Retail woes, Renaker’s towers, Cheshire housing, Liverpool Waters, and Greater Manchester towns all feature as Place North West takes a look back at the most popular stories this year.
The year saw the readership grow to record levels with more than 110,000 unique readers visiting the website each month, and the newsletter reaching more than 12,000 property professionals every day.
See below for overall best read stories, along with the most popular site visits, special reports, and comment pieces, as well as the articles which drew the most comments from our readers.
Best read stories by month
The well-known property consultant who led the Liverpool office of Bruntwood for a number of years sadly passed away in January at the age of just 45.
Renaker continued its skyscraper cluster near Manchester’s Deansgate after releasing images of this project, a 52-storey residential tower at Great Jackson Street.
News of the demise of Stockport Cineworld proved to be popular in February, with the building to be knocked down to make way for the ongoing Stockport Exchange project.
The town’s renaissance continued with a report revealing its shop vacancy rate had dropped by 73% since the height of the recession with footfall rising, against national trends. This was a pre-cursor to Altrincham winning the Great British High Street award later in the year.
In what proved to be the best read story of the year, the McGoff Group shared designs for its proposed Market41 in Urmston, pictured above, the new-build food and drink hub in the town centre.
“About time” was the general reaction from readers after the Government gave Cheshire East Council the go-ahead to press on with the new transport link.
Northwich’s Barons Quay retail scheme was the subject of this special report, where Place North West visited the site to hear from punters and developers to hear how the project was faring.
News that demolition was due to begin on Stretford Mall was welcomed by Place readers in April. Work to knock down a large portion of the retail site is now well under way.
Stockport Council released images of what it hoped to be an “iconic” development on the town’s bus interchange, featuring green roofs, public realm along the Mersey, and an apartment block, pictured above.
January’s Renaker tower returned to grab the headlines in May after a planning application was submitted for the project.
A deal to bring a new arena to Urmston as part of the redevelopment of George H Carnall leisure centre was signed in June, but Trafford Council’s new administration has since decided to rethink the idea.
A preferred bidder was chosen for the third residential tower at Liverpool Waters, the 31-storey Hive City Dock, pictured below, as part of a growing cluster at the £5bn megaproject.
Place North West attended a public consultation to understand the impact of HS2’s potential arrival into Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
A striking building on Manchester’s High Street was proposed by developer CEG in July, and met with a warm reaction by Place readers.
Proposals by Cheshire East to push ahead with 1,500 homes in Handforth, one of the Government’s 14 Garden Villages, proved to be controversial.
The fate of the Old House at Home pub between West Didsbury and Withington grabbed the headlines, with developer Britannia proposing to build 12 homes for private sale in its place.
Manchester’s tall buildings boom continued well into the year with Student Castle putting forward plans for a 55-storey scheme on New Wakefield Street.
A 178-acre site in North Leigh, shown below, was sold to housebuilder Countryside in September with outline consent for 1,800 homes.
Tributes poured in for Neil Bowler of specialist leisure consultancy Jenics, who passed away while taking part in a 220-mile charity bike ride from London to Manchester.
In its first deal back by the Residential Land Partnership fund, Harlex Property bought the Wyevale Garden Centre in Timperley to bring forward 80 homes on the site.
The Bolton-based contractor began its battle to stay afloat in November with the company forced to admit to under-costing a series of major projects.
The Government intelligence and security agency selected Heron House, below, as its Manchester base after announcing it would be heading to the city in April. Unsurprisingly, GCHQ declined to comment.
The contractor collapsed in December following a difficult month. While parts of the business were saved, both the construction and housing divisions are now being wound up.
A distinctive hotel by Capital & Centric and Stephenson Studio for a plot near Piccadilly Station caught the eye in December.
Top 20 stories
- Gallery | Designs revealed for Urmston Market
- Jenics director dies on charity bike ride
- David Guest passes away at 45
- Gallery | Stockport sets out plans for ‘iconic’ interchange
- Timperley garden centre bought for housing
- Forrest enters administration
- Stockport Cineworld to be demolished in April
- Special Report | Can Barons Quay be rescued?
- Renaker buys Trinity Islands from Allied London
- Cheshire East moves 1,500-home Handforth Garden Village forward
- Aldi expands in Altrincham
- Lidl buys Worsley site formerly set for housing
- Forrest denies administration rumours
- Forrest admits to under-costing jobs as refinancing talks continue
- Student Castle announces 55-storey Manchester tower
- Summer opening planned for Baguley Lidl
- Living Ventures puts two Manchester restaurants into administration
- Didsbury pub demolition leads Manchester agenda
- Cheshire East loses with High Court challenge
- Forrest clients reveal ‘Plan B’ if contractor goes bust
Top 10 site visits
- Altrincham Health & Wellbeing Centre with Citybranch
- Exploring Ancoats’ residential boom with Eric Wright
- Moss Side Leisure Centre with ISG
- The Pavilion, Spinningfields, with Bam
- Rhyl’s waterfront regeneration with ISG
- Conwy Council HQ with Muse
- Windmill Green with Kier
- UCLan’s Engineering Innovation Centre with Bam
- Warrington’s Time Square with Muse
- London Warehouse with Capital & Centric
Top 10 special reports & comment pieces
- Can Barons Quay be rescued?
- HS2 arrival heralds opportunities and disruption
- Demolish Heron House to make the most of Manchester, by Ed Howe of Urbinfo
- How to reinvent Chester Northgate
- Time to reclaim Manchester’s streets, by Danny Crump of Broadway Malyan
- FEC outline ambitions for £1bn Northern Gateway
- Free Manchester’s dougnnut, by Mark Slocombe of CallisonRTKL
- Manchester: The next windy city? by Joseph Berthoud of Hilson Moran
- Should green roofs be mandatory? by Andrew Watson of Optimised Environments
- Gary Neville, green belt, and Greater Manchester’s future economy, by Paul Swinney of Centre for Cities
Top 10 most-discussed stories
- Special Report | Can Barons Quay be rescued? (44 comments)
- Pall Mall JV releases public realm image (44)
- March 2019 start date for £200m Pall Mall (41)
- Jenics director dies on charity bike ride (39)
- Liverpool calls for ‘tall buildings for the right sites’ (35)
- Forrest enters administration (35)
- Hodder unveils plans for Hotspur Press (34)
- Ask unveils 21-storey Deansgate tower (31)
- David Guest passes away at 45 (29)
- Gallery | Designs revealed for Urmston Market (28)