containing 20 units in 2017.

The council had originally approved REIP’s demolition proposals in August 2017, saying the project “represents sustainable development and will bring significant social, economic and environmental benefits” to the area.

A year later, Historic England granted the cottages grade two-listed status following an application from an anonymous individual.

Then, in February this year, REIP lodged a listed building application for the demolition of the listed terrace – the application that was knocked back in August.

The developer declined to comment.

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