Planning green light for 277-home conversion of Brunswick Mill

Plans for the restored mill and mid-building
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Planning has been granted for a former Manchester mill conversion that will create 277 homes, across three buildings, despite an objection about the lack of provision of social housing within the scheme.

Today’s (September 23) Manchester City Council planning committee approved the application from Maryland Securities for refurbishment, removal/demolition, repair and reconfiguration of Brunswick Mill, on Bradford Road, to create work spaces, retail and community uses on the ground floor and the creation of 153 residential apartments with the upper floors.

This involves the erection of a part six- and part eight-storey building to form 100 residential apartments and a five-storey building to form 24 residential apartments, with car parking, roof top amenity space, access and servicing, landscaping, pedestrian access to the Ashton Canal and other associated works.

All 277 homes would be available for open market sale.

However, Cllr Marcia Ann Hutchinson told the committee: “A development of this size should not go ahead without any affordable housing. I would like to see this application refused to enable us to be given more from this development.”

Planning officer, Dave Roscoe responded, saying there will be an opportunity in the future to claim an affordable housing contribution from the developers, if property values increase: He said: “There will be a revaluation of the scheme at an agreed point in time. If, at that time, values have increased more than profits, there will be a claw-back mechanism for the council to secure a contribution to affordable housing.”

Speaking in support of the application, Cllr Joan Davies said; “The whole site urgently needs development. The mill, itself, is in a very poor state.

“We routinely ask for affordable housing when looking at big developments, but in some cases, the contribution is saving from dereliction some of these really important buildings.”

Dave Roscoe agreed, saying: “We have lost far too many mill buildings in the Ancoats area. Of those that remain, this is probably the most splendid.”

It is estimated that 152 direct jobs would be created during construction, with Manchester residents prioritised for employment opportunities, with a further 224 off site jobs created through the supply chain.

These equate to £24.2m per year for the duration of the development. Also, 156 jobs would be created in the workspaces and commercial floorspace, with an annual GVA of £5.8m per year.

The site includes a listed building, but developers say the new buildings would seek to replicate the regular form and masonry elements of the listed building.

The planning officer’s report said objections had been received which express concern about the scale and height of the new buildings within the setting of the listed building, together with the loss of accommodation for local businesses, lack of affordable housing, impacts associated with construction work and loss of light to low rise residential properties on the opposite side of Bradford Road.

But the report said the site is in an important regeneration area where change and development is expected to take place in line with council regeneration frameworks.

It said careful consideration has been given to the impact of the development on the local area, including residential properties, business, schools and recreational areas, “and it has been demonstrated that there would be no unduly harmful impacts on noise, traffic generation, air quality, water management, contamination or loss of daylight and sunlight”.

It added: “Where harm does arise, it can be appropriately mitigated, and would not amount to a reason to refuse this planning application.”

It acknowledged that the scheme would amount to “less than substantial harm” to the listed building but said this is significantly outweighed by the substantial public benefits which would be delivered as a consequence of the development.”

The application was approved by six votes in favour, one against, and two abstentions.