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.”
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.
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.