Redevelopment of derelict railway arches will help businesses flourish

CGI of arch transformation plans

New food and drink, leisure and retail businesses will be located in central Manchester after the redevelopment of 10 derelict railway arches was approved by the city council.

The arches are located on Corporation Street on one of the key links between the city centre and the Victoria North regeneration area.

They will be transformed by The Arch Company, following multi-disciplinary services provided on-site by property, infrastructure and construction consultancy, Pick Everard, which has worked in close collaboration with partners such as Stephen George + Partners

Santosh Patel, strategic account director at Pick Everard, said: “Manchester is famously proud of its industrial heritage, and this project not only maintains and celebrates that history, but rejuvenates it in an exciting and innovative way to bring added social value to the city’s modern landscape and its residents.

Santosh Patel

“Seeing this project to completion will bring a new offering to Manchester, further regenerating its town centre in a way that makes sense within its larger community. The new spaces present a great opportunity for independent retail, restaurant, and other leisure businesses to develop in an area that will grow and thrive with them.”

The design of the new arches has sought to overcome a number of technical, environmental and planning constraints that are inherent within existing urban infrastructure of this type.

There are, for example, substantial level differences from the front to the rear of many of the units, which have required both the creation of new slab levels and ramps to ensure full accessibility. As the rear of the units back onto the River Irk, their layout has required clever design to orient them to the front, with elevations to include fire door escape and flexibility for mechanical system and ventilation provision via louvred or knock-out panels in the frame.

Alan Soper, studio director at SGP, said: “By any standards, arches are not a ‘normal’ building type and each can differ considerably in height, depth and shape, realising the potential of these previously overlooked spaces takes experience and good technical know-how if we are to refurbish them to modern occupancy standards.

“Our previous experience with old, historic or listed properties, and the ability to work within the existing building fabric, has proved invaluable in realising some of these schemes, as, too, has our technical knowledge of building regulations, particularly in relation to ventilation and fire security.”

Corporation Street is the latest arch scheme in Greater Manchester on which SGP has been working with The Arch Company. It joins previously approved plans to turn 10 neglected railway arches in Norton Street, Salford, into a thriving hub of bars, restaurants and cafes.

The new arches are located in Greengate, an area of the city currently experiencing a period of intensive development activity and growth.

Both the Manchester and the Salford projects form part of Project 1000, The Arch Company’s £200m plan to bring 1,000 empty or derelict spaces into use across England and Wales by 2030.

Corporation Street and Norton Street are just two of more than 10 such projects for which SGP has been commissioned to develop designs. In London, four of SGP’s schemes have already received consent.

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