A residents’ group, backed by a local councillor, has called on The Christie to revise its plans for a world-leading cancer research centre at its campus in Didsbury, arguing the building is “huge” and would “dwarf the surrounding area”.
The 10-storey building, designed by BDP, will replace the existing Paterson which was ravaged by a fire in April 2017.
Demolition is already under way, and a public consultation was held earlier this year on the proposed replacement, which will include 270,000 sq ft of research laboratories, consultant workspace, a biological research unit, and ground floor exhibition and education spaces.
The Christie, working with the University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK, hopes to make the new building “one of the world’s top centres for cancer research” by 2025.
Despite the earlier public consultation, the “Rethink the Paterson” campaign has been launched by a group of local residents, supported by Didsbury West’s Cllr Greg Stanton.
Concerns from the group focus on traffic generation, the size of the build, and pollution; the campaigners also argued the delivery of a tall building in the area would “set a precedent for other massive buildings around the site”.
Instead, the group argues the proposals should be scaled back, or delivered in an alternative location; according to local homeowners, the scheme would be “inappropriate for a residential area”.
To bring the project forward, The Christie has proposed an addendum to its existing strategic planning framework, which was agreed in 2014.
This will allow the Trust to bring forward a planning application for the Paterson Building’s replacement, which is expected in the coming weeks. The addendum to the framework was signed off by Manchester City Council in March.
Cllr Stanton said: “The proposed new building is entirely out of keeping with anything else in the area and would set a dangerous precedent about the height of future builds on-campus and beyond in the locality – it should be rejected by both the council’s executive and planning committee”.
A spokesperson for the campaign said: “No-one is opposed to the rebuilding of the Paterson. However when the council executive approved this proposal in principle they did not appreciate the scale of the building in relation to the rest of the area, which is a vibrant neighbourhood of two and three storey houses. Nor did they have any reliable estimate of the increase in staff numbers or extra vehicles coming into the area.
The proposal flies in the face of previous agreements relating to the Christie site, has implications for the Withington Conservation Area and will undermine the Green Travel Plan for staff parking. The great respect we have for these institutions and their work should be reciprocated.”
Interserve has been chosen as The Christie’s partner for the project through the ProCure22+ framework, and is working alongside subcontractor PP O’Connor on the demolition of the existing fire-damaged building.
The contractor is also providing initial design and technical work which The Christie said would “inform the redevelopment of the building”.
Place North West has contacted The Christie for a response to the campaign’s claims.