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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Joseph Timan

Ten major planning decisions made in Manchester this week

Major decisions on developments in Manchester have been made by the planning committee today (February 16). The meeting which lasted more than three and a half hours saw councillors debate some controversial proposals.

Among the plans approved were the huge redevelopment of an historic city centre landmark, an eco-friendly office in Didsbury and emergency homeless accommodation in Ardwick. However, plans to bring student accommodation back into use and a proposal to build retirement apartments were rejected.

Some of the most controversial decisions - including plans for a new Lidl in Chorlton - were deferred after the committee asked for more information. Here are all of the decisions made by the planning committee at the meeting.

READ MORE: Affordable homes to be built in north Manchester as council sells land

Great Northern Warehouse - Approved

Plans for new residential towers at the Great Northern Warehouse (Peterson)

The £294m redevelopment of the Great Northern Warehouse will see the former AMC cinema scrapped, nearly 750 flats built and new office space created. The Grade-II listed building has been redesigned to 'reflect the demands of the post-pandemic world' in a scheme described as 'genuinely transformative'.

The 1990s retail extension which is currently home to the Odeon cinema will be demolished to make way for 746 apartments across three new buildings peaking at 34 storeys. Concerns were raised about the height of the towers while Lib Dem councillor John Leech argued that developer Trilogy - which is set to make more than £30m in profit from the project which features no affordable hosuing - should pay for some affordable housing elsewhere.

But the rest of the planning committee voted in favour of the proposal after town hall bosses confirmed that the developer would have to contribute towards affordable housing in the city if profits exceed expectations. Work on the huge regeneration project is expected to start next year and will be completed in three phases with the final stage to be finished by 2029.

St Gabriel's Hall - Rejected

Plans to redevelop St Gabriels Hall (McLaren Property Ltd & The Sisters of the Cross & Passion)

Councillors knocked back plans to redevelop former student accommodation at St Gabriel's Hall after concerns were raised about a lack of disabled parking. The former student halls at Oxford Place established in 1920 which are now empty would be refurbished with new blocks built to create 319 beds in total.

Together with Woodthorpe Hall, this St Gabriel's would be refurbished, while St David's Hall would be demolished as part of the redevelopment. The two new blocks on either side of the site would be five storeys in height at their tallest.

However, Labour councillor John Flanagan said the committee should 'send a clear message' that only offering two accessible parkng spaces on the site is not acceptable. The committee was 'minded to refuse' which means council officers will now have to work with the developer to address these concerns.

Emergency accommodation in Ardwick - Approved

Upper Brook Street where short-stay emergency accommodation for homeless families is planned (Manchester City Council)

Plans to turn a former hostel in Ardwick into short stay emergency housing for homeless families were approved. The property in Upper Brook Street would provide nine en-suite bedrooms for families, housing up to 27 people in total.

A letter of objection with 15 signatures has been received raising concerns that, without appropriate support for its residents, the scheme would add to existing issues of drug use and anti-social behaviour in the area. Speaking in support of the application, planning agent Katie Delaney said that property has been used as a hostel housing homeless people since 1983 and similar types of accommodation are already being run by the same organisation nearby.

She explained that the bed spaces would be available exclusively available to the council. She said that objectors should be assured that the town hall's homelessness team has supported the proposal, as have planning officers.

Jessiefield retirement apartments in Didsbury - Rejected

Plans for retirement living apartments at Jessiefield in Spath Road (McCarthy and Stone / NPA Visuals)

Plans for a retirement living complex in Spath Road were rejected again, two years after a similar - but bigger - scheme was refused planning permission. Developers McCarthy and Stone redesigned the scheme after an appeal to overturn the council's decision in December 2020 was dismissed last March.

The latest plans would see 26 apartments created as opposed to the 34 previously proposed. However, local residents and councillors said the proposal would still be an 'overdevelopment' of the site known as Jessiefield.

Tim Fell told the planning committee that the development would overlook his home – including his garden which is a 'sanctuary' for his wife who is unwell. The planning committee rejected the application after raising concerns about parking, asking council officers to address this before bring the proposal back.

Ev0 at Didsbury Technology Park - Approved

The Ev0 development at Didsbury Technology Park (Bruntwood Works)

A new six-storey office block planned at the Siemens Campus in Didsbury was approved by the committee - almost unanimously. Dubbed Ev0, developer Bruntwood says the block would be UK's lowest carbon new build workspace with most of the energy it uses generated on the site off Princess Road.

Solar panels on the roof and the car park would act as a series of mini power plants while the remaining energy required would be sourced from a wind farm in Ayrshire which is owned by the developer. The façades have also been designed to avoid overheating on the sunny side while making the most of the sun's power on the other sides of the timber-framed building.

In total, 82,000 sq ft of office space is planned alongside a three-storey car park next to the Spire Hospital building. Now approved, the £31m project at Didsbury Techonology Park is expected to be complete by autumn 2024.

The Northern in Didsbury - Partly approved

The Northern in Palatine Road, Didsbury (Google)

The lawn tennis and squash club in Palatine Road submitted two applications for its planned makeover – but the committee only approved one of them. Overall, three of the existing grass courts would be replaced by all-weather courts while two padel courts would be created at the members-owned club.

Known simply as The Northern, the club has said the new courts are needed due to a recent rise in membership. According to a report by council officers who support the plan, the plans would provide an extra 282 hours of tennis court usage per week, allowing more coaching and school sessions to happen.

However, residents raised concerns about the noise created by the padel tennis courts and they were voiced by Labour councillor Debbie Hilal at the meeting. The committee approved the first application for three synthetic courts, but deferred its decision on the padel tennis courts asking for more information about the noise that would be created from this type of sport.

Lidl in Chorlton - Deferred

Plans for a Lidl in Mauldeth Road West, Chorlton (Lidl)

The committee also deferred its decision about a new Lidl in Chorlton. The new supermarket planned at a former office block on Mauldeth Road West would be a welcome addition to the area, according to local Labour councillors.

However, concerns were raised about road safety including by head teachers of two local schools who said the new supermarket would exacerbate existing issues. Local residents said the area has recently seen a series of road traffic accidents nearby including one which took place just yesterday afternoon.

Lib Dem councillor John Leech said he had 'zero faith' in the traffic modelling carried out by the council in the area. The committee decided to defer its decision to visit the site with a final vote expected to take place next month.

New homes on field in Chorlton - Approved

Plans for 65 houses on a former playing field behind Wilbraham Road (Anwyl)

Former playing fields off Wilbraham Road are set to be turned into 65 new houses - 13 of which would be affordable - after plans were approved. But neighbours of the unused plot have raised concerns about the development.

The pitch has also been used by Maine Road FC for training in the past, but it was last used in 2016, according to its owner, the Greater Manchester Youth Federation. Faced with an 'extremely challenging environment', the 125-year-old charity says it is looking to develop the land and reinvest in other areas.

Developer Anwyl Homes wants to build two, three and four bedroom houses on the site and has offered to pay for a new football pitch at Alexandra Park and a non-turf pitch would be created at South West Manchester Cricket Club. However, residents left the meeting frustrated by the decision to approve the plans, confronting their local councillors who spoke in support of the proposal.

Manley Park Play Centre - Approved

Community On Solid Ground in Manley Park (Google)

An extension of the Community on Solid Ground centre in Whalley Range has been approved before. But the plans were back in front of the committee once again after more amendments were made, this time to create a therapy room.

Planning permission was granted for extensions to the single-storey community centre in March 2021. It comes after previous applications to enlarge the play centre were approved in 2020 including indoor covered activity spaces and an activity hall for which work is already under way.

Another application was approved last October with plans for a further enlargement to the existing building and a new front entrance. The latest application to enlarge the building further was approved by the committee.

Home extensions in Moss Side and Didsbury - Approved

24 Victory Street in Moss Side (Manchester City Council)

Two applications to extend family homes in Moss Side and Disbury were also approved by the committee despite objections from residents and their representatives. Plans for an extension to a property in Craigmore Avenue was called in by a local councillor after four residents and a residents' association objected to the plans, describing the proposal as 'overdevelopment'.

Elsewhere, a single-storey extension to a property in Victory Street, Moss Side was also called in by a councillor who said it would overlook the neighbouring house. However, the planning committee approved both of the applications.

Read more of today's top stories here.


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