Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & the Arts Whitworth Street Conservation Area

Control of development

Whitworth Street/Princess Street is situated on the southern edge of the city centre and is consequently some distance from the commercial heart. There is some commercial activity however, and further development in this direction will be encouraged where appropriate.

Many properties have been totally or partially vacant since the 1930s, when the city changed its character from warehousing to commerce and administration. Although the area had seen little investment, efforts are now being made to find uses for vacant property, since active use mitigates against deterioration of the fabric.

The general policy in the conservation area is to retain existing structures where feasible, but where it can be shown that this is impossible, proposals for new buildings and extensions to existing ones must achieve a high standard of design which relates to the architectural and urban design character of the area.

As with other parts of the city centre, new developments should generally be aligned to the back of the pavement in order to preserve the linear character of the streets and complete the 'street wall.'

Open space is not in the nature of the area, and indiscriminate demolition of buildings for use as, say, surface car parks, would lead to the creation of unplanned and incoherent spaces. As advised in national legislation, permission for demolition will not normally be granted without evidence of a signed contract to redevelop the site with new buildings.

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