After a group of local residents launched a campaign against the proposed redevelopment of the Paterson Building, The Christie has argued its case for the 10-storey “world-class” cancer research project.
The “Rethink the Paterson” campaign put forward a letter this week arguing against the redevelopment of the site, which was ravaged by a fire in April 2017.
This will replace the existing Paterson Building with a 10-storey design by architect BDP, set to house 270,000 sq ft of research laboratories, consultant workspace, a biological research unit, and ground floor exhibition and education spaces.
However, local residents, backed by Didsbury West Cllr Greg Stanton, argued the scheme would be “inappropriate for a residential area” due to its height and scale, with Stanton stating it “should be rejected by both the council’s executive and planning committee”.
In response, The Christie has said it is “listening to and appreciates the concerns of local residents” but has put forward a point-by-point rebuttal of the campaigners’ claims, particularly around the size of the building, traffic impacts, and pollution.
In a statement to Place North West, a spokesperson for The Christie said: “The redevelopment of the Paterson building is an exciting and unique opportunity to build a world class research building in the heart of Greater Manchester that allows scientists, researchers and clinicians to all work side by side with access to patients.
“This is something that can only happen by building the centre at The Christie. The Christie and its partners The University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK – together making up the Manchester Cancer Research Centre – are listening to and appreciate the concerns of local residents in relation to the size of the building, air pollution and parking.
“The proposed height is 10 storeys plus a basement level. This scale is essential if the vision for Manchester to become a global powerhouse of cancer research and treatment is to be achieved, ensuring patients have access to the very latest treatments. Some of the floors will be stepped back from Wilmslow Road to minimise the impact, and our award-winning Green Travel Plan will continue to encourage staff to travel to work using alternatives to private cars.
“Recent staff travel surveys showed that many of the Paterson staff and scientists live locally and were walking and cycling to work. These same staff are currently commuting some distance to their current workplace at Alderley Park in Macclesfield which is not sustainable.
“The new centre will be home to approximately 780 staff. 350 of these are former Paterson workers that have been temporarily based at Alderley Park and at the Oglesby Cancer Research building. Approximately 375 staff who are currently based at The Christie hospital will be relocated to the new building and the only new recruits to Withington will be 55 new staff members.
“Assessments to date indicate that there will be no significant air quality effects during construction due to dust, plant, equipment or construction traffic or when the centre is operational.”
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.
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”.