Manchester Waters phase , Peel Waters, p Peel

AHR is leading on the scheme's design. Credit: Peel Waters

Peel resubmits plans for next phase of Pomona Island homes

Having withdrawn an earlier application to redevelop part of the 26-acre islet amid a row about affordable housing, revised proposals for 159 build-to-rent apartments have been submitted. 

Peel Waters’ 2021 version of the project featured no on-site affordable housing provision – although Peel did offer a ‘significant financial contribution’ towards off-site affordable housing – and Trafford Council subsequently recommended the development be refused. 

As a result, Peel withdrew the plans and looked at other options for the site, including hotel and industrial, before opting to stick with residential. 

The 2023 iteration of the project, part of the developer’s Manchester Waters masterplan, also features no on-site affordable homes. 

However, as part of the proposals, Peel will be making a contribution equivalent to 20% affordable housing within Trafford, the developer said. The earlier iteration proposed 5%.

The scheme comprises a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments that would be spread across two buildings designed by AHR Architects. 

Resident amenities would include a gym, yoga studio, and communal rooftop terrace. 

Peel is taking a fabric-first approach to the scheme to reduce carbon emissions, it said. In addition, heat pumps and solar panels will generate energy on site and will be complemented by a heat recovery system to boost the development’s operational efficiency.  

“This is the next exciting step in our regeneration plans for Manchester Waters, offering a unique residential opportunity at one of the best development sites in Greater Manchester,” said James Whittaker, executive director for Peel Waters. 

“Waterside living in the UK comes with many benefits that enhance quality of life and wellness. Our proposed homes will celebrate their waterfront location as well as delivering much-needed new, sustainable, quality housing in the area in addition to providing the next section of new improved pedestrian and cycle links between Manchester and MediaCity.” 

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Absolutely dreadful! Peel Holdings had a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn Pomona into something special. Instead they continue to churn out more dreadful and bland looking apartment blocks.

By jrb


4 brick walls facing the canal. Fantastic! 🙁

By jrb.

What an awful design, tiny balconies and almost zero windows facing the best asset of this location – the water, so how can it be celebrating its waterfront location?! Doesn’t everyone want a city centre apartment over looking water. This is low quality trash housing, I hope it gets rejected.

By GetItBuilt!

Why on earth is the gable end facing the canal? Surely that’s the view you want to face out to.

By Plop

Sounds great… Criminally poor design considering what a great location this could be

By Anonymous

I’m glad it’s got balconies but it just looks bland. Something that was built 20 years ago. The whole pomona island blueprint lacked any imagination though

By Tomo

I have to say, I hope those renderings are not what we will get. Pomona Island is prime waterfront location, we should be getting more of the X1 style rather than the cardboard cladding at the other end (and really, Pomona Wharf looks like a pile of cardboard boxes). Here’s a location with wonderful waterfront views where residents could sit out and have dinner on large balconies in summer to enjoy it, and this building has nothing but tiny box balconies that may fit one small chair.


Pomona is one of those rare locations, and one that deservers top quality design, and this isn’t it. Incredible bland design, and why on earth are there practically no windows, and absolutely no balconies with a water view….needs to be rejected, and then needs a total reworking.

By Manc man

Imagine designing a development on a waterfront site and not incorporating any windows overlooking the water?! Just blank facades!! Very poor design.

Also – those balconies are so small they are pointless and not even usable. Peel must be cutting costs by halving the size of their balconies! Hopefully Trafford Council knock it back like they did with the last iteration. This clearly doesn’t comply with their new Design Code.

By Anonymous

If it’s anything like Pomona Wharf next door we’ll be in for another embarrassing flat pack style abomination.

By Brigus

Just rotate the buildings 90 degrees so the residents have canal views and it will probably do! Otherwise it’s a ridiculous design.

By The Wiganer

“Our proposed homes will celebrate their waterfront location”

Hahah. With their blank facades facing the water, these look like they’ve been purposed designed designed to stick two fingers up at the waterfront and also Trafford Council for having the temerity to refuse Peel’s previous application. Offensively bad and probably deliberately so from a company that appear to hold the planning process in contempt.

By Peel watch

So if I’ve got this right, they’ve turned their back to the water – the very thing that makes this site more appealing. Genius piece of design.

By Sceptical

Awful design, no properties facing the canal, seemingly no public realm, tiny balconies, no affordable housing…. yeah this one should be refused

By Anonymous

This is excellent, big city vibes


Can Peel get someone with a bit of creativity, imagination, passion, flair…whatever they want to call it and have another go. Spend a bit more, get a lot more..come on Peel , we all hate you care.

By Anonymous

Pomona Island deserves high-end, luxury apartments. It’s in a prime location and Peel should rethink their design as there is a lot of money to be made (to their benefit).

By Verticality

Absolutely hideous. The architects will probably blame value-engineering, but there’s no excuse for blank gable ends onto the canal! If this gets approved by Trafford, it will say a lot about the state of our planning system.

By Ardy

These look like the Projects in Detroit. jrb is right. A fantastic resource, which could have been stunning.

By Elephant

Awful! Could place 3 times as many homes in taller buildings.


You are obviously a contrarian DH. Nothing big city or good about this . Try harder.


Or maybe it’s good design to face balconies and windows away from the scrap yard on the other side of the canal?

By Bennett Bro

Ridiculous comments. I agree the previous scheme next door is awful, but this looks good. Not sure about the comments on it not facing the water. There are literally 44 balconies facing the canal. Also, if ou rotate the blocks, only 1/4 of the apartments will get any view of the canal at all. In this arrangement, pretty much all the apartments will get some form of waterside view, whilst allowing light onto the water. Clearly a bunch of 20 year olds with no clue about development making uninformed comments.


Not only is the design not the easiest on the eye but it’s poor business. By building poor quality Peel are devaluing their future plots. If they would have built a quality scheme they could have demonstrated higher rents/values on the Island making more money for the next phases. Take a leaf out of Renaker’s book and don’t be cheap. Massive missed opportunity.

By Absolutely dreadful

Shockingly bad. Almost as bad as the first block of Benidorm tenements they threw up further down. Just awful

By Steve

Pomona Island needs to be traffords skyscraper site, premium living with shops around, restaurants, parks and offices, let’s not waste this unique land

By Anonymous

horrible – surface car park on a site with such potential.

By Anonymous

Hi folks. Having read the comment section – and in the interest of fairness – we’ve changed the main image to show a different view of the project, which shows that one side of the blocks do have apartments with balconies and windows overlooking the canal. The earlier image is still accurate and can be found further down in the story. We just felt it was important to show that there were, in fact, some waterfront views. Thanks – Julia

By Julia Hatmaker

Gives an idea of what us Liverpool folks can expect for “Liverpool Waters”.

By Anonymous

Thank you Julia

By Gilly

These look terrible, barely an improvement on the diabolical apartment blocks (the worst to be built in Manchester in the last 30 years?) next door. There’s apparently no consideration of the surrounding landscape or built context. Minded to REFUSE.

By Anonymous

The Problem ALL is that if you don’t like the design you are free to comment and many have done so and stated the reason’s clearly why. By throwing a strop you’ve invalidated any argument you may have had and this is, despite the new pictures not a good design for the location, in fact it most definitely could be better. Save the keyboard chewing for Instagram where it belongs or you just end up being the very butt of your own accusation.

By Most

Peels reputation for uninspiring cheap design continues. Truly Awful.

By Monty

@October 27, 2023 at 11:04 am
By Most

Thanks for the patronising comment.
Yes, I am indeed free to comment – this design is absolutely dreadful and the scheme should be sent back to the drawing board.

By Rye&Eggs

Like the development next door, will the public realm be gated off? Pomona could be a real high-quality money spinner for Peel… but instead they’ve gone bargain basement. Given how important Cornbrook’s connections and the Waterfront are, this simply isn’t good enough.

By Public Space

Such an own goal…. Pomona could have been such an opportunity. Yet more carbuncles…. You’d expect to see this kind of box bashing 15 years ago… Come on peel and Trafford, do it justice!

By Cheggers

Love it. We’re in desperate need for more housing and this makes best use of a brownfield site and celebrates its unique location. Excited to see what’s next for Manchester Waters, fingers crossed this gets approved.

By Anonymous

This is so depressing. Looks like the cheap apartment blocks that they threw up across the canal in Salford 20 or so years ago. And surface car parking on a site like this instead of public open space and greenery! Get it underground!! Peel – please do better. Manchester deserves better.

By Anonymous

do you have the planning reference number at all? thanks

By Anon

    Hi Anon. Trafford’s planning portal is currently down. As soon as we can, we will add the reference number. Best wishes, Dan

    By Dan Whelan

So much potential but in the worst hands possible 🙁

By Anonymous

Such a shame that these boxes are the extent of Peel’s ambition for this site. Pomona has the potential to be a unique, one of a kind neighbourhood. I hope Trafford push back and also that Peel raise their game for the next plots. Hard to believe that the same people behind the quality MediaCityUK plaza are churning out this kind of stuff. Try harder.

By Disappointing

This is really bad, can’t believe Trafford Council will sign this off. If you look at the adjacent schemes, VOX or Trilogy or X1 or Botanica, surely they can get some form of inspiration for a better scheme. It’s about time Peel let others take this site forward.

By John W

How about making this a through route again rather than gating it off?

By Levelling Up Manager

I love the visualisation of the people cycling abreast along the Bridgewater Canal towpath. The towpath there is about 1.5 metres wide. Not 4 metres as suggested by Peel. And people don’t tend to cycle there anyway, because it’s lonely, secluded, insecure and with very few access points. Women certainly won’t feel safe cycling there.

By Flixton resident

Wow . Most comments are definitely that it needs improving. Unusual to get such an overwhelming majority saying the same thing. Well done everyone.

By Anonymous

Does EVERY unit have outside space (balcony)? This is such a vital feature for quality of life. Proximity to outside areas and water is no substitute. Please can internal facades that face each other be a pale/light/bright colour. Again, use of a dark material kills light and quality of life in facing units.

By Vinning

Why do the facades facing the water not have full length balconies like the front of NV? Improve this design. Optimise the opportunity here. No more slums-of-the-future please.

By M50 Manc

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