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Pride Of Manchester
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Fight the destruction of Castlefield
The rejected plans for Castlefield
The revised plans for Castlefield
The death of Castlefield?
Following Pride Of Manchester's two successful campaigns in November and December 2007, the Council's Planning Committee overturned the Planning Officer's recommendation to approve the huge 117 apartment complex, proposed to sit by the canalside in the heart of the Castlefield canal basin. Designed by Ian Simpson, the architect also behind the controversial Beetham 'Hilton' Tower, the massive development would have been built on the site currently occupied by the empty Jackson's Wharf pub in the heart of the most historic part of the city centre, one of the most popular tourist destinations.
The Planning Commitee commented that they agreed with spokespersons, Olympic swimmer James Hickman, Radio 2 broadcaster Mike Harding, Councillors Pat Karney, Marc Ramsbottom and the thousand's of protestors on Pride Of Manchester, who's comments had been submitted to them ahead of the meeting.
This was the first building to be rejecetd in the city centre in over 5 years and the developer, Peel Holdings (who also own The Trafford Centre, Liverpool Airport and the new media village at Salford Quays), decided to take legal action to push the controversial plans through. That legal bid has now resulted in a Government appointed public enquiry.
Public Enquiry on November 25th-29th
Mechanics Institute Conference Centre, 103 Princess Street, M1 6DD [map]
The hearing is open to the public and you may attend. If you wish to speak, you must be at the Inquiry before it opens at 10am on the 25th Nov and ask the inspector for permission at the start. It's possible that members of the public may also be allowed to speak on the other days of the hearing too.
If the designs by Ian Simpson are approved, they will moreorless end Castlefield's tentative status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We are surprised and disappointed that Peel, a proud Mancunian company, who started in the 1920's in the Textile Industry at Peel Mills in Bury, have ignored the surrounding Industrial heritage, with the beautiful canals, bridges and warehouses in Castlefield - especially as they own one (MIddle Warehouse) and the other (Merchant's Warehouse) was modernised sympathetically by their architect, Ian Simpson.
After having their first two applications refused, Peel and Ian Simpson have refused to enter into dialogue with Pride Of Manchester, fellow protestors, councillors and local residents to find alternative ideas for the site, which obviously needs developing.
We are also seeking to push through Castelfield's bid to become a UNESCO World Hertiage Zone.
Jason Orange Take That star Jason Orange joined the campaign to oppose the proposed development of Jackson's Wharf. Other high profile campaigners included...
James Hickman "I believe Jackson's Wharf needs and will be developed but it has to be Something that is suitable and in keeping with the history of the area and Manchester, the proposed development doesn't do this at all! I feel very passionate about this." - James Hickman, Olympic swimmer
Mike Harding

"I oppose the Jackson's Wharf development most vehemently. The original concept of Castlefield as an urban heritage park and the early work of Jim Ramsbottom in particular was truly exciting. Then the big money moved in and the dream was hijacked. Brutal Euroboxes, with neither imagination nor taste to ameliorate them, were thrown up piecemeal in one of the worst cases of planning blight I can think of, so that now Manchester looks like a city designed by a schizophrenic drunk with attention deficiency disorder.

I¹ve watched what was a flagship of urban regeneration become a visual and social cess pit largely due to the unbridled greed of developers and a Town Hall that seems in thrall to big business, and which looks to satisfying the aims of the money men rather than the needs of the citizens of Castlefield or Manchester at large. I am no fool and realise that places have to develop or die - yet what
has happened at Castlefield is not development but destruction; a wonderful space that had the potential to be an example to the rest of Europe of how to develop a post-industrial landscape now looks like something from the bad days of blind Town Hall megalomania. I worked as a navvy on the Hulme Five project and saw what happened there - we knew we were working on a trashy and cynical development and when, as predicted, it was demolished thirty odd years later saw that we were in fact right. The cost in social and monetary terms to the people of this city was and still is enormous.
I have seen over the years the public spaces of Manchester such as Piccadilly Gardens turned over to commerce and, in the case of Piccadilly, scarred with a retail and office block brutal concrete wall - it was a public space and is now a concrete mess. So now Jacksons Wharf hasn¹t made the developers the sort of money they were looking for they want to knock it down and build another block of flats, designed with no taste and even less imagination.
What about the skyline and the loss of light in the canal basin? What about the boxed in effect on the historic area this monstrosity will produce? And what about the noble ideal we all started with following Jim Ramsbottom¹s lead, of a place that would celebrate Manchester¹s Industrial heritage (the first industrial city in the world) while at the same time being in the present and facing the future? It seems that cynicism, greed and short-termism run the game now and the people of Manchester City Council really need to look deep into their hearts and think about what they have done and are doing to this once great city." - Mike Harding, musician, author & BBC Radio 2 presenter
Mike Amesbury "As the Assistant Exec Member for Culture & Leisure as well as being a Manchester resident, I must object to what is an inappropriate development in an area of significant historical and cultural significance." - Labour councillor Mike Amesbury (Fallowfield)
Pat Karney "The Government should back the Council's decision to reject this proposal and Peel should go back to the drawing board - it would destroy the character of Castlefield. It is a very important area." - Labour councillor Pat Karney (Harpurhey)
Marc Ramsbottom "The architect for this scheme, Ian Simpson has done some great buildings in this city, but sadly this is not going to be one of them. It is out of scale and going to dominate the other buildings in the area, especially the Middle Warehouse/Castle Quay. We urge people to voice their views on this development." - Liberal councillor Marc Ramsbottom (city centre)
Paul Shannon "I do hope members of the committee take heed of the numerous objections, most of which are based on sound planning grounds. I would tend to agree that this proposal represents an over-development of the site. It seems to me that the planned development is not in keeping with its neighbours." - Liberal councillor Paul Shannon (Rusholme)
Anthony McCaul "The development is totally out of keeping with the character of Castlefield. This area is one of the jewels in Manchester's crown - with rich industrial heritage. This proposal - more in keeping with something out of Star Trek - is unacceptable. I'm calling on the Government to back the Council's decision to turn down this application." - Labour candidate Anthony McCaul (city centre)
Eye On Manchester "We already have a large number of rectangular glass structures of a similar type dotted around Manchester and most other cities. This one would destroy Castlefield’s unique character as a place that exemplifies the industrial revolution era in Manchester. It would clash with the surrounding buildings in a most jarring way." -
Castlefield and Jackson's Wharf (on the right) at present
What next?
The truth is, the only way this development will be turned down by the Government is if the public have their say.
Please attend the Public Inquiry on November 25th - 28th at 10am
Mechanics Institute Conference Centre, 103 Princess Street, M1 6DD [map]

You must signal your intention that you wish to speak, before 10am on Nov 25th

(it is possible that the Government Inspector may allow further public comments on other days)
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