Work begins on £12.8m affordable homes scheme providing 68 properties

Start of construction marked at Downley Drive

Work has started on a £12.8m flagship housing programme in New Islington, Manchester.

Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council executive member for housing and development, joined Great Places Housing Group officials to mark the milestone at the Downley Drive site which will be transformed into 68 affordable homes.

The development will comprise 23 two- and three-bedroom houses available for shared ownership, and 45 one- and two-bedroom apartments available for social rent.

The site was acquired from Manchester City Council and is part-funded by Homes England through Great Places’ latest Homes England Strategic Partnership.

Working with contractors Rowlinson Constructions, the development looks to combine high quality design with low carbon sustainability.

Key features include air source heat pumps, enhanced insulation, mechanical heat recovery and a solar panel array on the apartments. The development will also include parking with electric vehicle charging points and cycle stores.

The development is the second key project in the latest coordinated phase by Great Places, Manchester City Council and Manchester Life to deliver more than 400 new homes for a broad range of housing needs.

This phase is a continuation of coordinated regeneration and development across the neighbourhood over the past 20 years. The programme has seen New Islington and Ancoats transform into an attractive and vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood.

Matthew Harrison, chief executive at Great Places, said: “We’ve been involved as a key regeneration partner in the New Islington and Ancoats area from the early days at the start of the 21st century. This project marks the next phase of our ongoing partnership work with Manchester City Council, to build much needed affordable new homes in the heart of what is a thriving community close to Manchester city centre.”

Cllr White said: “Great Places’ commitment to delivering affordable homes around the city centre has been hugely welcome.

“This development, on former council land, alongside the iconic Ancoats Dispensary nearby are brilliant examples of our housing partners meeting the need for high quality, low carbon, affordable homes that Manchester people can access, while continuing the long term regeneration story of this part of the city centre.”

The first shared ownership homes are due to be completed from autumn 2023. Shared ownership sales will be handled by shared ownership specialists, Plumlife Sales.