Great Ducie Street Framework View 2

‘No development better than bad development’ at Great Ducie Street

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Manchester City Council has published its latest regeneration framework for Great Ducie Street, which as well as establishing the potential for homes in “buildings of scale” and 2.8m sq ft of commercial space, takes a hard line on landowners or developers who may seek to capitalise on rising land prices without delivering quality schemes.

The site wraps around, but does not include, the former Boddingtons brewery site, close to NOMA, the Northern Gateway and the Manchester Arena. The framework has been made by Deloitte and SimpsonHaugh on behalf of the council.

In what is expected to be a 20-year delivery period, the SRF outlines the potential for a mixed-use neighbourhood, building on the area’s textile industry and “legacy of enterprise and employment” by adding 1.7m sq ft of commercial space to that already in existence on the site, bringing the total to 2.8m sq ft. Alongside, half of the total properties in the area will be for residential use, delivered in “buildings of scale” and intended for a range of occupiers.

The framework stresses the importance of sustainability, architectural diversity, maximising the potential of the River Irwell, and revitalising an area which is “susceptible to decline” through providing “a place to live in that is different… ‘difference’ defined as a wider range of housing typologies than are visible in the city core.”

Great Ducie Street Framework View 1

In a departure from the usual tone of an SRF, the document seeks to block developers from using land costs and viability issues as excuses for avoiding delivering the quality of development the council expects.

An uplift in land values is likely, but “this should not lead to an environment where landowners seek an unreasonable price”, and the SRF stresses that “the city council will not take lightly landowners who stall and sit on their sites, in expectation that they will achieve a sale price which means that the council objectives cannot be met.”

In turn, “the city council will not entertain purchasers who at the planning stage say that they can’t deliver on council objectives due to the price paid on the land.”

“No development is better than substandard development”, according to the SRF, and the market should avoid “unrealistic expectations of value and developer profit”. When it comes to residential, the SRF establishes that building solo blocks will not be encouraged, but instead will need to be a “credible” multi-phase scheme in a single ownership.

Great Ducie Street Framework View 3

The Great Ducie Street area is currently largely surface car parking, which the SRF said will be replaced by multi-storey car parks in future developments, due to the area’s importance for commuter parking.

The commercial spaces are expected to be aimed at small-scale manufacturing, ‘Made in Britain’ brands, and digital and e-commerce within the fashion industry. There will also be large floorplates to appeal to professional services firms.

While the SRF concedes that “it is unlikely this scheme could be delivered in full in this current positive economic cycle”, a possible first phase has been identified. This relates to land owned and occupied by Whispering Smith, the Faith Life Centre and adjoining riverside green space which extends northwards, to west of Mary Street, into land owned by Manchester City Council.

“Within this first phase of development, the SRF identifies the opportunity to deliver development of height and density including new residential accommodation. This will be combined with high quality public realm and enhanced riverside access and green space. As a gateway into the SRF area, it is essential that this development sets a benchmark for quality in terms of built environment and placemaking.”

The site is split into several “character areas” to guide development. The northern half of site will gradually rise in scale from Mary Street, whilst buildings nearer to Trinity Way and New Bridge Street to the south will be nearer in scale to the city centre.

Mary Street and Southall Street will be focused on commercially-led schemes, connecting it to the office development planned at Boddington’s.

Cheetham Hill Gateway will be the residential area, with “prominent corners suitable for buildings of scale”. At Park Place, there will be a mix of residential and commercial, “noteworthy buildings retained” and a key area of public realm.

Great Ducie Street Masterplan

Your Comments

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I like the ambition, the reality is that if you want good looking buildings, mixed use developers such as Allied, MUSE, Capital & Centric and Urban Splash should be encouraged here, and not the resi box bashing from Renaker, Forwhaws, X1, Fortis etc.

By John Faulkner

A very welcome approach, and demonstrating just how little effort is required from authorities to protect their strategic economies.

In a few short words, they have destroyed the business model of any blood sucking charlatan who fancies their chances: they can try and landbank if they want, but they will only be stuck with an unsaleable asset if they do!

Rather exposes the nonsense trotted out elsewhere that certain councils are merely helpless.

By Mike

A masterplan for the city council by Deloitte and Simpson Haugh (no Stephen Levrante?) well thats a surprise.

By A Gaudi

Bit unfair those comments from John Faulkner I think. The one thing you can say about those resi box bashers as you call them is that they put their own money where their mouth is. Let’s be honest Allied London aside all those others you mention constantly rely on public sector subsidy be it in the form of land, grants or forward commit on commercial up take before they take on any risk. Granted the Renakers or the likes of Fortis may not win too many design awards but they probably take more development risk than any of those you mention and deserve credit for that.

By BDay

Whilst to some there are buildings of ‘little merit’ there, can we not try and create a more interesting environment by preserving most of the small warehouse and factory buildings in situ are building around them? A small 4 story we brick late Victorian factory may not be deemed important enough to warrant listing (very little outside of the South of England does it would seem) but they are interesting, quite unique in their cluster, and good to look at after some TLC. They would make the area a whole lot more interesting than block after block after endless block of the same old dreary…..Mixed it up a bit, New York does. Unless MCC think they don’t need to take lessons from Manhattan or Brooklyn?!!

but that will be just as valuable in years to come than had a few small timber framed building been preserved in the city centre.

By Loganberry

Really like the ambition shown here by the city council but Loganberry is correct in that we should try and preserve any buildings of architectural merit to create a rich mix of contemporary and historic architecture in and around Great Ducie Street.

Definitely agree that volume house builders often put their money where there mouth is but not sure that you can generalise about mixed-use developers being constantly reliant on public sector grants anymore. My company works with mixed-use developers in the city and my understanding is that no public sector funding is going into schemes such as Beehive Mill, hoUSe and Avro by Urban Splash nor at Kampus, Talbot Mill, and Crusader Mill by Capital and Centric.

By NWPropfan

I see some buildings are retained but what about the recently converted Robert Street Hub warehouse? and the Dutton Hotel?
Strangways has a fascinating history and what little remains should be kept for character.

By chasedwar