Planning approval has been agreed for a City Council application that will invest in the crucial infrastructure for the development new housing and City River Park in Red Bank – one of the first phases of the major Victoria North regeneration area.
The approved plans will ready the Red Bank neighbourhood for future residential development – and include land remediation, earthworks and change in site levels and begin the major investment of new green spaces on the banks of the River Irk, while also revitalising the existing St Catherine’s Wood.
This element of the Red Bank investment will also deliver preliminary transport infrastructure, including facilitating a new permanent road and junction into the Red Bank neighbourhood, along with new drainage, street works and utilities infrastructure for the area.
These key infrastructure improvements will pave the way for future planning applications for new homes from the Council’s Joint Venture Partner for Victoria North – Far East Consortium (FEC) – and other third-party developers.
This phase of the Victoria North regeneration programme is being funding through a £51.6m grant award from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which is being provided to address various infrastructure constraints at the site and support the delivery of up to 5,500 new low carbon homes (across a range tenure types, including affordable housing) in the coming years – while bringing more than 25-acres of brownfield land back into use.
The investment in the first phase of a long-term investment to create the City River Park, which will eventually link Red Bank close to the city centre to Queens Park in Collyhurst through interconnected, high-quality green spaces.
The Red Bank area is currently characterised by underused brownfield land and invasive species – including Japanese Knotweed – and these works will bring forward the process of removing vegetation, create welcoming and managed routes through the area for walking and cycling, and become a catalyst to clean the River Irk.
The first phase of the City River Park along with new green space by the River Irk and the key improvements to St Catherine’s Wood.
This investment also looks to create new habitats and attract wildlife back to the Irk Valley. The commitment is to deliver a BioDiversity Net Gain of 10% in this part of the city through a series of linked planning applications relating to infrastructure, green space, river improvements and new residential development.
This application follows an initial planning application in December 2021 that approved the start of enabling works at the Red Bank site, including the removal of invasive trees and vegetation, the creation of a temporary haul road, and the demolition of the former Creamline Dairies buildings.
Victoria North is a joint venture programme between Manchester City Council and developer Far East Consortium (FEC).
Over the next 15 to 20 years, the Victoria North project will deliver more than 15,000 new homes (at least 20% of which will be affordable housing), with each neighbourhood connected by high quality green spaces and 46-hectare City River Park, which will open up and celebrate the Irk River Valley for the first time in decades.
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Development, said: “This is a welcome approval as it marks a critical early step in the long-term ambitions for the Red Bank neighbourhood. This part of our city has lain dormant for many years and it’s truly exciting to see the potential of the Victoria North area beginning to be realised.
“Eventually we will see 5,500 new homes in the Red Bank neighbourhood alone, including significant affordable housing bring a large swathe of underused brownfield land back into use – alongside a wonderful new City River Park.
“This is another brilliant example of the Council developing new high quality green space - while investing in new walking and cycling routes - celebrating an otherwise largely forgotten corner of Manchester.”
Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig, said:
“Victoria North remains one of the largest regeneration programmes the UK has ever seen and will be transformational for our city. The Red Bank area is largely underused brownfield and unmanaged, unwelcoming scrub land, but will become an attractive new, green neighbourhood.
“Over the next 15 years this investment will deliver 15,000 new homes and 46hectares of interconnected green space across the Victoria North area.
"This is a long-term, aspirational programme of regeneration - and represents exactly the type of vision we should be striving for in our city to meet demand for new housing, many of which will be social and genuinely affordable homes while creating sustainable and attractive neighbourhoods.”