Focus on sustainable communities and new housing in Ancoats and New Islington as four major schemes approved

A computer generated image of the Ancoats Dispensary following development for affordable housing

Four key planning applications have been agreed by Manchester’s planning committee this week (29 July) - representing an exciting next phase of regeneration in Ancoats & News Islington.

Ancoats Mobility Hub 

The Mobility Hub, which was brought forward by Manchester Life Strategic Development Company Limited on behalf of Manchester City Council, enables Ancoats to place sustainable and shared transport choices at the heart of the community. 

From 2023, streets will see fewer general vehicle movements resulting from centralising residents’ parking and the neighbourhood delivery hub, with future developments now able to proceed without parking incorporated (aside from disabled spaces). 

An Electric car share club, e-bike scheme, and 150 secure visitor cycle parking spaces with changing facilities will enable the community to switch to sustainable transport modes with ease. The use of Ancoats Green will increase, and safety in the area will be improved with new landscaped public space and space for a community & cycle café - along with a last mile delivery hub. 


Eliza Yard 

This residential scheme by Manchester Life will start the regeneration of the Poland Street Zone by delivering 118 new homes through a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments for sale on the corner of Jersey Street and Poland Street, along with commercial and workspaces on the ground floor.  

Disabled parking and secure cycle storage will be included in the development, with all further parking and mobility options provided by the Mobility Hub. Building massing and materials are designed to tie into Ancoats’ historic buildings and connect the Poland Street Zone into the heart of Ancoats, and the scheme has been designed to sit within the Council’s emerging public realm strategy.  

Manchester Life was set up in 2014 to deliver housing for Manchester's growing professional population and restart the regeneration of Ancoats, with over 1,250 homes delivered so far. 


Downley Drive

Great Places plan to build 68 affordable homes, a mixture one and two bed apartments and 23 three- and two-bedroom houses, on the just under two acres site of vacant land behind Downley Drive and Kingham Drive. 

All 45 of the proposed apartments will be offered for social rent, with 12 of the houses available for shared ownership and 11 for affordable rent. 


Ancoats Dispensary 

Great Places, in partnership with Manchester City Council and part funded by Homes England, will redevelop what remains of the Ancoats Dispensary for a mixture of 39 one and two bed apartments which will be available for affordable rent. The plans look to protect the heritage and legacy of the building and incorporate elements of what remains the Dispensary while providing much-needed affordable homes in the area. 

Great Places has worked on the proposals for the site with a range of key of stakeholders, including Manchester Life who are developing a number of sites in the area, as well as the Ancoats Dispensary Trust, to ensure plans look to preserve as much of the original Grade 2 listed facade as possible. 

The design focuses on the preserving the Old Mill Street and Lampwick Lane facades. The plans also look to compliment Great Places’ existing homes and its ongoing commitment to the development of this growing and vibrant neighbourhood. 


Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

“These applications are a statement of intent – that we are not finished in Ancoats and New Islington and there’s still a huge amount of ambition for these neighbourhoods two decades on from the first regeneration schemes were launched in this part of the city. 

“These applications tell a story of a city focused on recovery following the pandemic, driving economic growth in a way that supports the city’s low carbon agenda and investing in what local people want and need – affordable homes, walking and cycling infrastructure, and public space. 

“The Mobility Hub in particular is a UK first that will help Ancoats become a low traffic neighbourhood, centralising parking amenity and deliveries, while increasing access to bike and car share schemes, and electric vehicle charging. It’s this type of innovation in our city that is future proofing our neighbourhoods, encouraging active travel and limiting carbon.”


Marty Edelman, Executive Chairman of Manchester Life, commented:

“Today’s approvals enable Ancoats and New Islington to advance as a sustainable and inclusive community that delivers housing for the city and creates opportunity for the businesses and residents who call it home. 

 “Our strong partnership with the Council and Great Places on these projects was vital to the fulfilment of our role as developer and placemaker, to our pursuit of being able to welcome a broader range of people to the neighbourhood, and to enabling families to stay as their housing needs change.

“We’re committed to commencing development this year to maintain momentum and support the North West’s construction industry as we move beyond the pandemic.” 


Commenting on the planning announcement, Matthew Harrison Chief Executive at Great Places, said:

“We’re delighted that planning has been approved on our Ancoats Dispensary and Downley Drive developments. 

“In particular, we’d like to acknowledge the support and input of a variety of partners, including Manchester City Council, Historic England and the Dispensary Trust whose feedback was invaluable in developing our plans for the Ancoats Dispensary site. This has ensured our proposals look to deliver modern affordable homes whilst acknowledging the site’s rich historic past by preserving as much of this iconic building as possible. 

“The plans for the Dispensary and Downley Drive complement our existing homes and ongoing commitment to the development of this growing and vibrant neighbourhood, as well as providing 107 much needed high-quality affordable homes.” 

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