Jonathan Schofield picks out some property and landscape stories from the city

Deansgate/Chester Road chaos planned from August 5

Well, if not planned, inevitable. Monies from the City Centre Travel Fund is going to ‘improvements’ on the southern end of Deansgate, Whitworth Street West and Chester Road.

This is what the City Council say. Priorities are to ‘encourage more people to walk, wheel or cycle, improve infrastructure to create linked-up routes throughout the city, improve safety, and reduce the overall amount of traffic going into the city centre.’  

Work will start on Monday 5 August at these junctions, Deansgate/Quay Street/Peter Street, Deansgate/Whitworth Street West and Chester Road/Great Jackson Street. There will a bus gate on Whitworth Street West and lots of cycling provision amongst other measures.

People who use the city centre know the first part of the scheme on the northern end of Deansgate has scarcely been a success and among other issues has contributed to terrible congestion at Quay Street. The maverick cycle lanes are a total conundrum and no good for cyclists given they cross on occasion to the wrong side of the street for mere metres. have asked the City Council these questions. 

Who has modelled the probable effects on traffic - was it inhouse? Has the success (or as many see it failure) of the existing northern end changes to Deansgate been proven especially with cycle lanes criss-crossing the road at John Rylands Library, or are the changes in the southern end of Deansgate taking place regardless of the problems at the northern end? Also what is the total amount of money in the City Centre Active Travel Fund and how much will be spent on this stage of the scheme? 

We’ll report back when the council respond. 

Help - expect delays and confusion for months Image: Confidentials

Up, up and away: Homes to replace Regent Road retail park

Mirror, mirror on the wall who will be the tallest of them all. If Henley Investment Management has their way the crown for tallest building outside London will cross the River Irwell into Salford. 

Salboy’s proposed Viadux Two at 76-storeys and, we’re guessing, around 230m (750ft) will be far higher than Deansgate Square’s South Tower at 201ft (659ft) but the planned Salford tower off Regent Road would be according to an article in Place North West far taller than Viadux Two, well, far taller ‘by half a metre’.

The Henley scheme will sit on Regent Road retail park, so it's goodbye TX Maxx, goodbye Home Bargains, goodbye Sainsbury’s (perhaps). The big tower will sit on the TK Maxx site. There will be nine smaller towers helping deliver 3,200 homes and a 3.5 acre park. The project is valued at up to £1bn. 

Matt Brook, director of Matt Brook Architects, quoted in Place North West said: “At the heart of our placemaking-led, people-first, vision for Regent Park is a new urban park, which will provide much-needed green space for the residents of Salford. The proposed buildings respond to their context providing a strong sense of local identity, incorporating warm colour tones and texture which provide a residential character with a human scale.”

Fair enough.

The scheme seems an excellent method of linking developments across the west side of the River Irwell while further boosting central population density. The latter is always a good thing as long as there are matching amenities.

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Distant view from Pomona with the proposed towers on the left Image: Mode Visuals via Place North West
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A more intimate look at the proposals Image: Mode Visuals via Place North West

All Saints Park looking good, but a row’s brewing

The 4.2 acre loveliness that is All Saints Park in the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Campus has been off-limits for months during refurbishment and restoration. Now streets on three sides of the park have been fully pedestrianised with only Oxford Road open to traffic aside from bikes.

The design comes from go-to Altrincham landscapers Planit-IE and is very handsome indeed with particularly good-looking sturdy wooden street furniture - as long as the street furniture can withstand the attention of skateboarders gliding off its corners as noted on a recent visit.

There is another matter. 

Campaigners are concerned how ‘the park has been locked to local residents out of term (time) for the last few years and it was also locked up during Covid while all other local parks Whitworth Park, Platt Fields, Hulme Park were open to the public’. This campaigners say this is in contravention of the lease from City Council to MMU because this is a public park and should not be locked.

There will be a public meeting ‘chaired by Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, with representatives from Manchester City Council Highways and MMU to discuss these concerns on Tuesday 16 July from 6pm-7pm at the Brooks building room 1.66. If you want to attend contact

More information about the scheme and the area was included in our article here.

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The presently locked gardens look finished but when will they open? Image: Confidentials
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Street furniture on pedestrianed streets bordering All Saints Park Image: Confidentials

Forcing in a Staycity facility on Deansgate

The SimpsonHaugh designed Staycity aparthotel is now well-under way crammed between a former rail viaduct presently hosting Metrolink tram lines and the unfortunate Deansgate pub. The 22 storey, 300 bedroom facility on 0.6 of an acre will kill light to the pub’s terraces. The extreme constriction of the site is evident in the microscopic gap between an overhanging element and one of the Grade II listed railway viaduct’s attractive sham turrets. Wow, that is a squeeze and not a very satisfactory one.   

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It's a tight fit between the Staycity tower and the Grade II listed railway viaduct Image: Confidentials
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The frame's up for the Staycity building Image: Confidentials

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