Property round-up: FW; Regenda Group; JV North; Rula Developments; Bennettbrooks; Square Gardens; MKT North-West; Koba

CGI of market proposals

Preston-based architecture, design and masterplanning practice, FWP, has begun work on the detailed designs for the ambitious £8.3m redevelopment of Bacup Market.

The project to deliver the new community-focused market for the Lancashire town – to be called Temple Court – has moved onto the next stage after concept designs were approved by Rossendale Borough Council.

The vision has been created by FWP’s architecture team in conjunction with retail development specialist Market Curators.

FWP is now working on the detailed plans for Temple Court Market with the aim of submitting them for planning approval later this year. If approved, work to deliver the new market will get under way in early 2025.

Temple Court will feature a two-storey Market Hall, with the ground floor offering a diverse array of local produce, crafts, food and drink, while the upper floor will host a cycle hub and makers’ spaces.

It will be built on the site of the former market in the heart of the town centre and is expected to be completed by spring 2026.

The vision also includes the creation of a public plaza and events space and the development aims to encourage revitalisation, activity and investment in the area. The cycle hub is intended to attract tourists and leisure enthusiasts.

Rossendale Council has secured funding from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for the project, described as a “transformational project” for the Lancashire town.

Neil Ainsworth, partner at FWP, which also has offices in Manchester and London, said: “We’ve worked very hard to create a modern, community-focused market hall that will be transformative for the area but also fits in well with the town’s much-cherished heritage.

“Once completed, the new Temple Court Market will have a diverse and vibrant offering to attract visitors into the town and the attractive public plaza and ‘market garden’ green space that are part of the plans will greatly enhance the area.”


CGI of New Ferry regeneration

The Regenda Group has been granted planning approval for 43 new homes as part of the second phase of the regeneration of New Ferry.

Wirral Council’s planning committee unanimously approved plans to create modern, affordable homes on the site of the Woodhead Street car park and a former Co-op store on New Chester Road.

Councillors praised the development for its new green spaces and energy-efficient homes. Additional improvements to the high street will be carried out by the council which will revitalise the area.

As part of the project, public car parking on Grove Street will be revamped, including the creation of additional parking spaces and the installation of new street lighting and CCTV.

The new homes will be constructed by M&Y Maintenance and Construction and will be available for affordable rent thorough Regenda Homes, and Rent to Buy through Redwing. Employment, training and work experience opportunities will be available for local people, including apprenticeships supported by The Learning Foundry. All are part of The Regenda Group.

The regeneration of New Ferry will create more than 70 new homes in total. Construction to create 34 one- and two-bed apartments across two other sites began earlier this year.

Martin Davies, Director of Development for The Regenda Group, said: “As a regeneration group, we’re creating not only affordable, energy-efficient homes to the area, but also employment and training opportunities for local people.”

Michael Birkett, CEO of The Regenda Group, said: “This is a truly transformational project that will see the regeneration of New Ferry. We’re not only building great quality, affordable homes, we’re investing in the wider community. This development will offer apprenticeships through The Learning Foundry and we want to engage with local school children through aspirations partner, Positive Footprints.”

Construction for phase one will be completed by summer 2025, with phase 2 expected to begin around the same time.


John Bowker

JV North is warning that housebuilding will slow unless funding certainty is given beyond the current Affordable Homes Programme end date.

With less than two years left of the 2021/26 Affordable Homes Programme, JV North says developments of more than 50 homes or those that take longer than 12 months are now at risk.

Usually government-funded programmes overlap with the last two running from 2018 to 2021 and then 2021 to 2026 allowing housebuilding to carry on unabated. With no announcement made in the past month’s Budget, JV North – which comprises 13 housing association and local authority members from across the North West – says funding certainty is vital for board approval at a time when financial viability is under heavy scrutiny.

JV North Chair, John Bowker, said: “If we do not receive news of the next Affordable Homes Programme soon, there is a danger we will have a fallow period where housebuilding stalls.

“The current programme runs to the end of March 2026 and while circa two years away, it is just around the corner in housebuilding construction terms. Larger developments start to become questionable due to the length of time they take to build coupled with not knowing if the remaining funding will be available when they complete.

“Without certainty, housing association boards will be nervous about approving schemes and it could cause a slowdown in delivery – something the country can ill afford given housing shortages and record-high homelessness.”


Winsford Gateway

Rula Developments has submitted a planning application to deliver a new unit for Costa Coffee at Winsford Gateway, the 30-acre strategic development and major employment site at junction 18 of the M6.

Rula has secured an agreement for lease with Costa Coffee to occupy a 1,800 sq ft unit on the 1.6-acre roadside plot at the northern entrance to Winsford Gateway. The unit sits alongside existing retail provisions including Subway, Greggs, Londis convenience store and a BP petrol filling station with public amenities. The last two remaining roadside/retail plots are currently under offer.

The wider 380-acre industrial estate has seen rapid development in recent years and is now home to more than 100 businesses with around 4,000 workers.

Last year Rula launched new opportunities comprising nearly 350,000 sq ft of industrial, logistics and roadside/retail accommodation a Winsford Gateway. Plots now available include a significant 225,000 sq ft logistics HQ building on an independent 12.6-acre site, and two design and build units offering 75,508 sq ft and 27,728 sq ft of industrial space. Additionally, Rula has released a plot with potential for six new trade counter units ranging from 1,684 sq ft to 3,058 sq ft.

Anthony Clitheroe, Development Director at Rula Developments, said: “We are pleased to secure a lease agreement with Costa Coffee which will add to the choice of amenity to the local workforce as well as passing commuters from the motorway network. Indeed, the site has already become a social hub and bolsters the overall proposition for potential new occupiers.”

“Subject to planning consent we hope to be able to start on site by the autumn so that Costa Coffee can take occupation by early 2025. The Costa Coffee store will offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as a drive through facility.”

Legat Owen Chartered Surveyors and CBRE are appointed to market Winsford Gateway.


New Chester location

Bennettbrooks, a North West Chartered Accountancy practice, has recently moved its Chester office to the Coachworks Arcade, part of the vibrant new Chester Northgate development.

Driven by sustained growth and expansion, the practice made the strategic decision to relocate from its Grosvenor Court site to larger premises based in the heart of the historic city. The new setting provides high quality office accommodation and enhanced amenities and is centrally positioned in the bustling centre of Chester with easy access to key landmarks and attractions.

The Chester office comprises three dedicated client directors, a team of experienced accountants along with specialist tax, payroll and technology professionals and forensic accounting expertise. Supporting a diverse range of clients spanning Chester, North Wales and the wider UK, the practice advises SMEs from all sectors but has considerable experience in supporting medical professionals and technology start-ups.

Director, Claire Hills, said: “When we made the decision to look for new premises in Chester, the Coachworks Arcade really stood out. It is in a fantastic location and offers our team a modern and attractive workspace which is easily accessible for them and our clients. We are excited about this new chapter for bennettbrooks.”


CGI of entrance lounge

Manchester’s newest co-living development, Square Gardens, has unveiled the first images of its range of shared spaces that are set to redefine the way residents connect, collaborate and thrive.

With a focus on creating vibrant and inclusive environments, these innovative shared areas offer an unparalleled experience for residents seeking an enriching community lifestyle.

From a state-of-the-art gym and wellness centre to immersive entertainment zones, coworking spaces and private outdoor gardens and terraces, these areas aim to foster a sense of belonging, connectivity, and wellbeing among residents.

Square Gardens residents will also enjoy the added advantage of residing within an expansive 2.5-acre landscaped space, which serves as a vibrant centerpiece for the community. All amenities are included as part of one monthly fee, allowing residents full use of all facilities without any additional cost.

Square Gardens, which is set to welcome its first residents in autumn 2024, is located in one of Manchester’s fastest growing and vibrant neighbourhood communities, First Street.

Bay Downing, Investment Director at developer, Downing, said: “Our commitment to creating an exceptional living experience extends well beyond the walls of individual apartments. By offering an impressive range of social spaces, we want to foster a vibrant and inclusive community where residents can thrive, connect, and create unforgettable memories.”


Raymond Linch, left and James Wrigley

Industry professionals, Raymond Linch and James Wrigley, have teamed up to launch MKT North-West, a new market operator and consultancy, which aims to help local authorities and the private sector create markets and food halls fit for the 21st century.

Launched specifically to serve the North West of England, the business already has a strong pipeline of work with councils in the region, providing support which will drive footfall and aid regeneration.

While the business has been set up to focus on the operation of markets and food halls, MKT North-West will also deliver a range of consultancy services, such as providing expert advice to redesign spaces and market layout.

James Wrigley, COO of MKT North-West, said: “Having worked in property and hospitality for many years, I’m excited by the opportunity to help deliver some truly transformative projects here in the North West. I live in Stockport and we have a fantastic range of markets and food halls in the region. MKT North-West is on a mission to help the public and private sector create venues that not only become a success, but also drive significant wider benefits.”

CEO, Raymond Linch, said: “Markets are often the beating heart of a town centre, and they present an opportunity to drive footfall, catering for a range of diverse audiences. But in order to realise their full potential as a catalyst for regeneration, there is a need to reassess what they offer to different groups. We see a significant opportunity for MKT North-West to help achieve this goal.”


CGI of Koba atrium

Following the recent announcement that new flexible workspace company Koba is launching its first UK venture at 100 Barbirolli Square in Manchester, its integrated delivery partner, Cast Interiors has now commenced work on site to deliver the fit-out at the 30,000 sq ft Koba @ 100 Barbirolli Square location ahead of its opening in early Q4 2024.

The work follows a detailed pre-construction process which included an expansive, collaborative design journey to establish what a Koba workspace looks like and how it operates. Many of the design cues and materials selected for Koba @ 100 Barbirolli Square will be taken forward into future spaces, capturing and distributing the Koba ‘vibe’.

With sustainable practise being a core value of both Koba and Cast, a series of workshops was undertaken to balance the look and feel with responsible material choices to ensure this was embedded in the vision from to outset.

Rob Stewart, Strategy and Sustainability Director, Koba, said: “Offices as we know them are a big sustainability problem. Each day, approximately 300 tonnes of office furniture is sent to landfill in the UK, and research suggests that fit-outs will represent around 40% of an office building’s entire lifetime greenhouse gas emissions.

“So, with this firmly in mind, we set about ensuring that our sustainability manifesto at Koba promotes a circular economy where products never actually become waste. Working with Cast Interiors, we are extremely proud that we can demonstrate our commitment to pioneering circular business models at our sites through creating offices spaces with sustainability at their core.”

Zoe Moss, founder and Managing Director, Cast Interiors, said: “We are utilising sustainable finishes throughout, including remanufactured furniture, finishes containing high levels of recycled content, as well as carbon-neutral floor coverings. In targeting sustainable products, we have proactively looked to reduce the usage of common products that are renowned for their traditionally poor sustainable credentials and impact on the planet that the built environment plays such a big part of.

“So much so that to reduce plasterboard waste, we have used demountable cross-wall partitions that are not only reusable but provide a timely and cost-effective way to truly put the ‘flex’ into flexible – reducing downtime and waste when altering suite layouts which is one of the greatest challenges to the flex market.”

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