Plans submitted to transform historic Whalley Range property

Plans for the residents' garden

Property developer, Views, has submitted a planning application to Manchester City Council for its proposals to transform 136 Withington Road, Whalley Range, into 35 new homes.

Working with architects Ollier Smurthwaite, Views has developed the proposals which include a new-build extension that will wrap around the original late 19th century building. Influenced by the neighbouring Victorian villas, the new build design will feature their key characteristics including heritage red bricks, stone cills and bay windows.

The plans will create 13 one-bedroom apartments 18 two-bedroom apartments, and a mews terrace featuring two, two-bedroom and two, three-bedroom houses set around a shared residents’ lawn.

All ground floor apartments and the mews houses will have private terrace gardens.

Car and cycle parking is incorporated into the site, along with charging facilities. The mature trees will be retained and will be complemented with new planting to encourage biodiversity.

Patrick Sheridan, senior development manager, Views, said: “Our proposals for 136 Withington Road allow us to retain the historic original building and complement it with a contemporary extension which fully respects its neighbourhood.

“It will be a privilege for us to bring this much loved local landmark, which has sadly fallen into disrepair attracting anti-social behaviour, back to life to provide much needed new homes.”

Matt Ollier, Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, said: “The existing building pre-dates the Samuel Brooks masterplan of 1834. This site has a long and varied history and has undergone multiple alterations in that time. The essence of the original farmhouse and outbuilding is not lost in the site’s next new chapter.”

Last year Views held two public consultations, one at the site and a later one online, for the emerging proposals and the plans were well received.

The original building at 136 Withington Road was called Walton Cottage and was a private family home from 1887, then the British Red Cross used the building as an auxiliary hospital between 1914-16.

136 Withington Road

It is understood the British Red Cross owned the building up to 1971 when the Walton Cottage Education Trust purchased it, with funds provided by actress Vanessa Redgrave. It then became known as the Nello James Centre after C.L.R. James, a West Indian-born cultural historian, cricket writer and political activist and a leading figure in the Pan-African movement.

The centre closed approximately 10 years ago and fell into disrepair. In 2015 the local community campaigned to purchase the centre but were unsuccessful.

Views purchased the property from the Walton Cottage Education Trust in 2020. Walton Cottage Education Trust informed Views in May 2021, that it is using the proceeds from the sale of the property to re-establish a facility within Manchester.

Avison Young is the planning consultant on behalf of Views.

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