The month in property | December

Forward motion

Cast your minds back to the sepia-tinted days of Nick Clegg, when Manchester was promised £4m of DCLG cash for creative and digital workspace, after lobbying from the digital community. Following a “proper process”, also known as “the council taking over”, the eventual upshot is that this month Allied London and Manchester Science Partnerships were each awarded £2m, for Enterprise City and Oxford House respectively. Bit of a fudge? Usual suspects? Maybe, but at least this will actually happen. We might cast a glance back towards Liverpool’s failed “Project EV” at Albert Dock at this point.

Jodrell BankEastern promise

Hallelujah! Planning inspector Stephen Pratt has effectively given Cheshire East Council the green light to progress its Local Plan and bring it into force. The inquiry originally began in August 2014. HOW Planning’s Gary Halman showed himself a master of understatement in saying the council will be “mightily relieved” with the news. Aren’t we all, Gary. It’s all going swimmingly for Cheshire East in planning terms recently; it even gained support from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid in stopping 119 Gladman homes in Goostrey this month. Who put that massive telescope there, anyway?

Corridor of uncertainty

Liverpool has niftily secured itself £3.4m to develop “green corridors” around the city, as part of URBAN GreenUP, one of those funky multi-city Euro-projects, which in this case also involves Valladolid in Spain and Izmir in Turkey. You’d hope there will be plenty of those “knowledge-sharing” and “best practice” junkets that wind people up. Locations under consideration for greening include the Baltic Corridor – didn’t that used to be a Triangle? – the Business Improvement District, and the Jericho Lane/Otterspool area. It’s going to include “green wall” vertical gardens, which seem to appear in more submissions than they do actual cities. Make it happen, Liverpool.

Housing The Powerhouse LetterThe open era

Things seem to be getting a little more fractious in Manchester property. Cue an open letter, and it’s always hard not to roll one’s eyes at such a thing, from the ‘Housing the Powerhouse’ housebuilders group. The letter called on leadership to show greater ambition in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, increasing the number of – and this will shock you – houses. With developers now taking to Twitter to slag off each other’s schemes, is the fabled Manchester Family breaking up? Probably just a bit of mature debate, but there might be some smoothing-over work for new chief executive Joanne Roney to do when she joins the city council next year.

The Jo show

Speaking of Manchester’s soon-to-be new woman at the top – that was a bit of a surprise, wasn’t it? The word is that some senior figures were keen for Wigan chief executive Donna Hall to get the gig, but she wasn’t for leaving Wigan, a borough not without its charms, it has to be said. With other big senior moves rumoured to be in the works, 2017 looks like a changing of the guard, and the mayoral election may even hold some surprises. Just remember not to listen to any pollsters.

Charter WalkRetail is detail

Burnley knows its market. Some musical chairs – or musical retail units – this month in the Lancashire town, where a tidy 40,000 sq ft letting to Primark at Addington Capital’s Charter Walk shopping centre has been agreed. It will be next to Next, if you will, in space currently occupied by Wilko, which is off to 24 The Mall on a 10-year lease, a deal made possible by Poundland upping sticks to consolidate into its other unit in Market Square. Phew. You’ll not find Burnley hung out to dry by some poncey department store, unlike some.

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