The Christie Planning Application June 1

Residents slam ‘box-ticking exercise’ for Christie’s Paterson Project

Charlie Schouten

As plans for The Christie’s 10-storey, 270,000 sq ft cancer research centre on Wilmslow Road continue to progress, a campaign group has claimed the planning process has “completely ignored” public views, and “will look very like a box-ticking exercise with a pre-determined outcome”.

Following a public consultation earlier this year, plans were submitted in early June to create what The Christie said would be “one of the world’s top centres for cancer research” on the site of the former Paterson building, which was ravaged by a fire in 2017.

The mixed 10 and seven-storey building, designed by BDP, is set to include more than 113,300 sq ft of laboratory and research space over four floors, along with 92,000 sq ft of consultant workspace. There will be a 28,000 sq ft reception, café, facilities management, and research space on the ground floor, along with public realm fronting the building.

However, before the application was submitted, the Rethink the Paterson” campaign, made up of residents and supported by Didsbury West Cllr Greg Stanton put forward a letter arguing against the redevelopment of the site, which said the proposed building would be “inappropriate for a residential area”.

The group has maintained its objection to the scheme ahead of a meeting of Manchester City Council’s executive on Wednesday, where changes to The Christie’s strategic regeneration framework for its campus are set to be endorsed; these will support the delivery of the Paterson redevelopment.

In a strongly-worded letter, the campaign group has pointed the finger at The Christie for its conduct, arguing it had made efforts to “whip up support” for the Paterson project outside the local area.

The residents’ group claimed: “The Christie Charitable Fund – the hospital’s fundraising arm – used its appeals mailing list to ask people to register their support on a dedicated website. Local residents were then shocked to discover that The Christie had asked its NHS volunteers and staff to go out to Oldham, Salford and Stockport to encourage passers-by to sign postcards of support.

“These were submitted to the Council and are cited in the chief executive’s report but with no reference to how they were obtained.” In response, The Christie argued it “serves the whole region” and it was “vital” that it gauged “the views of the wider community on this project as it has a direct impact on patient care and the future delivery of services”.

The Christie Planning Application June 4

The Christie had previously responded saying the size of the building was “essential if the vision for Manchester to become a global powerhouse of cancer research and treatment is to be achieved, ensuring patients have access to the very latest treatments.

“Some of the floors will be stepped back from Wilmslow Road to minimise the impact, and our award-winning Green Travel Plan will continue to encourage staff to travel to work using alternatives to private cars,” added The Christie.

Manchester City Council’s conduct is also called into question by the campaign group, which argued the council had done little to consult with local residents on the proposals, compared with other upcoming masterplans and regeneration frameworks.

The group cited the proposed Eastlands regeneration framework, which it said had the support of “a council-led consultation event and were given the opportunity to submit comments online”.

“In contrast Withington residents were sent a single letter with minimal detail, and as a result many would have remained unaware of the proposal without the efforts of a local campaign”.

A spokesperson for the Rethink Paterson campaign group said: “The Council executive now knows the profound problems that a building of this size in a residential area will bring and is now aware that there is enormous local opposition. Residents do not oppose the rebuilding of the Paterson – they are asking for a rethink of the current proposals.

“If the executive gives formal approval on Wednesday it will legitimise the planning application that completely ignored this consultation. They will be cutting the local community adrift and will open the door to further high-rise developments here.

“The contrast with the Eastlands consultation says a lot about the way this community is treated, as does The Christie’s pursuit of a marketing campaign designed to drown out the voices of local residents. 500 objections, critical issues raised, but no changes: what does this say about how local democracy works in this city, particularly where The Christie is concerned? It will look very like a box-ticking exercise with a pre-determined outcome.

“We believe aspects of this process may be unlawful and that the proposal contravenes local and national planning policy. We urge the executive to reject it and ask The Christie and The University to think again. That is what they would tell any other developer to do”.

The Christie Planning Application June 5

In response to the campaign group, a spokesperson for The Christie said: “The redevelopment of the Paterson building is an exciting and unique opportunity to build a world class research building in the heart of Greater Manchester that allows scientists, researchers and clinicians to all work side by side with access to patients. This is something that can only happen by building the centre at The Christie.

“Along with our partners, The University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK – together making up the Manchester Cancer Research Centre – we have undertaken wide-reaching consultation on plans for the Paterson Redevelopment Project.

In January 2019, The Christie ran its own informal public consultation on the draft Strategic Planning Framework Addendum and produced a Consultation Report setting out feedback received. A further stage of consultation on the detailed planning application took place in March 2019 to listen to views of the local community. A Statement of Community Engagement presenting the consultation undertaken was submitted with the planning application.

“The support campaign that followed in May 2019 was intentionally a positive, promotional campaign and not a further stage of public consultation on the plans. The campaign which was conducted over a one week period in May demonstrated 2,000 expressions of support from across Greater Manchester and beyond, with 191 supporters identified across the four local ward areas [Withington, East Didsbury, West Didsbury and Old Moat] and 154 within the M20 postcode area [Withington and Didsbury] which represents positive support within the closest wards to the site.

“We have carried out consultations in which local residents have been able to share their views on the redevelopment project and have also sought the views of the wider community across Greater Manchester. The Christie serves the whole region and therefore it is vital that we seek the views of the wider community on this project as it has a direct impact on patient care and the future delivery of services.

“The detailed planning application is currently under consideration by Manchester City Council and will be judged on its own merit. The Christie’s Strategic Planning Framework adopted in 2014 also remains in place.

“As part of the design process for the building, a longer, lower building was considered, but the process concluded that a longer building would only be one storey lower at the cost of increased proximity to residential properties on Oak Road.

“It was also identified that a building of this configuration would not achieve the same strategic internal adjacencies and would be less effective in facilitating the Team Science environment which is critical to the success of the project.”

The Christie has proposed tackling issues raised by the local community including traffic; measures to be taken include the construction of a new multi-storey car park, as well as providing funding to extend the residents’ parking zone around the campus.

Manchester City Council’s executive is set to endorse the SRF addendum on Wednesday; in a report ahead of committee, the council said of the Paterson Project: “The development aspirations of the Christie would be accommodated in a manner that respects local character and amenity and key issues that have caused ongoing problems in the area regarding parking are being addressed.

“Whilst residents in the area do value the work undertaken at the Christie they have very considerable concerns about how it impacts on their community and neighbourhood and this has been expressed over many years in relation specifically to parking issues. In response to this specific addendum, the height of the building has been a major cause for concern.

“The draft addendum does not set out a policy position but recognises that there is an opportunity to develop a facility of national and international significance at the site.”

The Christie Planning Application June 3

Your Comments

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So it is OK for nimbies and objectors to object, which will be a small number of the population, local and further afield, but as soon as someone asks if you support a scheme it is frowned upon and not allowed – this is ridiculous. The Patterson needs to be built and everyone should get behind it. Apart from the amazing work the Christie does; the proposal is an attractive building and most if not all the arguments against it are flawed. I, like most people of Manchester, local and further afield support the development.

By Dan James

It’s a stunning design and an asset to the local area. People trying to block for fear it’ll affect their house prices should be ashamed. Withington is a horrible area anyway.


Ignore the NIMBYs…awful attitude. Curing cancer, providing jobs and local regeneration is more important than the vocal minority.


This kind of facility has to be somewhere so why not manchester, are we forgetting what this despicable disease does to families and there loved ones, if it was a block of apartments there would have by no need for the already delay in its delivery, please everyone just support it fully as hopefully one day we all prey you will not need it’s important services

From a local property owner and business operator

By Robert

Please let this get approval.

By Nordyne

Should 100% be given approval.

By Observer1

Needs of the many over the few; surely the public benefits outweigh the harm.
However, I don’t live next to it so can understand the anger.

By Anon

This is a stunning looking design and would be another major Asset for the Greater Manchester Region. Let’s hope none of the NIMBY’s with their disgusting ‘me first’ attitude ever need the expertise and world class facilities offered by this amazing organisation. I hope the City Council err on the side of common sense and approve this application.

By David Sleath

A mega-monster lego-blocks building in a pleasant esidential area. Has everybody gone mad?

By James Yates

Obviously a facility like this is good for the area/region generally but the scale of the building does seem out-of-keeping with its surroundings (especially from the perspective of that last pick). I guess locals would also be worried that this may represent the thin end of the wedge, i.e., once one tall building goes up it is more likely others will follow.

By Anon

Hi – as one of the local campaigners, let’s be very clear. We are NOT opposed to the building of the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre; we have all had family and friends who have been affected by cancer, so of course, we too want the best treatments to be available. We ARE opposed to the vertical design. The basic size and shape appears to have been formulated over the summer of 2017, a good 15 months before public consultation began. When the Christie developed plans for a new multi-storey car park (surrounded by residential housing) in 2017, they presented four different options. When they developed their own Strategic Planning Framework in 2014, they proposed restricting the height of new buildings on the edge of the site “ensuring that development will not prejudice surrounding street character or have adverse impacts on neighbouring properties”; the Council agreed and signed off on that principle. Now the Christie offer just ONE option that is over three times the height of the houses opposite; 500 residents have objected. A local architect has already drawn up two different variations that would lower the building. Options exist that enable this important research building to go ahead, without such height, and in a way that decades of evidence shows would SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE the Team Science approach.

By Anon

If I lived beside this I’d be complaining too! Ridiculous to put a skyscraper in the middle of a residential area. The hospital owns lots of land in the area so once this goes through it paves the way for more houses being in the shadow of monstrous hospital buildings.

By Anonymous

The residents need to get a grip and look at the bigger picture. They don’t live in the peak district. They live three miles from the centre of Manchester. This needs to go ahead.

By Steve

I really don’t understand the objections. Surely the height is actually a positive feature of the design? It helps define the street and provides a much safer, attractive and animated environment than is the car currently it with a less ambitious proposal. Moreover, being objective, it really doesn’t impact the environmental quality of surrounding properties at all does it?

Let’s just get on with it. This is a great proposal.

By YIMBY Christie

Just get it built..

By Paul W.

Consultation is listening and ignoring – there is a consultation planned for Carrington Moss yet buildings are being erected and funding received for a road whilst advertisement of the homes is taking place for “affordable homes” in China – we are all duped !

By Alan

This looks great

By Anonymous