The month in property | July 2016
The B sharps
There was once a time when Bruntwood was seen as… safe. Middle of the road. All hail the new, trendy Bruntwood, then. Along with positive news that Citylabs is to be expanded to the tune of £60m, the developer showcased an outdoor Field Office at the RHS Tatton Flower Show. ‘Playful interpretation,’ work/life balance, you know the drill. Bruntwood also revealed that it has started doing Virtual Reality viewings, headsets and all, for its funky projects that these days come with snappy, East Berlin techno-scene names such as Neo, Union and Platform. Love it.
Having a mayor
The scrapping for the Labour nomination for Manchester mayor has moved up a notch, from back in May when Warrington-raised Andy Burnham was dismissed by many as a Scouse interloper, just days before Warringtonian Jesse “local lad done well” Lingard scored United’s Cup winner. Ahem. With a straight face, Greater Manchester Combined Authority this month claimed that communications referring to unelected incumbent Tony Lloyd as mayor rather than interim mayor is all about “increasing awareness of the mayoralty”. Burnham’s kicked off about ballot paper skulduggery, while other runner Ivan Lewis is keeping quiet, which is no fun at all.
The best laid plans
Great news for planning lawyers! It’s another round of Cheshire East housing hoop-la. The local authority has been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court for powers to block housebuilders, even when it can’t demonstrate five years’ housing supply. There’s the usual complaint about “developers riding roughshod” over local plans. The council actually approved some housing this month in central Macclesfield, with 450 homes planned on the King’s School site as it moves out of town. Plans for a watersports centre in Chelford were delayed though, the applicant’s crucial error possibly being the name Cheshire Lakes Community Interest Company. Community interest in Cheshire? Good one.
House of Cains
A Community Interest Company enjoying more success is Baltic Creative in Liverpool, which has tied up a ten-year deal for 45,000 sq ft with the owner of Cains Brewery Village (who you might recall, used to own the actual brewery) after securing £300,000 funding from the ERDF-assisted City Region Impact Fund – wise to get that one signed off. It’s called Northern Lights and will have log-burning mezzanine studios, so what’s not to like? Bilfinger GVA and Colliers International are still seeking a development partner for the wider £150m Cains scheme, so if you know anybody, give them a shout.
What’s the story, Tobermory?
Bizarrely named developer Tobermory Sarl is trying again, submitting a new framework proposal for Manchester’s Great Northern that includes reassurances on no reduction of open space – got that, residents? Most, if not all of what the developer is proposing for the wider scheme seems sensible at a destination that’s been thoroughly underwhelming throughout its modern incarnation. Should the council have been more rigorous with the original framework? Probably. Should the whole damn thing have been grasped years ago to expand Manchester Central into a properly international class conference venue? Well, yeah.