M58 Orbit Internal

Month in property | May

Neil Tague

Into Orbit

It’s been quite a month for Orbit, which pulled off the region’s largest shed deal of 2017 so far to tissue paper firm Accrol – cue “Orbit on a roll” headline – and let 14,500 sq ft in Stockport to Capita Travel at Regent House, also now home to a Travelodge. Orbit must however await a public inquiry over plans for more shops at Handforth Dean. Having blazed the trail here in the barren 1990s, the company must be absolutely delighted to see Consolidated Property waltz up along the road, build a Next and flog it for £15.8m, before getting their own whopping consent for more retail. Tough game, property.

Water carry-on

Say what you like about Cheshire East, but the council never lets copy-hungry hacks down. The Cheshire Lakes watersports plan, which looks to all and sundry like a cracker, has been refused for a third time, despite a thumbs-up from the RSPB and other experts. Cheshire East’s planning committee is as Cheshire East’s planning committee does. Still, not all bad news as the council did this month finally sort-of win in the Supreme Court, a three-year battle over the strength of neighbourhood plans that has no doubt enabled a few QCs to buy more solid gold Bentleys.

Holt’s – who goes there?

To India Buildings, Liverpool, a glorious pile that is the latest battleground for the city’s all-too familiar “they can’t do THIS” versus “the city can’t become a museum” argument. Government office HMRC wants to move in, but needs to make the building more secure. Thus Holt’s Arcade, running through the centre at ground level, will be closed off to the public; it does have staircases that access the whole building, after all. Liverpool’s curse is having glorious buildings and an economy that really can’t afford to say no to the sort of deal on offer here.

Chester minute

Ten years is really much, much too long for a place like Chester to go without “kulcha” of any kind in its city centre, so big up to the Storyhouse, which opened amid much fanfare this month. Slotting cool-looking library, café and diddy cinema into the Art Deco Odeon with a funky new two-format theatre moulded onto it, everything looks lovely. The powers that be need to be getting investors in there by the truckful, to try and sort funding for Northgate post-haste.

They’ve Preston again

News keeps coming through from the University of Central Lancashire, which has decent-looking plans: a £60m square, student centre and social spaces in the Adelphi roundabout area, which really should demarcate the university more. There’s lots going on with key sites around Preston’s inner core currently, with the Markets Quarter, Old Post Office hotel, and a push on city living spearheaded by Cushman & Wakefield. Good to see; they’ll have cracked it once even the biggest cynics don’t use the word “city” with a raised eyebrow.

Power play

Never exactly shy and retiring, Liverpool’s Joe Anderson has been in the limelight even more than usual. Described in a New Statesman profile as “inspiring gratitude and loathing in almost equal measure” Mayor Joe blasted the Labour Party as “not always a meritocracy” as he lost out to Daniel Carden for the Labour nomination in Walton. This week, he and the council finally lost patience with pharma business Redx, calling in administrators. Owing the city £2m since 2012, it might have been wise to repay a few quid to soften the blow when they buggered off to Cheshire last year.

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