Macc for good
Ask has revealed its plans for Macclesfield town centre and the design by FaulknerBrowns looks tidy enough – cinema, a few restaurants, easy. However, Macc and Cheshire East are in something of a bind: there’s not enough evening economy in the centre, and while this scheme deals with that, the damn thing is to be built on what’s probably the town’s key car park, with 275 spaces. Natives are restless. Just throwing this out there, but if parking could be freed up at the big retailers, could people consider, you know, walking a short distance in what’s a constrained central area as a trade-off?
Lack of Pomona faith
Completion of the 164-apartment build-to-rent Pomona Wharf saw Place’s comments section reach boiling point last week, with almost all the views negative – “What were the council thinking…” and so on. The volume of comments may yet surpass the opprobrium heaped on Stockport retail scheme Red Rock in October. In support of the latter, it solved a very big issue for the town, it works at street level and is a starting point for the redevelopment of the Merseyway shopping centre, signed off this month. Will get back to you on the Pomona defence.
A nice update from Huntsmere this month, winning five consents for mansions on three sites. Two are on a plot in Hale Barns, two in Prestbury and one, a 12,000 sq ft pile, is on Wilmslow’s Macclesfield Road, where the prevailing design aesthetic is “Trump Tower but a bit more bling”. Boss Chris Oakes said the group is now building “super-mansions” for private commissions and “mini-mansions” for the more bread and butter stuff, in the piffling £1m – £3m range. Good news for housing minister Alok Sharma’s completion targets, eh.
Dusting itself off from the failed tilt at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Liverpool has launched a bid for the same year’s World Gymnastics Championships. This is exactly what it should be going for: cheaper than bloated athletics events leaving white elephant facilities, and more international in outlook than the darts and Take That gigs. The Echo Arena and its campus environment are a huge plus and the city needs to give the hotel groups, restaurant brands and the rest yet more reason to invest in the hospitality sector.
So will cuddly bookie Fred Done get his way over the 13-storey Zoku aparthotel Salboy has planned for Shudehill in Manchester? Local planning history suggests yes, but it’s now been deferred twice, with last week’s meeting being particularly spicy, and Fred might have to give a bit of ground (or rather another storey or two). The site is a tricky one, and everyone knows it needs something, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the proposed tower is a whopper, contextually. Mind, they said that about Blackfriars.
Liverpool calls house
Liverpool City Council is to set up its own council housing company, with Mayor Joe Anderson putting into action something he’s been edging towards for years. No other city seems to be grasping the nettle in such a way – “we’re NOT talking about council housing” being the usual line – despite the continued failure of the private sector to deliver enough houses. Is this going to be Mayor Joe’s major legacy? It’s not the first time the city has zigged as the rest zag, but it might find a bit more support than it did in the mid-1980s.