Property round-up: JLL; Peaks & Plains Housing Trust; JV North; Lovell; FWP; Papilo; Bentley; Orbit; Conferma

The number of flats newly available to rent in Manchester increased more than any in other ‘Big Six’ city in 2023, according to research from global property advisor JLL.

The ‘Big Six’ research, which tracks residential development activity, prices and rents across Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow, showed that the annual change in the number of rental listings in Manchester grew by 25.6% last year. That outstripped 22% in Leeds, the next highest, and was nearly five times the 5.3% registered by Birmingham.

Despite a surge of new flats to market, rental prices still continue to show strong growth. Rents grew 12.2% for the year, second only to the 16.7% registered in Birmingham.

A strong rental market is having a knock-on effect on sales prices. Average price growth was just 1.6% in Manchester – only higher than Bristol among the markets analysed.

Jonathan Wiedemann, Head of the North West at JLL, said: “Manchester’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and do business has brought significant benefits to our city, but also placed a strain on its stock of homes.

“It is great to see so many new developments completing across the city region, but there’s still some way to go to deliver the right types of homes for all residents. We need to support delivery of homes cross sector, from affordable homes to prime city centre apartments in order to satisfy the high demand for city living we continue to experience.”

Marcus Dixon, director of UK residential research at JLL, said: “Make no bones about it, 2023 was a challenge for the UK housing market. Yet it continues to show structural resilience and the ability to handle the headwinds posed by high interest rates, inflation and wider economic certainty.

“We’ve entered the new year with more upbeat mood music surrounding the UK housing market. Early indicators suggest activity is increasing and the outlook from both buyers and among professionals is increasingly optimistic. The consensus on the direction of travel for the bank rate is improving, and a five-year fix is now at circa four per cent for those with bigger deposits.”

He added: “It won’t be plain sailing, but while the UK’s city centres continue to be attractive places to live, work and study, its residential property market will go from strength to strength.”


Illustration of George Street townhouses

Plans have been submitted for a residential development on the Former Hangar 7 building, George Street, Macclesfield.

The project, designed for client Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, comprises 12 new homes including six townhouses and six walk-up apartments situated alongside the Bollin River, providing much needed affordable housing to the area.

Taking inspiration from Macclesfield’s rich historical context, Buttress Architects has created a sustainable and contemporary design that seamlessly blends the town’s heritage with modern living.

Matthew Burl, director at Buttress, said: “If the plans are approved the homes will offer a fresh perspective on housing, promoting connectivity and community engagement.”

“The walk-up apartments will offer contemporary apartment-style living but with the benefit of having your own front door to the street.”

Emma Richman, Director of Operations at Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, said: “This is a high quality development reflecting the Trust’s continued commitment to the investment in Macclesfield’s town centre and working towards our strategic aim of creating great places to live.”


John Bowker at Station Mews

Social housebuilding consortium, JV North, has built its 10,000th home with the redevelopment of the Liverpool fire station immortalised in The Beatles classic, Penny Lane.

The Station Mews scheme, delivered by consortium member Torus, also saw JV North pass the £1bn investment mark in partnership with Homes England.

Made up of North West-based housing associations and local authorities, JV North’s development work has now seen 30,000 people receive new homes.

Chair of JV North and Executive Director of Operations at Stockport Homes, John Bowker, said: “The cost of living crisis and a growing, ageing population means providing warm, efficient, high quality affordable homes is more important than ever.

“JV North members can rightly feel a great sense of achievement at reaching such significant milestones – most importantly enabling 30,000 residents to have a place to proudly call home.”

He added: “It has been possible due to members having ambition and a big appetite to build coupled with fantastic long term support from partners in particular Homes England as well as contractors and consultants on our framework.”

Shahi Islam, Director of Affordable Housing Grants at Homes England, said: “As the Government’s housing and regeneration agency, increasing the supply of quality affordable homes remains one of our key objectives and we are committed to supporting ambitious housebuilders of all sizes to build those homes and communities.”

Steve Coffey, Torus Chief Executive, said: “The entire Torus Group is incredibly proud of what has been accomplished at Station Mews.

“Seeing modern, energy-efficient, affordable homes built in a key location and an iconic local landmark repurposed is just fantastic and testament to the partnerships that made it possible.

“Our standing as a JV North member very much helped unlock this site and the £1.7m provided to the scheme by Homes England ensures these much-loved buildings continue to contribute to the community of Allerton and, of course, Penny Lane.”


Spinners Quarter handover

The final handover has been completed at the Spinners Quarter development by Lovell Together, a joint venture between Lovell Partnerships and Together Housing Group.

Located in Pendleton, Salford, the development has been part of one of the largest strategic residential regeneration projects in Greater Manchester.

Started in early 2021, Lovell Together has designed and delivered 127 two-, three- and four-bedroom properties, 17 of which are affordable homes for social rent.

It comes as planning permission was recently granted for the next phase in the regeneration of Pendleton, including the building of 485 energy-efficient homes and the major transformation of Clarendon Park.

Tahreen Shad, regional partnerships director at Lovell, said: “This is a proud moment for our first Lovell Together development, seeing the final homes now completed at Spinners Quarter and achieving great results within the scheme.”

The properties are a mixture of mews and semi-detached homes and have been built to considerably higher building regulation standards using enhanced fabric thermal improvements.

The scheme centres on a high quality public realm throughout the heart of the development and several innovative features such as a cycle street linking into wider Salford cycle routes, rain gardens – planted areas on the main street to help with natural drainage – and adjacent allotments.

Mark Dunford, executive director of finance and commercial at Together Housing Group, said: “Seeing the final homes complete on this dynamic site is fantastic. Lovell Together is a partnership we’re very proud of and the work we’re doing so far to provide high quality homes which meet the diverse needs of the local community comes at a time when many are facing inequalities of the current housing market.


CGI of new Tullie facilities

Work has started on the second phase of the multimillion-pound redevelopment of the historic Tullie museum in Carlisle.

Preston-based architecture, design and masterplanning practice, FWP, has been appointed to project manage the work on the 130-year-old museum in the heart of the city.

The revamp has been made possible with funding by the Government, including support from the Town’s Fund and Future High Streets Fund.

It has been further supported with £2m of public funding administered by Arts Council England. Work is set to be completed in summer this year.

Tullie has been a centre for learning since 1893 when it was opened as the city’s ‘Public Library, Museum and School of Art’.

Sam Shuttleworth, associate quantity surveyor and project manager at FWP, said: “We’re looking forward to seeing this important development take shape over the next few months. The new and improved ground floor spaces that are being created will enhance the visitor experience and make the museum more user-friendly and accessible.”

FWP’s specialist team is also working on the delivery of Rochdale Town Hall’s restoration, with the building which reopened to the public this month.



Greater Manchester waste management and recycling services specialist, Roydon Recycling, has rebranded as ‘Papilo’ and as just signed a 10-year lease on a 4,620 sq ft office space at Lowry Mill in Swinton, a 73% increase in capacity.

The move will see Papilo leave its previous offices at Junction House, where it was situated for eight years.

Built in 1883, Lowry Mill is a former Victorian Spinning Mill which spent more than a century serving the textile industry.

Staff wellbeing was top of the agenda for Papilo, with Lowry Mill boasting impressive amenities including a feature restaurant, fully equipped and professionally-run gym, secure cycle storage and games room.

The move will support the long term growth of the company, with the new headquarters able to support up to 40 full-time employees on site. Currently, Papilo has a 60-strong workforce which operates nationwide.

Paul Hodgkiss, Papilo CEO, said: “Papilo is a customised version of ‘Papilio’, the Latin for butterfly. It reflects our commitment to changing our customers’ approach to sustainability, a transformation into something beautiful and valuable.”


111 Piccadilly

Construction consultancy Bentley has opened an office at 111 Piccadilly in Manchester, in a bid to increase its presence in the North West and capitalise on emerging projects in the region.

The consultancy, which already has a strong presence in the East Midlands with around 40 team members, was recently appointed to Lot 3 of the new STAR Procurement Framework. Focusing on project management, delivery and commercial support, the framework is available for use by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, all Greater Manchester authorities, Blackpool Council, St Helens Council, the Unity Partnership and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

Mark Collins, executive director at Bentley who will lead the new Manchester office, said: “Increasing our client portfolio in the North West has always been a cornerstone of our growth strategy, so to be opening a new office in central Manchester is an important milestone achieved for the business and an exciting opportunity for the wider team.

“The appointment on the STAR Framework has meant that we will be working in the area on a more regular basis and to truly provide our clients with an industry-leading service we felt it pertinent to have a local base in which to work from.”

He added: “We see this as a major opportunity to expand our core service offering in the public sector, as well as to expand relationships with our private sector clients. At Bentley we have a deep understanding on delivering projects on time, within budget, and to the highest of standards. We are very much looking forward to extending that service even further to the North West.”

Established in 2013, Bentley specialises in project development and cost management, delivering large scale strategic, residential and commercial schemes for both the public and private sectors. The consultancy enjoyed a ground-breaking 2023, which saw the business work on 60 projects, many of which are of national importance, move to a new head office and welcome a range of experienced team members.


Mark Boden, Firstcom Europe

Orbit Developments’ office complex, Parklands, is experiencing a surge in leasing, attracting eight major companies.

This surge means Parklands 1B is now fully let, with limited space remaining in Parklands 1A.

In Parklands 1B, Future Electronics, Serious Injury Law, Firstcom Europe, and Dalkia have secured floors, with Jangro, Natwest, NEU and Parcels2Go taking spaces in 1A. The diversity of these industries shows Parklands’ universal appeal.

Steve Pacitto, Director at Firstcom Europe, said: “For Firstcom Europe the move to Parklands has offered us the perfect base from which to grow our pan-European business.

“We are a Bolton business at heart so it’s great to be able to expand across the continent from our natural home. As we continue to grow as a business it feels like Parklands is a location that can grow with us.”

Ideally located minutes from M61’s Junction 6, Parklands is next to Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park, with Horwich Parkway train station on the doorstep. The development prioritises tenant wellbeing with recent refurbishments, including a new coffee lounge and Peloton Suite/fitness suite.

George Iveson, Head of Operations at Parcels2Go, said: “The excellent transport links were a major factor in our decision to relocate here. We are now also seeing a higher percentage of staff return to the office due to the positive feeling the building generates.”


Conferma, the Manchester-based fintech which has pioneered virtual payment technology, has relocated to its new office space in Towers Business Park, Didsbury.

The office was formally opened on February 28, at an official ribbon cutting event with Conferma’s global teams from the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific in attendance.

A multimillion-pound investment for the business, the relocation took place alongside a major rebranding initiative, where Conferma unveiled its new mission to make it simple for any company, anywhere in the world, to connect and do business.

With a focus on flexible working, the 15,000 sq ft space over two floors of Ocean House has been designed to support the rapidly growing business of more than 150, staff, with further growth expected in the next 12 months, taking total headcount to in excess of 200.

Jason Lalor, Conferma’s CEO, said: “It’s a place to develop an energised and collaborative environment. Conferma is a business full of world class people and technology expertise that has made genuinely ground-breaking strides in payment technology over the last two decades.

“The next couple of years will focus on capitalising on what has made Conferma so great while maximising the opportunity ahead. We might have been a small fintech from Manchester, but we’ve had a global footprint, working with the biggest names in payments.

“The challenge is to take the business to the next level and the process of making Conferma fit for the future has involved finding a place that was designed to allow our people to grow and realise their potential.”

Manchester-based commercial interior designers, Intrinsic, were tasked with designing a workspace that delivered on Conferma’s flexible requirements and new ethos.

Kathryn Mitchell, Director at Intrinsic, said: “The space has been completely transformed from an empty shell to a thriving workplace that fosters cross-team collaboration, creating atmosphere that builds energy, culture, and connection.”

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