PLANNING | High Street and Central Retail Park gain approval

Controversial schemes in central Manchester at 20-36 High Street and Central Retail Park both secured approval at yesterday’s planning committee, despite vocal challenges from the gallery and councillors.


20-36 High Street

CEG High Street CGI 4

Number of apartments: 361

Number of storeys: 22

Retail and leisure space: 12,000 sq ft

Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley

Planner: Deloitte

Developer: CEG

CEG’s High Street scheme adjacent to the Arndale shopping centre was on the agenda for the fourth time after a series of deferrals.

There was vehement opposition from Cllr Adele Douglass and Sam Wheeler, who called the proposal in the Shudehill conservation area “a disgrace”, that the loss of Manchester institution Café Metro would harm visitors to the city, and said that the proposed “height, size, location, and heritage of the scheme is wrong” for this part of the city.

Despite this, and other objections raised before the committee, the scheme was approved seven to two.

According to Dave Roscoe, Manchester City Council’s planning development manager, the provision of affordable housing would have been impacted by altering the scheme’s height or other characteristics. However, an addendum was brought forward by the planning committee for the head of planning to attempt to retain the art deco façade of part of the building which houses Café Metro as best they could.

The popular market stalls which sit beneath the site are to be relocated closer to the NCP Car Park facing Afflecks.

Former Central Retail Park

Central Retail Park Aerial

Developer: Manchester City Council

Planner: Paul Butler Associates

After hearing from representatives of the adjacent New Islington Free School and the agent, and intense scrutiny, the proposals to use the space at the former Central Retail Park as a car park for two years were approved much to the distress of members of the public.

The council’s proposals for the car park comes to generate revenue on the plot. Committee members called for a condition on the pricing of the car park to still encourage people to use more sustainable modes of transport.

Opposition to the scheme was based in the claims that it would increase pollution to a dangerous level for the school, that it would encourage more people to drive into the city in an already congested area, and that during match days at the nearby Etihad football stadium, it would make the area incredibly busy.

Cllr Jon-Connor Lyons said that the Council’s claims that the scheme wouldn’t increase air pollution due to the fact it was previously used as a car park, were “a load of rubbish” as its use would be “completely different to previous.” The car park attached to the retail park was restricted to two hours and ticketed, whereas the 24 hour car park proposed in a now developed area would be in constant use.

Cllr Paul Andrews said: “We need housing not car parks, so I want to put on record that in two years’ time if not earlier, the scheme should be affordable, and if possible, social housing.”

Cllr Lovecy also said that she was “disappointed that we aren’t realising our ambitions for the site.”

Cllr John Flanagan noted the irony that Manchester City Council had “passed the climate emergency motion” before agreeing with Cllr Andrews’ point about the site becoming affordable or social housing in two years.

Blackfriars House

Developer: Bruntwood

Architect: MgMa Studio

Scheme: Creation of cafe and roof garden

To round out the debate-filled planning committee, the proposal for the creation of a café and roof garden at Blackfriars House off Parsonage Gardens was approved unanimously.

Objections were raised from Cllr William Jeavons as the proposals could increase congestion “on an already congested street” but otherwise appreciated the improvements that Bruntwood had made to its proposals and commended the firm’s ability to listen to the local residents.

The ground floor will have a café, run by the same operator as the restaurant, and a lounge, event space and co-working areas.

Your Comments

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Good news about High Street, this will be transformational.

By Dan

About time! Really hope High Street manages to retain the quality of it’s design and not get value engineered to death!

By Anonymous

Common sense, finally, wins on High Street – Lets hope it becomes a reality, it will change this area of the city for the better in every single aspect.

By daveboi

Actually looking at High Street – how on earth are they going to retain the Metro Cafe facade without a sizable redesign?! What an absolute joke.

By daveboi

Ha ha! As if anyone listens to Councillors. What a waste of money they are. I don’t think they made a single logical point between them.

All worthwhile applications, all approved as they should have been.


Councillors really need to butt out of matters such as this sometimes. They really don’t have a clue about the bigger picture…”Cllr Adele Douglass and Sam Wheeler, who called the proposal in the Shudehill conservation area “a disgrace”, that the loss of Manchester institution Café Metro would harm visitors to the city, and said that the proposed “height, size, location, and heritage of the scheme is wrong” for this part of the city” What an absolute load of bull***t! Cafe Metro the cafe institution!!?? Since when? An overpriced, out dated crap cafe that should have gone years ago…the height and size of the development is also lower than the neighbouring Church Street apartments and the design fits in beautifully at it’s location. Beggars belief, that elected Councillors can spout such utter tripe! Thankfully common sense prevailed.

By Steve

Turn Central Retail Park into a community public park leading to the canal.
Oops! I forgot what the real purpose of a place is — to earn money!

By James Hayes

Agree with James Hayes. What a wasted opportunity MCC. Another dreary block of flats awaits. The irony is they are planting trees all along Great Ancoats Street. The lovely avenue leading to a litter strewn car park.

By Elephant

Great news about High Street, from what I have heard the Labour Councillors were an embarrassment. Any one living in the Piccadilly ward should have this in mind when deciding who to vote for next time. They only won by a few hundred votes last time.

By Bob

What a fantastic park that could have been.

By L

Why would anyone want to use a park that is right next to a noisy ring road? How lovely! Let’s all bask in the sun and breath in some exhaust fumes! Islington Marina is already in place and is sufficient space for people to use. If you want a big park for your kids to run around in, either move next to one or go to Heaton Park or Philip’s Park, which is exactly what the residents with families living in Ancoats/Miles Platting have done for generations! Why are we pandering to nimby hipsters (who have moved to Ancoats because they can’t afford to live in London) moaning because they don’t have Hyde Park on their door step.

The new development will also include pocket parks as well i’m sure….also, flats are not going in here I believe. The Council have changed their minds and said that it will be mainly office blocks/start ups

By Steve

Excellent news about High Street, this has been crying for development for years and surely being right in the middle of the city centre is most suitable for tall buildings (although its not that tall compared to other proposals and developments). The only disgrace here is Cllr Adele Douglass and Sam Wheeler, who seem to just oppose anything if a few local nimbies take a dislike and do not take a considered view. Neither I understand live in the area and both have at least 45% absent rates form the meetings they ought to have attended (Cllr Douglass only sending apologies to 17% of them) We need better considered councillors who actually work for their allowances.

By Dan

I see Roscoe has played the merry tune he was asked to re High Street. Depends who is the conductor is guess…………..

By Davey Mc

Can we expect to see Sir Howard on the Board at CEG in the coming weeks?

By Brass

Agree with Cllr Terminator Lyons about the utterly archaic thinking behind the air quality assessment baselines for the GAS car park. Data shows NO2 above legal limits along GAS. This has dipped since Central Retail Park closed (albeit still above legal limits), showing the improvement without the incentive to drive there – and yet an application that will worsen NO2 levels back to the levels prior to its closure is deemed appropriate?! Big questions for Redmore Environmental’s judgement on that.

By Active Travel Trev

Wish High Street was taller, should be 100m

By Bob

Not being funny but Manchester City Centre is crap for parks we should grab every opportunity we can.
I’ve lived in Manchester my whole life and no I’m not a hipster. I just want to enjoy the city as much as possible during the summer.
Other than that I’m all for a mass of new developments.
We’re capable of having both… why would you NOT want a new park? Do you actually work or live in the city?

By Snoop Dogg

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