Great Northern Will Alsop stilts early design
According to Tobermory, owner of Great Northern, the design by Alsop was a concept created in 2014

Consultation into Great Northern framework on hold

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The regeneration plan for Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester has been withdrawn from public consultation, after a furore erupted last week over an indicative design from architect Will Alsop for an office included in development plans.

According to a statement from Cllr Joan Davies, Labour councillor for Manchester city centre, “the current consultation on a Strategic Regeneration Framework for Great Northern Warehouse has been withdrawn for further review. Manchester City Council officers identified a need for more detailed analysis.”

Davies also described development at the Peter Street side of Great Northern as “a no-no”.

Plans for an 85,000 sq ft office are outlined within the draft regeneration framework for the 11-acre Great Northern Warehouse site, produced last year by owner Tobermory Sarl, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Peterson Group.

Manchester City Council endorsed the framework for the site in December. The consultation on the plan was due to run until 6 May.

Tobermory said: “The strategic framework is purely a document to outline a broad masterplan intention across the site. We do not have any fixed designs for a building along Peter Street, albeit the local authority had asked us to provide indicative proposals for that site as the demolition of the historic buildings along the Peter Street frontage in the 1990s is now seen not to have been wholly successful.

“Our intention is to achieve what the local authority would ideally like for the front square and to increase the amount of public realm and permeability across the site as a whole, while acknowledging the current constraints of having long-term leaseholders on site like Bar 38. Understanding the views of the residents around the Great Northern is hugely important to our long term ambition to create a residential enclave that will celebrate the existing historic buildings and provide the right mix of retail and public spaces to create a thriving and prosperous community.”

A statement from Tobermory on Friday stressed that the image was a conceptual design created in 2014 as part of a design competition.

Alsop’s practice ALL Design is advising on the masterplan and is bringing forward detailed designs for specific elements within the plan.

An online petition was launched last week against the construction of an office on Great Northern Square, which local residents said would negatively impact and limit the public realm.

The petition, created by former English Cities Fund chief executive and resident of Great Northern Tower, Lesley Chalmers, has attracted almost 250 signatures.

According to the masterplan, the redevelopment of Great Northern could include 265,000 sq ft of retail, restaurant and leisure, 400,000 sq ft of apartments, and a 200,000 sq ft high-rise tower.

The statement from Davies said there was no timescale yet for a new framework consultation.

Your Comments

Has anyone noticed that the cars are driving on the wrong side of the road? Saying that I need glasses so I could be wrong…

By Anon

Well that just lend credence to the proposal, which is troubling.

Look, I’m generally very pro-development. If people want to redevelop the interior of the great northern and put a skyscraper in there, then that’s one thing. But after the debacle of Piccadilly Gardens being sold of for 1 Piccadilly, no loss of public realm at the Great Northern can be tolerated. The view of the front of the warehouse is a spectacular asset.

Yes, the land is currently going to waste. So how about, I don’t know, developing it as an actual park, like Manchester is crying out for?

By Lin

I agree with Lin above. Redevelopment of the warehouse and the Deansgate frontage is much needed. The public space is currently massively underused because of its poor design – if done right the public space would be a great asset to the city centre

By Bradford

Yes, the cars are on the wrong side of the road, but that’s the least of the problems with this image. It’s a typical piece of Alsop bluster, but even more distasteful when wrapped up with more of the privatisation of public space theme being pursued around the city centre.

By Gene Walker

Another glass box?

By Buster

Usual nonsense from Will Alsop. Look at the wafer thin legs holding up that massive structure. Great piece of Imagineering that has been no where near either a cost plan or a structural engineer. Its actually very poor on the part of the client to let drivel like this get out. Any proper client would have filed that in the wastebin…

By Developer

Rubbish…

By Schwyz

“the local authority had asked us to provide indicative proposals for that site as the demolition of the historic buildings along the Peter Street frontage in the 1990s is now seen not to have been wholly successful.”

If you needed any clearer demonstration of the city council’s lack of understanding and concern for heritage then this is it.

The buildings on Peter Street were not integral to the context of the GN warehouse and so do not need to be reinstated to improve the setting and economic viability of the warehouse. The logic is completely flawed and probably disingenuous, displaying one again, a council prioritising commercial needs over public needs. In some respects it’s Piccadilly Gardens all over again.

By Unimpressed

I can see another Fire station debacle here dragging on for years.Why did the council not intervene to stop the ruination of Library walk,with that silly vestibule? Or stop the destruction of Piccadilly gardens? This is nowhere near as grim as those.

By Elephant

Literally no idea what your point is Elephant. Maybe stick to the MEN?

By Unimpressed

Unimpressed.Do you want this building to be built or not? Your comment is so tied up in somantics.I am still none the wiser?

By Elephant

* semantics.

By Unimpressed

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