Central Retail Park drawing
TH Real Estate has outlined plans for retail, homes and public realm at Central Retail Park

Manchester considers plans for city centre sites

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Manchester City Council’s executive will gather for its final meeting of 2015 next week, to endorse development frameworks for Central Retail Park and Jackson’s Row, and discuss the acquisition of 17-acres of land from the Homes & Communities Agency at Grimshaw Lane in Middleton.

At Central Retail Park in Great Ancoats Street, the council will consider a draft framework which was deferred from an earlier executive meeting in October. Put together by TH Real Estate and Turley, in conjunction with the council, the document proposes a mixed-use regeneration scheme, which will deliver new homes alongside a consolidated and improved retail offer.

If approved, the framework will be put out to public consultation in December and January.

The framework proposes:

  • A consolidated retail park in the North West of the site, comprising retained and refurbished units, new retail unit, and reconfigured parking and servicing arrangements
  • A residential apartment development on the rest of the site, with complementary ground floor uses
  • A dedicated pedestrian route through the site to improve connectivity between Great Ancoats Street and Cotton Field Park/New Islington Marina
  • Enhanced public realm and landscaping

TH Real Estate was granted planning permission in 2013 for a £40m scheme which included a 90,000 sq ft supermarket, cinema and smaller retail units with undercroft parking. Work on the project never began.

Concept drawings by Make Architects for Bootle Street were released at MIPIM 2015

Concept drawings by Make Architects for Bootle Street were released at MIPIM 2015

The council is also set to formally endorse the strategic regeneration framework for a £150m mixed-use development at Manchester’s Bootle Street, after a period of public consultation over the autumn.

The 1.8-acre scheme between Jackson’s Row, Bootle Street and Southmill Street, known as St Michael’s, is being brought forward by a development company owned by ex-footballers Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, developer Brendan Flood and Manchester City Council. The scheme is funded by Singaporean-based Rowsley and Beijing Construction Engineering Group.

The project is set to include:

  • A five-star international hotel, with associated dining, leisure and small scale conference facilities
  • Residential apartments with roof gardens
  • Offices with views across the new public squares towards the Town Hall
  • Retail, leisure and bar/restaurant uses
  • A new facility for the Manchester Reform Synagogue
  • Public squares

The plot is made up of a former police station, the United Reform Synagogue, the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and a parcel of open land.

The consultation raised questions from the public about the future of the Abercomby pub and whether it would be incorporated into the scheme. In a report to the executive, the council said that “the council and the developer take engagement with businesses currently located on the site very seriously, and the developer is making arrangements to meet with the respondent to discuss the scheme proposals as they are progressed.”

Make is the architect on the scheme, while Zerum is development advisor.

In the same meeting, the council has asked for endorsement of its plans to buy 17-acres of development land in and around Grimshaw Lane, known as Weir Pumps, from the Homes & Communities Agency.

The land is divided into four plots.

According to a report to the executive, the land will be “suitable for the clustering of commercial uses and large-scale employers predominantly industrial in character. These uses would complement the existing uses in the area which include Seamark, Kingfisher Foods, Fine Lady Bakeries, and Alloy Bodies.

“The City Council is pursuing a significant programme of development throughout key areas in the City. Control of the land at Grimshaw Lane will provide the City Council with additional resource to capture or relocate employment uses at the appropriate time.”

The sale price was not made public due to being ‘commercially sensitive’.

Manchester City council’s executive will meet on Wednesday 2 December.

Your Comments

Something drastically needs to be done about the Central retail park.This is a complete Eyesore and the so called ‘cotton fields’ park which is more like a swamp is appalling.Manchester is becoming a tale of two cities.The areas around the Town Hall down to Beetham tower and the new developments at Granada and Bootle street plus Spinning fields are worthy of any European capital Anywhere near Piccadilly station,Great Ancoats streets down to the Mancunian way is an embarrassment.

By Elephant

The park is alright, will look great when the (ridiculously overpriced) HoUSe units are all finished. It really is the retail park letting that area down. Looks like something fairly bland will end up going in there, but better than the tired depressing shell of a 1980s hellhole that is there at the moment

By James

Some property genius is simply swapping tired and poor retail for overpriced apartments, and claiming that the ‘public’ will benefit from a (soon to be) litter strewn nasty little path to a damp pointless ‘park’.

By Citizen Smith

In response to James.Last time I went past there,the park had not been properly lanscaped and it looked very neglected.This may have changed.My plan would be to get rid of that retail park completely extend the park to the road and surround the whole place with nice railings and a large gate on Great Ancoats street.Retail parks are not appropriate in city centres.We need a large city centre park and this is by far the best opportunity.

By Elephant

And Elephant does your plan have a budget? – thought not. Nice aspiration but never going to happen.

By Jacey Law

@Elephant, I like your idea a lot!

By Francesca

This is the perfect location for a badly needed real, decent sized park in central manchester. By all means, include some high density residential on the edges to help pay for it, but most should become public open space. In the long run a beautiful city park will have more benefit to the city economy than yet another mixed scheme that does lots of things mediocrely, and few things well, as well as improving property prices in the whole surrounding area.

By Lin

Elephant, fantastic idea, and really would make an ideal location for a Victorian style grand park. However, I’m not sure that would fit the mentality of development in Manchester: foreign cash, standard flats, cram ’em in. Its not a nice place.

By James

I just cannot agree with those comments about Ancoats. Cotton fields park is beautiful and the area is at the beginning of a building boom. I don’t know how people can think otherwise. Ancoats is not an embarrassment; it has a number of beautiful buildings steeped in history from being the heart of industrial Manchester. The area is undergoing major regeneration and a surge in popularity.

By Mike

In response to Jacey Law. Why do we need a huge budget to create a pretty park?The gates and railings would need to be paid for,but once a park is cultivated,it looks after itself,apart from occasional weeding and basic management.The water is there all ready to be incorporated. St Stephens Green in Dublin should be used as a guide for this.With all the homes being built around there it is high time that some open space for the people there was provided.

By Elephant

I agree with Mike that Ancoats has some nice buildings,but in general the area looks shabby and neglected. There is no consistency in the planning. Build an attractive development like CHIPS and then leave it surrounded by dereliction for ten years,or that tired bit of green which the Metrolink ploughs through. What is that all about? The drive after this bit of green is just a tatty pile of ugly industrial units with a few new build flats in between them. There is no community of any kind there.Bleak,grey and cheap looking.

By Elephant

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