Manchester apartments plan submitted with reduced affordable housing offer

Plans have been submitted for a 634-unit residential scheme in three towers rising up to 37 storeys in Manchester, with the applicants arguing that the scheme cannot deliver a policy-compliant affordable housing level due to "clear viability constraints".

A visualisation of the proposals. (Pic: FEC)
A visualisation of the proposals. (Pic: FEC)

Developer Far East Consortium (FEC) is behind the Victoria Riverside development on the former Angelgate site on Dantzic Street in Manchester city centre.

The scheme would form the first phase of the wider Northern Gateway project, which is being progressed in a partnership between FEC and Manchester City Council.

The application, submitted to the city council last month, seeks permission for a residential-led mixed-use development comprising three towers of 37, 26 and 18 storeys along with 1,222 square metres of commercial space, associated infrastructure, landscaping and new public realm.

According to a viability statement submitted with the application, the "affordable housing is an important part of what is being delivered in the Northern Gateway" and it is a stated intention of FEC and the council "to ensure 20 per cent affordable will be delivered across the whole Northern Gateway area".

However, the statement adds that for the Victoria Riverside scheme, a 20 per cent affordable housing component, with 15 per cent intermediate and five per cent social rented housing, "is not viable".

The report explains that the developer's alternative proposal is for five per cent affordable provision, which it argues would be delivered "despite clear viability constraints". This offer is equivalent to £2.13 million of lost gross development value, it claims. 

Including a £1.3 million commitment to public realm works, the report says the cost "is equivalent to a £3.4 million investment in the city".

It says the proposal will lead to delivery of a high-quality development "that will act as the catalyst for the future regeneration of the area" and 634 new homes providing a range of accommodation, including family housing, that will make a "positive contribution towards Manchester's housing requirements".

A planning statement submitted to the council says the proposed development "has been sensitively designed and will contribute to the regeneration of the surrounding Lower Irk Valley area".

It adds: "The site is located at a key entrance point to the Red Bank and New Town neighbourhoods and, as part of the first phase of development in the Northern Gateway, is pivotal in setting the precedent for the quality of future developments in the wider area."

Consultancy Avison Young is acting on behalf of the applicant.

More details on the application can be found on the Manchester City Council website by seaching for application number 126944/FO/2020.

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