Manchester Life's New Union Street scheme will include 300 flats

Manchester Life sites set for approval

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Manchester City Council is due to approve the development of around 650 homes at its planning committee next week, including two applications for Manchester Life phase one sites in Ancoats and New Islington.

The joint venture between the council and Manchester City FC owner Abu Dhabi United Group plans to deliver a £1bn investment across 6,000 units by 2027. The first phase announced in March, at New Union Street next to the Rochdale Canal and Murrays’ Mill, will bring forward 424 apartments.

The 2.4-acre vacant site at New Union Street has been earmarked for three mixed-use residential buildings of between eight and 10-storeys, totalling 302 apartments. The scheme was designed by RTKL, while Deloitte advised on planning.

Manchester City Council has received 15 objections to the scheme from members of the public. Issues include the height of the buildings, loss of view over the marina and pressure caused on local infrastructure.

At Murrays’ Mill in Bengal Street, Manchester Life has applied for the conversion of the listed warehouse to create 108 flats, alongside a new-build five-storey block with a further 16 flats, and public ream which would see the infilling of canal basin.

The apartments at New Union Street and Murrays’ Mill are both aimed at the rented market.

Meanwhile, planning officers have recommended for approval a 160-apartment scheme by DeTrafford Estates Group on Chester Road.

Designed by Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, the proposal includes 154 apartments in one 12-storey block with six ground-floor commercial units, and a second four-storey building with six apartments and two more commercial spaces. The designs feature a community square in the centre of the development.

The apartments are to include a mix of housing types, with three-bedroom triplex apartments and one- and two-bedroom duplex apartments with communal roof terraces.

Lovell Homes is also expected to get sign-off for the development of 164 two- and three-storey homes on an 11-acre site at Ashton Old Road.

The houses will be made up of a mix of 45 two-bedroom, 97 three-bedroom, and 22 four-bedroom properties.

The scheme is part of the neighbourhood plan for Toxteth Street, which was granted outline planning permission in 2006.

The architect and planner for Lovell is PRP Architects.

Manchester City Council’s planning committee is due to meet on Thursday 2 July.

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I had had high hopes for schemes delivered through Manchester Life but that one at New Islington looks dreadful. Really cheap and blocky and few of the apartments having balconies even. What are they thinking?

By Unimpressed

As a potential future New Islington resident I do wish this had been either more housing or less dense apartment blocks but after talking to Urban Splash (who previously owned the plot) about the MCR Life development they noted that the council have set strict guidelines for the number of homes they want built in that area. So presumably Abu Dhabi United Group are making the most of that. I do feel sorry for those currently in the flats along New Union Street as they will now look onto apartments.

I also feel sorry for those buying the three story houses in the HoUSe development as they will now look across the canal onto a overbearing apartment block. This will also affect the privacy of my own garden which is a shame but what can you do?

By Col Skinner

… more flats?
… what about some houses?
We are in danger, if not past the point of creating a monoculture for city centre living.


Is this the talent that today’s architects have? Awful!

By MancWatcher

Dreadful stuff. Somebody call Frank Gehry to get him to give these people the heads up on how to develop buildings in sync with cities, place and communities. I agree with all the comments made on this!

By Sceptic

I don’t agree that the New Islington blocks should have been less dense. The area consists of wide open public spaces that need proper enclosure and overlooking to make them feel comfortable and walkable. Small housing units just wouldn’t cut it from that point of view. They ought to be much better quality though.

By Unimpressed

Very basic architecture, which unfortunately is the hallmark of much of Manchester’s recent build programme. “Gehry style” would be totally unaffordable but that’s no excuse for creating another raft of dark satanic flats.

By Ian Jones

Can people please stop blaming the architects for everything? They are powerless and in the hands of their clients ie Developers and Main Contractors and have pretty much no say in density, design or anything much else – the profession has changed a lot in the last 20 years !

By alice in wonderland

Love the phrase ‘satanic flats’ Ian !

By alice in wonderland

I work with architects and they certainly arent powerless, in fact theyre the most vocal out of the design team and have no qualms expressing their opinions on designs and coming up with new ideas

By MancWatcher

Perhaps some of these ‘architects’ or even the developers might like to live in these boxes for a while. See what they are really like.

By Chorlton Beard