Manchester skyline from Withington, c PNW

The Roscoes have seen Manchester's skyline change dramatically during their time in post. Credit: PNW

Roscoes take first step towards Manchester planning exit

Julie and Dave Roscoe, the city council’s director and deputy director of planning respectively, will be working reduced hours from April as part of a phased succession plan.

“Julie and Dave Roscoe will be moving to a reduced hours plan – working around four days a week – from the 1 April, as part of a phased succession plan,” said Manchester City Council chief executive Joanne Roney.

“This is a long-standing approach, which includes strengthening the current management team, and ensures that the planning authority has leadership cover now and into the future.”

Having joined Manchester City Council’s planning team in the mid-1970s, the husband and wife duo have been mainstays in the city’s regeneration story over the last five decades.

They have presided over one of the country’s busiest planning teams and facilitated the redevelopment of large swathes of the city including Hulme, Eastlands, and New Jackson.

Roney added: “They will continue to have a major presence as part of the planning function and development approach in Manchester for the foreseeable future.”

During their time in charge, Manchester has witnessed a development boom and had its skyline transformed as developers including Renaker and Manchester Life made their mark on different parts of the city.

Manchester’s pro-development approach has not always been popular. The city council has come in for criticism in recent years for its record on delivering affordable homes in the city centre and for having so-called favourite consultants, something Dave Roscoe has refuted on more than one occasion.


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To be honest, probably about 15 years overdue. Hopefully a fresh approach for the planning department.

By js1000

I’ve never met a more astute or commercially-aware planning leader than we have in Dave, and the success of Manchester has much to do with the pragmatic approach to development that he fosters. You know where you are with Dave, and once you get support (after jumping through ever challenging hoops), it’s unwavering. The city council’s focus on quality developments and what the City has achieved, under Dave and Julie’s leadership, is outstanding. They’ve showed this approach, less policy-driven, more realism-driven, really works. I wish all authorities were the same!

By Anonymous

is that 4 days between them?

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous. No, it is four days each. Thanks

    By Dan Whelan

Nice to see that the 1970’s are still alive and kicking at MCC.

By Anonymous

Really, a new refreshed approach to this department is needed sooner rather than later. MCC seemingly on the road to a much better place and the time is right for new faces to join the leadership team enabling a broader perspective on the City’s growth and landscape.

By Dan H

The success of The Northern Quarter and Ancoats owes a lot to Dave Richard Lees and Sir Howard B s total professional approach that they have taken in the last 25 years and the encouragement they have given to private investors to invest in the areas
The areas have been transformed from little more than run down slums to one of the most popular in The North West catering for locals and visitors alike
They have encouraged private enterprise to work in tandem with a forward thinking Labour Council despite outcrys from a woke element living as far as Hull who have never visited our City Centre but still believe all ramshackled buildings with no historical or heritage value should remain intact and empty ! !

By Fraser

Known them both since they were new Planners, and they’ve amassed huge experience and knowledge of the city. All the best to them in this transition period, Manchester has gone from strength to strength with their guidance.

By Dave Challis

Great dynamic servants to our City. Wish you both all the best.

By Richard

Well said Fraser.

By Anonymous

Well deserved wind down and thanks for helping put Manchester on the map along with the other big beasts of MCC…Hope the future talent is as far-sighted

By Anon

Let’s be honest – moving to a compressed week is not really a succession plan. They will still be the bosses and call the shots when they’re back in the next day. The Roscoes have achieved a lot (e.g. Ancoats) but their approach is now quite stale and a fresh team is desperately needed. For example, the over-concentration of student accommodation in the city centre is leading to areas that should be prime real estate being focused on selling takeaway food 20 weeks a year, and then dead zones for 30 weeks. We need a vibrant and diverse city centre, not one that is a ghost town half the year.

By Mancunian

As someone who has worked across the UK, the pro-growth attitude of Manchester City Council’s planning department, led by the Roscoes, stands out as an exception rather than the norm. I’ve collaborated with Dave on numerous occasions and he has consistently provided clear and often concise (some may call it blunt😅) strategic advice and guidance. He’s always supported strategically important and/or high-quality schemes that benefit the city centre and Greater Manchester alike. If your experience has been different, it might be worthwhile to review the quality of your scheme, your consultant team, and/or your funder. Manchester doesn’t need evolution; rather, it requires a thoughtful succession plan to build on its existing strengths, which are vastly superior to most LPAs in the UK.

By Anonymous

Don’t want to disappoint js1000 and Dan h too much but the article says the duo will be around for the foreseeable future

By Payattention

Love how the brave people on this chat don’t identify themselves. Come on let’s here about what you have done js1000 and Dan H

By Mike Dawson

Long overdue as we desperately need some fresh blood who will focus more on quality rather than just quantity.

By Johnny

I feel for the new incumbents when they get into post – Julie and Dave are a tough double act to follow.

By Mancunian

Success of the Northern Quarter? Half of it is still derelict!

By Josh Burns

They interviewed me for a job when I was fresh out of uni 25 years ago – didn’t get it & never forgiven them! No doubt they have been a force for good for the city though (even without my skills) . The scale of change over their time at the City, most of it significantly for the better, is very impressive.


Ancoats a success with it’s mish mash of architectural designs. NQ still has surface car parks and derelict buildings it’s a long way from looking like SOHO or Brixton.

By Anonymous

A lot has undoubtedly been achieved in their tenure and they should get due credit for that. However, the very wide perception of a tilted balance (in favour of preferred developers, architects and consultants)…

Lots of Councils have preferred providers to deliver their own services, the contention was that it carried across to the delivery of private sector investment.

By Anon

Josh burns either has a very short memory, is very young, is New to manchester or his glass is always half empty. The northern quarter is truly astonishing compared to 25 years ago. Get online and look at a few photos of the dereliction in that area. More ignorance I’m afraid

By History lesson

Don’t know what Johnny’s definition of quality is but I suggest that he visits manchester and then visits other regional cities to understand just how good the quality is in the city. Most parts of London don’t get anywhere near it. Of course we would all love a shard but you can’t build them off manchester rents and values

By Quality assurance

For me one comment stands out a long way above the rest. Sir RL and Sir HB will, for me, always be the catalyst that brough in the investment with the foresight that no one else seemed to have. Yes, there’s a long way to go but I don’t think the current incumbents should hang around for too long, bring in the best with more up to date thinking and start the ball rolling again.

By Future D

Just trying to process that Mancunian comment about over building student accommodation in the core. Ithought that’s what MCC had tried to throttle not accelerate, and in the process created a demand squeeze that they are now trying to dig themselves out of. Also thoughtful about the harsh comments on the development of NQ. Yes, it’s scruffy, but the city has tried to grow it while maintaining its essential character, while letting other areas expand quickly. Just look down the road in Birmingham, and they are scrambling to strike that balance as development finally kicks in.

By Rich X

NQ was considered a no-go zone around the 80s.
In recent years, it’s been labelled one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the world, numerous times.
Whilst there a still lots of room for improvement, you’d struggle to find a more suitable poster child for urban regeneration. Then again, trolls will try hard. Sad really.

By Anonymous

Could the highways team be next? Would be good to see the public realm and active travel successes in Salford and Trafford reflected in Manchester.

By All change

The NQ was never a no go zone, it’s worse now with all the drinking, Friday and Saturday nights are dangerous

By Anonymous

Roscoe broke the mould for planning by focusing on what it actually delivered not just what the local plan said etc. Whatever others achieved, if you can’t get thingd through the planning system nothing ever happens as we see everywhere else in the country. That’s down to the Roscoes in Manchester and we should value it

By Westwood.

Future D – well said.

By Anonymous

Glass half full or rather glass knocked over is a default for some people regardless of what’s on offer. NQ needs improvement obviously but anyone who still remembers having a glass and what this place was like 25 plus years ago will be incredulous at the changes. Just need to keep improving.

By Anonymous

The lack of affordable housing speaks for itself and as for his favourite consultants, that’s well known and hardly a secret.

By not a favourite consultant

How many favourites is one person allowed? Simpson Groom Hawkins Brown. MAatthews, Glen Howell 5 plus, EPR, 5 Plus Buttress, Egret West Hodder……..anyone else

By Favourite

Did you know, no of course you didn’t because you can’t be bothered to make the effort to find out or more likely probably don’t like the answer that 2000 genuinely affordable homes have been built in Manchester over the past 4 years which would be about 20% of all housing completions in that period which funnily enough happens to meet planning policy targets. But oh no its not in the city centre I hear you say………but let’s not allow the facts to get in the way of the usual moaners whingers key board warriors and all the other anti Manchester bores who spout up on this site. Can’t wait for the response to this!!!

By Research Research Research

Don’t forget Denton Corker Marshall, Michael squire, Sheppard Robson and Bennetts wwhich makes 15……looks like too many favourites to me…….so are there in truth favourites or just good and bad architects.

By Anonymous

If research research etc is correct, and you all have the chance to prove them wrong, it should squash the affordable housing negatively on here…….l won’t hold my breath though

By Defiant

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