It would eventually create a 6,000 home neighbourhood… as planners say the area is not ‘appropriate’ for affordable homes
Plans for three more apartment blocks of up to 32 storeys are to go before councillors next week as a cluster of skyscrapers around the city centre’s southern gateway takes shape.
More than 400 homes are earmarked for land on Great Jackson Street, behind the vast towers already under construction on Owen Street.
Planners say the area is not ‘appropriate’ for affordable homes but believe developer DeTrafford should provide cash for cheaper housing to be built elsewhere in the city, although only if such a move is considered financially ‘viable’.
DeTrafford want to build blocks of 18, 26 and 32 storeys as council-led plans for the area – which would eventually create a new 6,000-home neighbourhood between Knott Mill and the Mancunian Way – get going.
It plans 50 retirement flats within the lower levels of the buildings, as well as 15 townhouses.
Nearly 100 car parking spaces and almost 400 cycle spaces would be included.
The new homes would be built on the former Olympia trading estate, where a four-storey building, which includes a car wash, would be demolished to make way for the scheme.
According to the report going before planners next Thursday, only two objections have been received – one arguing that the council’s own regeneration masterplan for the area, approved last month, had stipulated buildings of no more than six storeys should go on the site.
Planning officials say it is ‘consistent’ with the framework, however, which suggests blocks of exactly the same height as those proposed by DeTrafford.
Concerns were also raised about a loss of sunlight as a result of the towers.
Manchester’s conservation panel noted that the blocks are ‘modest’ in scale compared to the huge skyscrapers of up to 64 storeys being built on Owen Street, although they raised fears that they could still create an unpleasant ‘canyon’ effect on the surrounding public space.
Recommending it for approval, planning officials argue the development ‘would add a positive element to the skyline and would be complementary to the emerging character of the area’, however, providing new public space linking to Owen Street and the river.
Effects on the daylight of neighbours would be ‘minor’ or ‘negligible’, they say, while acknowledging the impact would be slightly more for residents of nearby Hill Quays.
On the subject of affordable housing, an issue that has exercised the city’s planning committee increasingly over the last year, officials say in their report: “This is not a site where the provision of on-site affordable housing is considered to be appropriate but, subject to an assessment of viability, a financial contribution should be made for offsite provision, as well as for environmental and infrastructure improvement works within the area.”
Over the coming years council bosses foresee thousands of new homes in the former industrial area around Great Jackson Street.
That could include new skyscrapers that will eclipse those planned by DeTrafford, including blocks of up to 50 storeys along the border of the Mancunian Way.
Most of the neighbourhood is likely to be brought forward by developmnet giant Renaker, which owns most of the land.