Liverpool’s corruption probe, Kellogg’s 500,000 sq ft St Helens warehouse deal and Stockport’s £1bn metrolink bid all feature as Place North West looks back at the most popular stories of this year.
See below for the best-read stories broken down by month, and then a top 20 round-up for the whole year at the bottom.
Best read stories by month
Stockport prepares 1bn Metrolink bid (12,293 page views)
The council and Transport for Greater Manchester started to draw up a business case for the Metrolink extension, set to cost between £500m and £1bn. They said at the time that if funding is granted, a start on site could begin by 2025.
The cereal and snacks giant agreed to take 525,000 sq ft at Bericote’s 525 Haydock, in what was named at the time as the region’s largest speculative industrial unit.
Blackpool Council drew up a revised planning application for the first phase of the airport enterprise zone.
Manchester Zoo lines up 100-acre Rochdale home (15,833 page views)
The company was said to be in advanced talks with Rochdale Council take over four parcels of land totalling 100 acres near Hopwood Hall in Middleton, but the plans have since stalled.
Construction of the 34-storey The Residence halted in the months after the arrest of Elliot Group founder Elliot Lawless, as funders pulled the plug and uncertainty deepened. Lawless was released without charge and his bail was lifted in March.
Taylor Wimpey and Homes England submitted plans for a sizeable residential development on agricultural land in Lancashire. However, Taylor Wimpey has since been forced to redraw the plans, following a council meeting in September.
CWAC head of planning passes away (13,543 page views)
Fiona Hore, chief planning officer at Cheshire West & Chester Council, died suddenly at the age of 56.
As the UK was plunged into a national lockdown as the coronavirus crisis hit, construction firms were doing their best to keep sites open and put special measures in place to keep staff safe.
Arena operator ASM Global proposed an increase in standing capacity to provide for an additional 3,000 people, leapfrogging rival Oakview Group’s plans for a second stadium in Manchester that would hold 23,500 people
We will remember how tenants behaved (14,895 page views)
This comment piece written by a landlord that asked to remain anonymous bemoaned the non-payment of rent by retailers during the UK’s first lockdown and said some tenants’ behaviour could damage relationships with their landlords.
The seaside town is the new North West hotspot for business, argued Nick Gerrard, growth and prosperity programme director at Blackpool Council, as he detailed the town’s £1bn+ Growth & Prosperity programme.
CPUK falls into administration (9,120)
The Skelmersdale-based contractor appointed administrators at Duff & Phelps after being unable to find a solution to ongoing financial difficulties.
Unilever prepares to put Wirral site on market (11,530 page views)
The consumer goods giant decided to sell part of its Port Sunlight research and development facility. It finally put the site on the market in September.
Developer Capital & Centric completed its acquisition of Stockport’s listed Weir Mill, which it intends to convert into a £60m residential scheme with 250 flats.
The council wanted to acquire 56 acres of land to bring forward the North West Crewe package, a £36.5m infrastructure project to open up development sites for 1,350 homes. The compulsory purchase order has since been approved and work is due to start early next year.
Peel says no impact on group from Intu demise (12,420 page views)
The landowner sold the Trafford Centre to the company now known as Intu Properties in 2011 and remained its largest shareholder. However, it claimed the Intu’s administration would have no bearing on its own financial position.
Architecture studio Weston Williamson + Partners and consultancy Expedition published designs for a “through station” at Manchester Piccadilly, rather than the existing terminus plans, that would allow services from Birmingham to Manchester to continue towards the North East of England and Leeds.
Community group Spirit of the Essoldo applied to use the fourth level of Stretford Mall’s multistorey car park as a bar and outdoor cinema based on the Art Deco Essoldo cinema, which opened in 1936. Unfortunately, the continued Covid-19 restrictions scuppered the plans.
Majdiah pushes ahead with £15m Stockport mill conversion (12,802 page views)
The Saudi developer is converting Stockport’s grade two-listed Meadow Mill close to the Portwood roundabout, into 213 flats and is due to complete next May.
The first in a weekly series in which Place North West toured the city and reported on the construction activity that had been taking place even during the UK lockdown.
The Cheshire-based firm later appointed KPMG as administrator, after posting an operating loss of £2.2m for the financial year ending 30 September 2018.
Stockport Pyramid owner plots resi tower (9,603 page views)
Saudi-based Eamar Developments, which bought the distinctive office building for £4.5m last May, lodged plans for an 18-storey residential tower elsewhere in the town, comprising 98 apartments.
The group decided to move out of its longstanding headquarters in the Greater Manchester shopping mall after more than two decades and relocate its staff to the Venus building at nearby TraffordCity.
Place North West reported on each episode of the four-part BBC Two series Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom, which met the people living and working in the city’s residential development market.
Peel eyes shift to food offer in Stockport (11,217 page views)
The developer requested permission from Stockport Council to split a clothing store at the Peel Centre into three units, to diversify the retail park’s offering.
The council and the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation drew up a 12-year vision to revamp the town’s train station, including a refreshed commercial offering, a public square and reconfigured platform layout.
A particularly busy day for the city council’s planning committee – it approved 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.
Lidl pushes to build in Stockport (10,105 page views)
The discount supermarket retailer lodged plans for a 20,000 sq ft store on Wellington Road North, Heaton Norris, as it continued its expansion strategy.
Contractor Graham began work on the long-awaited £53m Poynton Relief Road.
The firm opted to close its 7,800 sq ft office at Exchange Flags, where it employs 60 staff, in response to changing ways of working accelerated by Covid-19.
Liverpool corruption probe rumbles on (10,883 page views)
Merseyside Police was due to attend court to formally request documents from parties connected with Operation Aloft, the corruption investigation related to the sale of council land to developers.
The Greater Manchester mayor with Stockport Council leader Elise Wilson wrote an open letter to residents imploring them to support the city region development strategy amid opposition from Stockport’s Conservative group.
Crewe primed for 1200 homes (6,411)
Two major housing schemes were expected to advance on the back of Cheshire East’s £36.5m highways expansion project north-west of Crewe.
The city council called for an underground HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly and the removal of the nearby Gateway House office block, in its response to the Government’s latest consultation on High Speed Two.
A team comprising Cushman & Wakefield, Mott Macdonald and Optimised Environments is producing regeneration proposals for nine centres across the borough, including Wilmslow, Middlewich and Knutsford.
One of the collapsed mall owner Intu Properties’ biggest creditors, Canada’s CPP Investments, was close to agreeing an £800m deal to take over the Greater Manchester shopping centre. The deal was confirmed the following week.
Best read stories of 2020
Click any story to read
- Manchester Zoo lines up 100-acre Rochdale home
- CRACKING ON | Manchester’s construction boom continues
- Peel says ‘no impact’ on group from Intu demise
- CWAC head of planning passes away
- ‘We will remember how tenants behaved’
- Stockport prepares £1bn Metrolink bid
- Majdiah pushes ahead with £15m Stockport mill conversion
- Unilever prepares to put Wirral site on market
- COMMENT | Blackpool’s £1bn renaissance masterplan
- Alternative HS2 Piccadilly hub ‘could save billions’
- Kellogg’s confirms 500,000 sq ft warehouse deal
- Peel L&P eyes shift to food offer in Stockport
- Construction firms scramble to keep sites open
- CPUK falls into administration
- Liverpool corruption probe rumbles on
- Lidl pushes to build in Stockport
- Stockport Pyramid owner plots resi tower
- Cruden Construction lines up administrators
- Capital & Centric confirms Stockport mill purchase
- Fresh plans ready for Blackpool Airport
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