Manchester City Council is to explore using compulsory purchase order powers to assemble the land needed for a public park as part of its wider Portugal Street East masterplan.
The public realm forms a key part of the council’s ambition for the masterplan between Piccadilly Station and Great Ancoats Street. This will be mainly focussed on the southern part of the site, with a park and square being proposed, along with further public realm stretching out to Great Ancoats Street.
Landowners and developers have been working with the council to bring forward the public realm for nearly two years, with a fresh report now setting out the next steps to enable the masterplan area to be developed.
According to the council, the southern end of the site will require “a greater level of placemaking and a significant forward funding agreement” to bring forward.
However, the council has admitted acquiring the site for the proposed park would be “challenging”, and is now looking to explore using CPO powers to facilitate the delivery of the park, and the wider regeneration of the Portugal Street area.
Any proposed CPO would have to be signed off by the council’s executive before it can be brought forward, with the council’s first preference being to agree land transactions via a collaboration agreement, which has already been drawn up with landowners.
Projects already proposed at Portugal Street East include Capital & Centric’s Leonardo Hotel, which has secured planning permission and has Bowmer + Kirkland attached as main contractor. According to the council, this is the “most advanced” of the projects proposed within the masterplan and is likely to come forward first.
Elsewhere, proposals have also been put forward by Olympian Homes and Forshaw Land & Property.
In mid-2017, Aecom and Olympian agreed a joint venture to build two towers at Rammon House. Aecom’s construction arm, Tishman, was attached as main contractor for the project. At 23 and 29 storeys, the development would include 488 flats and be connected by a podium.
Olympian announced the planning application had been submitted in August 2018, and a further wave of documents have been put to the council in August 2019 in order for the application to be validated.
Forshaw also showcased a 23-storey residential block on Adair Street, opposite the Ibis Budget Hotel and designed by SimpsonHaugh. It is understood these plans are currently being reworked.
As part of its approach to public realm and the collaboration agreement, the council is proposing to set up a company named Portugal Street East Limited as a management company for the public realm; this will include the individual landowners in the area while the council will also be a shareholder.
Partners involved with the management company include Capital & Centric, Transport for Greater Manchester, Olympian Homes, and others.
This approach, the council said, would help to “ensure genuine ongoing collaborative working towards delivering the [Portugal Street East] masterplan as a whole”.
According to Companies House, a firm named Portugal Street East Limited already exists. This was set up in May 2019 as is based in London. Mark Slatter is listed as the sole director for the company, which counts “buying and selling of own real estate” as its primary nature of business.
Under the council’s plan, each of the developers is required to make a contribution towards the design, delivery, and maintenance of the public realm on a pro-rata basis, with the public realm land to be transferred to the management company.
The report is due to be discussed by the council’s executive on 16 October.