Great Ducie Street, Latimer, P.planning Docs
Assael is the architect for the project. Credit: via planning documents

Latimer lodges plans for 461-home Manchester scheme

Dan Whelan

Clarion Housing Group’s development arm has submitted a planning application to redevelop part of the former Boddingtons Brewery site on Great Ducie Street.

Under those plans, 5% of the properties would be affordable, but the developer remains “firmly committed” to achieving the 60% provision it originally proposed in the long run.

A statement from Clarion said: “The amount [of affordable housing] delivered via Section 106 will be subject to viability discussions with the council but we plan to deliver 5% by this route.

“The remaining 55% outside of this agreement will be delivered with the support of grant funding from Clarion’s partnership with Homes England.”

The scheme 

Designed by Assael, Latimer’s proposals for the Manchester scheme include two blocks. The smaller of the two, rising to 11 storeys, fronts the main road. Set back is the taller of the blocks, reaching 27 storeys at its highest point. 

The apartments would be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom properties. 

The 1.24-acre plot fronts Great Ducie Street and is currently used as a surface car park.  

The land, part of a wider seven-acre plot, was deemed surplus to requirements by Manchester College operator LTE Group, which is developing a new £93m city centre digital and creative campus next door. 

Latimer bought the site from LTE in June and outlined plans to redevelop it into apartments with the ambition of designating more than half of the apartments as affordable. 

Great Ducie Street 2, Latimer, P.planning Docs

A scheme that complies with Manchester’s affordable housing policies is not viable given current market conditions. Credit: via planning documents

As recently as September, Latimer’s 60% affordable aspiration endured. Speaking to Place North West, Richard Cook, Clarion’s group development director said it took Manchester City Council a while to get its head around the idea of a project with such a high proportion of affordable homes.

“When we walked into the city and said we’re going to do 60%, affordable housing, [the city council] just didn’t believe us,” Cook said.

“The city is aspirational, which is fantastic. And when we’re sat there, and we’re talking about 60% affordable housing, the support we get them from is fantastic because nobody’s ever come in and offered it before.”

However, a viability assessment by consultancy Roger Hannah submitted with the planning application shows that if Latimer was to deliver a policy compliant 20% provision of affordable housing, the developer would be left with a £7.2m viability gap to fill. 

“[The appraisal] produces a negative residual land value of -£5.2m, which is significantly below the benchmark land value [of £2m],” the report said. “This confirms that full policy provision of affordable housing [20%] is significantly unviable.” 

As a result, a 5% provision has been proposed. This would result in the delivery of eight apartments for shared ownership and 15 for affordable and social rent. 

In summarising the viability assessment, planning consultant Deloitte said it would not be viable for Latimer to provide affordable housing based on current market conditions but that the developer is willing to commit to a 5% provision. This “effectively reduces the returns available to the developer well below the levels of profit identified as appropriate within the National Planning Policy Guidance”, according to Deloitte. 

Deloitte added that Latimer will seek to increase the provision of affordable housing “should further funding be secured, and the viability of the proposed development improves over time”. 

To read more on this development search planning reference 132416/FO/2021. 

The project team for the scheme includes Barton Willmore, Exterior Architecture, Atkins, Wallace Whittle, GIA, SGI Consulting, Curtins, Arcadis, OFR Consultants, and Turner & Townsend.

Your Comments

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What does para 2 under ‘The Reality’ actually mean?

By harpisord

Another scheme with zero balconies.

I was reading through the Design and Access statement and in this case, it seems someone within Manchester’s planning department asked for their removal due to the balconies overshadowing the flat beneath. This is absolutely absurd. The effect can’t be that severe as to warrant their complete removal. If it really was causing a problem there are other, less destructive ways to mitigating the effect.

I can’t believe one individual’s subjective view can result in permanently depriving residents of this important amenity. And for such trivial reasons. It seems that Manchester’s residential quality guidelines can go out the window to satisfy one planner’s aesthetic judgements. Absolutely unacceptable.

By Balcony watch

Want to know why there are no flats with balconies in Manchester?

Ask the head of planning.

By Anonymous

I agree with Balcony watch, after covid this should be at least a bare minimum if there is no shared outdoor space.

By Meeseeks

The development is much needed to animate the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road and Strangeways. Hopefully this kick-starts the development of plots further north.

By Strangeways

Who on earth wants to sit on a balcony in Manchester ? especially in this area ? “Look at the spectacular view of the Travelodge next door kids, and wow look how the A6042 meanders as it meets the A56. What’s that in the distance Daddy ? That’s Strangeways prison Son” ……….no thankyou

By WindyMcWindface

If the directive comes from MCC’s head of planning, the good developers should simply ignore it.

In no planning policy or guidance document that I know of does it say balconies are not allowed. It appears these are personal, aesthetic judgements being made by a single individual and are inappropriate in my view. It’s bureaucratic overreach.

By Balcony watch

It looks very nice and like most developments, looks better without balconies. Not *every* *single* tower development needs them.

By The Squirrel's Nuts

OMG,,,,,,, this is one of the best schemes I’ve come across in ages. I’m really pleased that it’s being built with traditional bricks, it will blend in well and enhance the immediate area and is much more suitable than another glass and steel behemoth. Judging from the cgi, it’ll also blend in well with the Jerusalem Stone exterior of the AO Arena across the road, not to mention the impressive Lighthouse showroom and apartments. The brick design will aesthetically be a permanent reminder of Manchester’s industrial past in a way that steel, glass, pre-cast concrete structures never could.

By Bilderburg Attendee

@Windy it’s about having an escape from the confines of your flat, fresh air and extra space to cool off, keep pot plants, eat food or drink, enjoy the sun, in fact most things you’d do in a garden. I believe gardens are still quite popular.

I simply wouldn’t consider staying long term in a place without my own outdoor space. All the planners are doing by removing them is condemning these flats to transient, short term occupation which is not what you want if you want to create high quality, sustainable housing with broad appeal. It really is mind blogging that they’d promote shallow aesthetics above function.

By Balcony watch

I totally agree with balcony watch – I rented an apartment of 12 months that had no balcony and it had a major impact on my mental and psychological well-being. I found the experience of living in what was essentially a sealed box, really unsettling, especially during the summer months.

In these times of more people working at home, the constant omission of balconies in these proposed Manchester schemes seems ludicrous. Personally, after my experience, I wouldn’t even consider living any apartment that didn’t have a balcony.

By Manc Man

Good to see the site redeveloped but this is a really poor scheme architecturally.

By Observer

Most apartments in Manchester are being built without balconies yet they seem to be sold and rented with no issue. It seems some peoples’ obsession with them on here is just that, an obsession.

By New Wave

The site in Manchester that no other developer wanted…..best of luck with it!!

By Boo

Given that some cities including London have law which requires apartments to have balconies, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to request more and it certainly isn’t limited to PNW readers.

By Anonymous