Pomona Wharf reaches practical completion

Rowlinson Construction has completed its 164-apartment build-to-rent scheme on Pomona Island in Manchester.

The 95,600 sq ft scheme has been delivered through a joint funding arrangement by the Greater Manchester Housing Fund and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

Nicol Thomas designed the two blocks – 10 and 11 storeys high – which have been built between Hulme Hall Road and the Manchester Ship and Bridgewater canals to the east of Pomona Island.

There are 80 one-bed, 63 two-bed and 21 three-bed apartments.

The development was initially proposed in partnership with landowner Peel, which then sold the scheme to Rowlinson once approval was achieved. The project was then sold to Vista, a fund set up by Hermes Investment Management and Countrywide, in 2016, prior to its completion.

The buildings have been controversial since they were first proposed, with objections over the use of the green scrubland for the development, and fierce criticism of the design.

Cllr Kieran Quinn, chairman of GMPF, said: “The Greater Manchester Pension Fund has a long track record of making investments that not only secure our members pensions, but also deliver on broader social and economic needs such as housing and infrastructure.

“This scheme at Pomona Wharf – on the iconic Pomona Island in Manchester – is just another example of that twin-track approach of doing well for members while doing good for communities.

“It’s great that by working together in partnership we have been able to help deliver much needed homes in Greater Manchester and a good return for our members.”

GVA represents GMPF and manages its investment in the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund.

GVA’s Gareth Conroy said: “This project is a great example of what can be achieved when the public sector and the private sector collaborate.

“This is the start of the regeneration of Pomona Island and has given what was a forgotten and neglected part of the city, a new lease of life. It is also providing quality purpose built apartments to meet the expanding city centre population.”

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This is the most hideous example of architecture I have possibly ever seen built in Manchester! Peel Holdings and Nicol Thomas should be ashamed. They look like they have been teleported from Benidorm and plonked in Manchester. Every time I go past on the tram I shudder. Absolute trash!!

By Steve

What a horrific design.


Can we demolish them now!

By jrb

When does demolition start?

By Anonymous

Why the hell would you put balconies on the side which will eventually face another block of flats and not the canal side?! It is really unbelievable how bad the design of this building is, on such a prominent and historical site

By Steve

Love the 1996 look. Just what Manchester is after.

By Steve a

As one of the first schemes in Pomona, this is dire. Easily one of the ugliest schemes in Manchester on such a prominent spot. Looks like Eastern bloc and terrible example of prefabrication.

By Shame

These are butt ugly and should never have been built.

By Anon

shocking these got built. ruin my commute daily on the tram having to look at them!

By Really?

Quite simply the cheapest and nastiest flats around.
Developer, planners and funders should be equally mortally embarrassed.

By Heir to the throne

“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when the public sector and the private sector collaborate”
Gareth Conroy, you’re having a laugh aren’t you?

By Emperor's new clothes

You buy cheap,you buy twice.

By Elephant


By Anonymous

What a tragedy.

By O

The scary thing is this sets a precedent for all future development of Pomona Island. Truly the worst building to go up in my 12 years of working in Manchester.

By Martin

They totally destroy the ambience of the beautiful railway viaduct and bridge.

By Rosie York

If a building ruins your commute you’re not working hard enough :’)

I like that they look rubbish – means people know about them in a market full of the same type of buildings anyway!

By The Old Faithful

Vile buildings. Well done Peel.

By Vile

Can imagine the architect (or surveyor, by the looks of it) who designed these wakes up in cold sweats every weeknight.

By Town Planner

I’m actually a fan of the beige, rather like them.

By Jason Faversham

so when do urban splash or capital&centric start the trendy refurbishment of these monstrosities then?

By Clare Sanders

The only thing you need to know about Pomona is that the scheme has proven to be highly profitable for GMPF. Great for pensioners, less so for everyone else.

Of all the housing projects GMPF and GMCA could’ve chosen to invest in and they chose this one. Bad architecture and urban design doesn’t create social and economic value, it destroys it; their investment criteria need to be seriously tightened up to prevent this sort of thing happening again.

By Disappointed

Pathetic development. This is so bad it actually hurts. If they weren’t recently constructed we would be talking about demolishing them to open up the rest of Pomona. Even the very limited public realm is cheap and oppressive.

By Tony Hayers

A prime candidate for the Carbuncle Cup, possibly the ugliest building on the planet. Whoever approved this should be ashamed.

By Dan

One could argue that design is subjective and that sometimes it is just not to one’s tastes… But not in this case – these buildings are objectively sh**e, and everybody knows it! Can’t wait to see the shade of sh*t they turn into once Manchester’s world-famous weather has been unleashed on it.

I get that we need to build more apartments, but is this honestly the best that we as a city can do? Depressing. Everyone involved with the scheme should be ashamed.

By A Planning Student

Urban Splash and Capital &Centric will start the trendy refurbishment of these units when someone in the public sector is willing to pump a load of free public subsidy into it. Whilst they don’t look great lets not get carried away holding those two companies up as examples of models to follow – they may have great branding but aren’t the pioneers people seem to think they are.

By Bday

Peel all over. A disgrace.

By Tom

Dear. God.

By James

The worst scheme in manchester

By Cheggers


By Will

Grimmest of the grim

By sad

I think it’s a fantastic allegory of the state of manchester right now, beautiful in form and metaphorically what we need right now.

By Not Peel

Horrid..Hate it..Trafford should be ashamed of themselves..They are shown UP by other local authorities in Greater Manchester which DO have ambition…

By Schwyz

Really horrible development and everyone involved should be ashamed. So far off the mark of what could have been done which surely would have added credance to everyone involved? In fact, it’s an example of what NOT to do. Hopefully lessons will be learnt.


town Planner, im offended on behalf of all surveyors, even we who dont work with CAD could do a better job with our old school pencil case and some scrap paper.

By QuaysMan

Only a rich man can afford cheap shoes …


GVA’s Gareth Conroy said: “This project is a great example of what can be achieved when the public sector and the private sector collaborate.


By Matt

The planning system is a joke. Thousands of pages of reports, consultants running around, Council officers, members and this is the sum of their parts.


No, NC, the planning system has largely been co-opted by the development industry. A legal challenge to refusal on design grounds would probably succeed. Where the planners have failed is in not working effectively to improve the design pre-application. The other issue is the revolving door for senior planning staff between local authorities and consultants & developers. It’s hardly surprising that this gained public funding when you have a senior housing officer at GMCA moving to a similar position at Rowlinson.

By Disappointed

Absolutely disgraceful and embarrassing development. Utter horror show.

By .

love the design, great work

By SalfordLad

Breathtakingly ugly. Undermines my faith in the future of the city. I keep waiting for us to go for high quality architecture but the various councils and developers seem determined to stick to the average. Even so, these are shocking. Everyone involved should be ashamed.

By Matthew Sutcliffe

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