CONCERNS have been raised over the proposed Manchester Life development on the Hood Street plot of land between Royal Mills and Cutting Room Square.
Any proposed building needs to complement Cutting Room Square, not dominate it
Despite being tagged as residential-led, the Royal Mills Residents Association (RoMRA) believes the main purpose of the development will be an eight-storey car park with over 100 carparking spaces and only 30 flats. Instead of being a mixed-use development as advertised, its primary function will be to service the nearby Murray Mills development.
RoMRA, which represents approximately 750 residents in the Royal Mills complex and objects to the current proposal, said: "The area is increasingly appealing to both young couples with children as well as older ‘empty nesters’ – it is no longer just about young professionals. Therefore, it is important to provide safe play spaces, recreational spaces and green spaces for the needs of a more diverse community.
"An extension of Cutting Room Square across into Hood St would be ideal for this. Alternatively the site could be developed as a flexible community space for residents, workers and visitors. Last, but not least, whatever the Hood Street site finally morphs into it mustn’t become a blot on the landscape. Any proposed building needs to complement Cutting Room Square, not dominate it."
A public exhibition consultation has been arranged for Thursday 9 July in order to give residents a chance to raise their objections. RoMRA plan to raise these and other key issues:
Cutting Room Square will be in almost permanent shadow as a result of this development – especially through the winter months.
The opportunity for Cutting Room Square to be the hub of a regenerated Ancoats will be seriously undermined. Its encasement on three sides by tall buildings – together with the loss of natural sunlight and a sense of space – will make the Square less appealing to local families, residents, students, workers and visitors. The vision of Cutting Room Square as a place to ‘sit, play, socialise, dine al-fresco’ and take in the sun will be lost forever.
The development will seriously obscure, overwhelm and darken neighbouring residential buildings such as Paragon Mill, Fairbairn Building, Kennedy Building and McConnell Building.
It will dwarf nearby buildings of character and interest such as Hallé St. Peter’s, the Sub-station & Cottages and Jactin House.
Other key questions and issues that need to be asked of MLDC and MCC are:
The Hood St site was, like much of Ancoats, compulsory purchased using taxpayers and Council Tax monies – therefore it should be used for the benefit of the community who paid for it.
For what price did MCC sell the Hood St site to MLDC? Was this a reasonable and commercial transaction?
The homeowners and residents of Royal Mills and other apartment blocks have themselves invested in the area in the belief that they were contributing to a ‘new’ community. Many homeowners are still in negative equity and this development can only further jeopardise the value of their property.
The consultation will be from 1-7pm on Thursday 9th of July at St Michael's Church, George Leigh Street, Ancoats. Visit the RoMRA website to read more.