Manchester – the quarter city
With the news that Allied London has been given the go-ahead to start the first phase of its St John’s Quarter development, Manchester looks set to gain yet another ‘quarter’ in its remarkable growth story.
The development will be situated at the home of the former ITV studios, in Manchester’s city centre and is billed to be: “Manchester’s new neighbourhood for culture, enterprise and living.”
Allied London’s Chief Executive, Michael Ingall, has hailed the plans, citing Manchester’s reputation for excellence in enterprise, arts and culture, and saying the proposals will provide the platform for further “enterprise and activity.” The first phase of the proposal will bring the development of an event hotel, restaurants, bars, a rooftop pool, and other entertainment complexes such as a cinema and broadcast studios.
This news came straight after the announcement that property giant, The Peterson Group, is seeking to redevelop the Great Northern Warehouse into another quarter, filled with apartments, restaurants, offices and other retail and leisure facilities. The development is estimated to cost around £300m and is being pitched to be a similar style to the trendy ‘Soho Quarter’ in New York City.
There is a clear willingness to develop these so-called ‘quarters’ in Manchester. Like the hipster communities of New York and the assorted arrondissements of Paris, areas such as Spinningfields, the Northern Quarter, the Green Quarter, and St Michaels Quarter are becoming distinct, sustainable areas that can provide a mix of work, living and social arrangements for its inhabitants.
This is an innovative approach to inner-city development and could address many issues that relate to both spatial planning and more social-related issues such as community wellness. By providing employment provision amongst retail, leisure and residential properties, issues surrounding work-life balance become less problematic, making these areas (or ‘quarters’) far more attractive to potential residents and employers alike.
Whether this theme continues across Manchester remains to be seen. However, what is more interesting is whether this approach to inner-city development is adopted up by other Core Cities, resulting in it becoming an unintended signature of Northern Powerhouse development.
With the increase of neighbourhood plans across the country, it is becoming more important to fully engage with parish and town councils to ensure a smooth planning process.
In less than a week, the United States will have a new President and the most divisive election in recent history will have come to a close.
This morning, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet announced it would take its draft Local Plan to consultation for a six week period in September and October.