Manchester City Council has recommended DeTrafford’s latest residential scheme be approved, saying that councillors’ criticism of the 366-bedroom block at March’s committee meeting was “unsubstantiated”.
At the meeting in March, councillors voted that they were minded to refuse the Chester Road project, as in their view the proposal would result in over-development of the site.
They also slammed the project as “inward-facing” and resembling a “gated community”, although the scheme was nearly approved with seven votes against six.
As part of Manchester City Council’s planning process, a scheme does not immediately get refused, but is returned to the next committee with further guidance from planners on the legal grounds for refusal.
The scheme, designed by JM Architects and DEP, is made up of two buildings ranging in height from eight to 12 storeys and 14 to 18 storeys, respectively, on a 41,000 sq ft site on the corner of Hulme Hall Road, Chester Road and Ellesmere Street. Paul Butler Associates is advising on planning.
Gallery Gardens forms the latest phase of developer DeTrafford’s long-running Manchester Gardens development, which sits alongside Chester Road on the edge of Hulme and Castlefield.
The committee report from the council’s head of planning, Julie Roscoe, argues that the scheme should still be approved as it “complies with approved planning policies” that have driven residential development in the area for the past 25 years, and that going against the policies would contravene planning law.
“The proposal would provide much-needed homes on brownfield land in line with Government policy,” the report stated.
However, the council has acknowledged that the increase in residents in the area would add pressure to existing amenities, so has asked for £80,000 from DeTrafford towards the cost of upgrading a local park.
The head of planning’s recommendation is to approve the scheme, as “it is not considered that members’ concerns about over-development could be substantiated”.
The proposal will now go to the council’s chief executive Joanne Roney for final sign-off. Manchester City Council’s planning committees are currently not meeting due to coronavirus restrictions and many applications are being determined under local authority-held statutory powers.