Judgement day for Castlefield residents’ concerns

By David Mayor, Alexandra Moerschner, Deborah Trickett and Craig Jones.

Furious Castlefield residents are eagerly awaiting the result of a council meeting to discuss the construction of two controversial apartment blocks tomorrow.

The Peel Group’s plan to build 88 new apartments on Castlefield Conservation Area has caused uproar with residents, claiming the area is being overdeveloped.

The council’s planning department will meet to decide whether the amended proposals, previously rejected, should now be approved.

Ian Christie, spokesman for the Castlefield Residents’ Forum said: “We are all concerned about what over-development might do to property prices and how it may reduce the overall sustainability of the area.”

Mr Christie explained residents feel that the image of the basin area depends on preserving its character; one complainant likened the scheme’s appearance to ‘East Berlin’.

The proposed apartment blocks will be six and four storeys tall and will replace the former Jackson’s Wharf pub, which will be demolished.

Peel’s planning report, which explains the new designs, states they have addressed the residents’ previous concerns and it is not necessary to restrict housing within Manchester city centre.

It reads: “The proposed scheme is modern but will still respect the characteristics of Castlefield Conservation Area and would sit comfortably alongside and within the historic buildings and landscape.”

This, however, is not the opinion shared by Barca Manager Tracey Love, who said: “The modern building style would be better suited to the city centre.

“Customers come here to relax in the picturesque surroundings.”

A local business man, who asked not to be named, said: “If these plans get approved the construction will bring chaos to the area as the traffic will be atrocious on Blantyre Street, which is already bad enough.

“Not to mention, that the building themselves will be a monstrosity.”

Residents proposed an alternative plan for the vacant Jackson’s Wharf building, suggesting a waterways museum to be linked with the nearby Museum of Science and Industry.

The plan also proposes The Peel Group could then get a comparative site elsewhere in the city centre which would be better suited for their developments.

If, as expected, tomorrows council meeting is successful for the Peel Group, they will get their long-awaited site visit starting the first step of their scheme.

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