Manchester City Council is to determine an application this summer from local charity Embassy with developers Peel L&P and Capital & Centric to build 40 modular homes between the Bridgewater Canal and the River Irwell.
The permanent structures would be made from repurposed shipping containers and provide secure housing for the city’s homeless people, the partnership said. If the plans are approved, construction work would start in late summer and the first units would be available from 2022.
To be located underneath railway arches at the derelict Hulme site owned by Peel L&P, the project called Embassy Village would seek to create a housing-led community with lots of communal and green space, mini allotments to grow vegetables, and a multi-use sports area.
The charity would enrol residents into a six hours per week one-to-one training and mentoring programme to provide the support they need to leave the cycle of homelessness, reintegrate back into society and find work.
It would aim to equip them with a range of life skills, including shopping, budgeting and cooking, and courses designed to help unpack past traumas would also be made available. Embassy Village will operate as a housing provider rather than a shelter, according to the charity, with residents becoming paying tenants at the village from the first day of their stay. The partnership recently concluded a public consultation on the plans.
Capital & Centric is advising on the scheme’s delivery, Jon Matthews Architects is the designer and Deloitte Real Estate is the planner. The full project team, which provided its services to Embassy pro bono, is detailed below.
Formal submission of the application comes as the charity plans its post-lockdown initiatives to help the city fight persistently high rates of homelessness. Government figures released in February found that Manchester had the second highest number of people sleeping rough in England, according to Embassy, and question marks remain over the level of funding support that the council will receive as the country is released from lockdown.
Sid Williams, co-founder and director of Embassy said: “The big need in Manchester is to find a way to cut the time it takes for an individual to move on from homelessness. As residents will be renting their Embassy Village homes, we hope to instil a strong sense of empowerment from day one.”
Peel L&P’s executive director James Whittaker added: “Following the public consultation, it’s fantastic to see this special project move forward into planning stages. With the support from the local business community, our vision to help reduce Manchester’s homelessness by transforming our land beneath some railway arches in the city into much needed housing for the homeless is one step closer to becoming reality.”
And Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: “From the Greater Homes Partnership to the Bed Every Night scheme, our city-region has led the way and made a real positive difference in battling homelessness.
“These plans are groundbreaking for the city centre and a fantastic example of how Manchester can build back better after the pandemic. We’re creating a high-quality and green scheme that knocks it out of the park in terms of innovative design, but it’s the incredible work of Sid and the Embassy team that will build a community spirit and show how we look after our own in this city.”
The project team includes:
Landowner – Peel L&P
Development consultant – Capital & Centric
Planner – Deloitte Real Estate
Architect – Jon Matthews Architects
Civil and Structural Engineer – Curtins
Quantity Surveyors – Arcadis
Transport Engineer – Curtins
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer – Crookes Walker
Fire Engineer – OFR
Acoustic Engineer – Fisher Acoustics
Landscape Architect – Planit-i.e
CDMC / PD – CDMC Services
Building Control – Ball and Berry
Sustainability – Element Sustainability
Graphics – Our Studio
Construction Logistics Support – Balfour Beatty