The developer and Manchester City Council have reached a legal agreement that will allow the 366-apartment project to progress more than a year after it was controversially approved under delegated powers.
DeTrafford is to pay an initial £330,000 towards off-site affordable housing and upgrades to three parks in Hulme, under the terms of a Section 106 agreement with the city council.
The Section 106 agreement was required as the developer failed to meet planning policy requirements in relation to affordable housing.
Under the terms of Manchester’s local plan, developers are obliged to provide 20% affordable housing provision on site. If this cannot be achieved, council’s and developers will enter into a Section 106 agreement that will provide funds towards off-site affordable housing.
Manchester City Council determined that in order for Gallery Gardens to comply with policy, DeTrafford “should provide a payment of the maximum contribution”, calculated at £8.6m.
However, DeTrafford claims that there are “viability issues” relating to the development and that as a result, it was unable to deliver the 20% affordable housing provision or the maximum contribution.
“Without a reduction in the maximum contribution, the implementation of the development is not viable,” the Section 106 agreement states.
Manchester will review the arrangement at a later date to see if there is scope for DeTrafford to pay additional contributions.
The £94m Gallery Gardens was designed by JM Architects and DEP. It is made up of two buildings ranging in height from eight to 12 storeys and 14 to 18 storeys, respectively, on a 41,000 sq ft site on the corner of Hulme Hall Road, Chester Road and Ellesmere Street.
The two buildings will be separated by a new road called Spinner’s Way. Paul Butler Associates is advising on planning.
Prior to being approved, the plans for the project were unsuccessful at two planning committee meetings, drawing criticism from local residents and councillors.
However, in April 2020 a three-person delegated planning panel approved the project.
The panel was set up so that Manchester City Council could continue to determine planning applications despite national restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some commentators criticised the panel for a lack of scrutiny, but council chief executive Joanne Roney defended the authority’s decisions in an interview with Place North West.
- READ MORE: Our interview with Joanne Roney
Gallery Gardens is part of DeTrafford’s Manchester Gardens masterplan, a series of residential blocks between Chester Road and Ellesmere Street.
Construction of other phases of Manchester Gardens, including City & Sky Gardens is ongoing.
Roof Gardens, built by the now-defunct contractor Pochins, completed in 2018 and St George’s Gardens completed last year.
In July, the city council approved the next stage Manchester Gardens, the 237-apartment Phoenix Works.