News of Manchester's development strategy to 2018 was one of the best read stories of the year

Best read stories of 2015

Place North West looks back at the stories most popular with readers over the past year, with headlines dominated by big development strategies, new companies entering the market and bumper planning agendas.

See below for overall top stories of 2015

Best read stories by month


Fire at Albert Square block

The Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service was called to Carlton House after a fire from a restaurant kitchen spread through the building.

Alderley Park masterplan out

A draft development framework for the 400-acre science park in Cheshire was released by Cheshire East Council and Manchester Science Partnerships.


Mersey land reclamation ready to start at Liverpool 2

The infilling of 30 acres of land to support Peel Ports’ £300m major infrastructure project began, following the completion of an 854-metre quay wall.

Surf Snowdonia set for July opening

Construction was close to finishing on a £12m inland lagoon in Dalgarrog, backed by crane hire tycoon Martin Ainscough.


Peel to submit £1bn Trafford Waters plan

Peel outlined plans for a £1bn development on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, with 3,000 apartments and 875,000 sq ft of offices.

GB Group to call in administrators

The parent company of Stockport-based contractor and developer GB Building Solutions announced that it was appointing an administrator, leaving 230 employees out of work.


Ex-Tushingham Moore team to form new practice

After the Manchester-based retail agency was bought by Lambert Smith Hampton, a group of five Tushingham Moore advisors set up on their own.

500,000 sq ft office requirement hits market

An unnamed occupier believed to be a Government department launched its search for office sites in Manchester and Liverpool city centres.


St Peter’s Square Metrolink images out

Transport for Greater Manchester released visuals showing the proposed new tram stop, part of the Second City Crossing works ongoing all year.

Two horse race for Oxford Road station

Muse Developments and Bruntwood went head to head to bring forward a scheme around Oxford Road station in Manchester city centre.


Senior departures at Capital Properties

Managing director Mark Burgess and communications director Fran Burgess left the Spinningfields-based property management firm.

Brownfield just doesn’t work says Liverpool head of planning

David Hughes, head of planning at Liverpool City Council, called for the release of open space for development, at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s housing conference.


Pomona Wharf flats plan submitted

Rowlinson and Peel submitted a planning application to Trafford Council for 164 apartments at the St George’s end of Pomona Island.

Manchester sets out city centre strategy to 2018

Manchester City Council revealed a strategic plan for the next three years of development in the city centre, including at NOMA, St Peter’s Square, and St John’s.


Legat Owen joins forces with Lamont

Chester agent Legat Owen bought Nantwich-based Lamont Commercial to create a firm of 37 staff.

Review | Surf Snowdonia

Extreme sports fanatic Michelle Rothwell took to the waves at the launch of the North Wales attraction.


Manchester Place brings latest site to market

A 1.5-acre site on one of the key routes into Manchester was marketed for residential development by the city council.

Starchitects shortlisted for £110m Factory

Rafael Vinoly, Zaha Hadid and SimpsonHaugh made the shortlist of nine architecture practices vying to design the Factory arts centre at the former ITV Granada site in Manchester.


Peel publishes Northern Powerhouse prospectus

John Whittaker, chairman of The Peel Group, wrote to the Prime Minister asking for more to be done to support the private sector in the North.

Seven schemes on Manchester approval list

Manchester City Council’s planning committee met to discuss several major projects, including a 35-storey tower, a hotel, homes and an 86,000 sq ft office.


Manchester building boom continues

Bumper planning agendas continued in Manchester, as the council was recommended to approve the development of 550 apartments and 350,000 sq ft of offices.

Liverpool 2 mega cranes arrive from China

The first of the large quayside cranes to be employed at the Liverpool 2 container terminal sailed up the River Mersey.


Alliance proposes 31-storey Piccadilly tower

Property Alliance Group submitted plans for a high-rise residential scheme at the corner of Store Street and Millbank Street near to Piccadilly station.

Manchester set for record year in office lettings

Office agents predicted that Manchester city centre would hit 1.4m sq ft by the end of 2015, thanks to several big lettings due to be signed before Christmas.

Top 20 best read stories of 2015

  1. Peel to submit £1bn Trafford Waters plan
  2. GB Group to call in administrators
  3. MCR buys on Cambridge Street
  4. Peel publishes Northern Powerhouse prospectus
  5. Manchester building boom continues
  6. Alliance proposes 31-storey Piccadilly tower
  7. Tushingham Moore team to form new practice
  8. Seven schemes on Manchester approval list
  9. Airport starts design contest for £1bn transformation
  10. Starchitects shortlisted for £110m Factory
  11. St Peter’s Square Metrolink images out
  12. Manchester Place brings latest site to market
  13. Allied London poised to buy fire station
  14. Developer plans 2016 start for River Street tower
  15. Manchester signs off six city schemes
  16. Mersey land reclamation ready to start at Liverpool 2
  17. Liverpool 2 mega-cranes arrive from China
  18. Senior departures at Capital Properties
  19. 500,000 sq ft office requirement hits market
  20. Forshaw tower at River Street approved

Your Comments

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Greater Manchester has roughly 2x the population of Merseyside, yet just two Liverpool stories in the top 20 (both Liverpool2). Says it all about the gulf really…

By Uni

Don’t think it is a ‘gulf’ just different stages in resurgence.Manchester is a few years in front,that is all.

By Elephant

Also, depends on the readership base and interest in the subject, GM is powering ahead, but Liverpool and the rest of the NW will be sure to follow, lets hope the whole NW cotinues to grow.

By Man on bicycle

Liverpool isn’t doing so bad ,infact it’s doing pretty well.
Place northwrst is manchester based so…….

By Karen

Of course it’s Manchester based, it’s hardly going to be based in Preston, Chester or Liverpool is it?

By Yarrum

Why not?

By Man on bicycle

There are two cities in the Northwest, some people in Manchester don’t seem to accept that, only some I hasten to add.


Just the 2? Some Scousers can’t count. Chester, Preston and Salford for starters

By Midway

I don’t think Chester is the same sort of city as Liverpool or Manchester and neither would we want to be.

By ChesterPhil

Liverpool’s a big draw these days – Prifddynas Gogledd Cymru eto! honorary capital anyway.

By Arwel Prestatyn

You can’t even get a direct train to Liverpool from Prestatyn anymore, not popular enough.
There’s one an hour to Manchester, that’s where the jobs are. Sure planty from North Wales go to Liverpool for Uni, but it’s straight to Manchester / London after graduation.

By Prestatyn

Prestatyn you’re right, sadly.

By Baser

The Halton curve, in Liverpool City Region capital programme, will rectify the direct trains to North Wales issue, reinstating the direct link along the North Wales coast, as well as down to Wrexham and on to Cardiff.
The links with North Wales are still very strong, and I should know, worked there for 15 years.


Let’s face it Chester is a tiny cathedral city! A city by default as it’s got a cathedral should really be rebranded a town! There’s a building in China called new century global centre, you can get Chester city centre in it. To be honest Manchester is my second home and is a city I love But in the scheme of things as you get older and see the world you tend to realise how small Manchester and Liverpool actually are when your standing on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris for instance!

By North/Mid Cheshire Northwich

Yawn..let’s pray 2016 will see the end of this daft self-aggrandisement by all the usual Liverpool-baiting Mancunians!

By Joney

I now live in Liverpool i was unfortunatly born in Manchester I rest my case …..I love Liverpool….

By Karen

My partner’s from Manchester but loves Liverpool and we’re both hoping to settle there this year with me moving from Chester and him relocating from Manchester. We love all the riverside walks and the culture around Hope Street and Sefton Park.

By Kim

I’m from Wigan, I dislike both of you equally.

By PiPie

Thanks, Kim. But try and keep your comments relevant.

By steve

A lot of trolls on here nowadays , though I suspect there may be posters using more than one username.

By Not SSC

Kim, your partner (assume that’s business partner) would be better off in Manchester, economically. If by partner you mean spousal partner, then why are you even on this forum? You should be trying harder to secure their real and proper commitment through marriage rather than just being second best.

By Baser

What about Lancaster? A very beautiful city with great countryside and the Lake District next door.

By Elephant

As far as George Osborne and funding goes Manchester is the PET project as it was under Blair. No wonder others are falling behind. Managed Decline wasn’t it? Holding others back whilst one prospered.

By Anonymous

Manchester is George Osbornes PET project always has been As it was with ‘New’ Labour. It’s all about winning new voters (or buying new votes). The rest of the Northern ‘Powerhouse’ except Leeds-Bradford might as well whistle up the canyon.

By George

Great place Lancaster, and Wigan too, both of them ancient Royal Boroughs of Lancashire along with Preston and Liverpool. The point is it shouldn’t all be about Manchester.


If government has a favoured pet city it is unquestionably Merseyside. It has received vastly, and I mean VASTLY more regeneration funding from every domestic and European programme going than anywhere else over the last 80 years. This is to be expected however since it is relatively more deprived.

This is not the same as investing in infrastructure which is done for economic efficiency (rather than welfare) reasons. Such funding will always logically favour the bigger more economically prosperous regions. Or at least it should do nowadays. Back in the 70s Liverpool’s Loop and Link underground lines were only funded thanks to government welfare as they could not possibly stack up using a conventional benefit / cost regime. Similarly Merseyrail benefits from a staggeringly generous subsidy which other areas do not benefit from.

Given such largesse it is perhaps surprising that Liverpool isn’t doing a bit better.

By Light not heat

Merseyside isn’t a city.

No data to back up “vastly more” claims here. A lot of places in the North have received a lot of state funding over the years. That doesn’t mean its been either well-targeted, coherent, or enough.

By Uni

Liverpool’s underground was pioneered by the city itself in the 19th century, just like the city paid for the lions share of the Liverpool – Manchester railway. The 70s loop and link largely joined up existing lines. The economic development of much of the north west including east Lancashire was dependent on Liverpool and its docks self financed by the city itself. As these become obsolete you have to have some public funding to kick start the revival. The funding has been very little compared to London docklands. And incidentally any Merseyrail subsidies are locally generated mainly from the Mersey tunnels and they are really not that great. The trains are packed and its the most heavily used network outside London.


And Manchester really isn’t that much larger than Liverpool, see the common European stats on this. And it’s potential is not greater than Liverpool’s, if anything it’s a lot less.


I get irritated with this Manc bashing exercise by other parts of the North.We need to counterbalance London’s total dominance. I can accept Liverpool and Leeds, but excuse me for being arrogant,but Manchester is the only place anywhere outside the South East which has more jobs than people to fill them.If we spread the money thinly we will never get a balance of any sorts.If you think of the amount of money Manchester airport alone brings to the North’s economy,why would be spend limited money in Middlesborough and Hull.We have to be realistic if this Northern powerhouse is going to work.Manchester is the epicentre of this and anyone thinking differently is living on fantasy island.

By Elephant

PAB – excellent tub thumping but irrelevant to the points raised particularly when you begin to examine the ultimate source of this ‘self funded’ infrastructure which owes as much to the state as the more recent Loop and Link lines. And inaccurate – the tunnel tolls pay the construction debt so how can they possibly be used to subsidise Merseyrail which remains the most heavily subsidised franchise in the country.

By Light not heat

It’s not Manc bashing to believe in a balance between the cities of a the north, it’s just a different and also widespread view and it could create greater prosperity for more people.


I agree with you Pab but the money being spent is not enough for 5 cities of European stature.Cities in the North East and North of York are still shedding jobs.Manchester is booming and it is now beginning to create worthwhile jobs and not just the usual low paid jobs associated with Northern cities.Are we going to spend 5 billion pounds on Hull and Middlesborough achieving nothing of any significance or spend that money on fast trains between Liverpool Leeds Manchester and Manchester airport.Warrington will soon have a bigger economy than Newcastle for example.Manchester airport is investing a billion pounds in infrastructure and it will soon have the Airport city with Chinese money flooding in.Manchester has the jobs.We need to get people from outside it to them.

By Elephant