Victoria North (formerly The Northern Gateway) progress update
Report of the Interim Director of Housing and Residential Growth
The report provides an update on progress being made in delivering the Victoria North initiative (formerly known as Northern Gateway); which is seeking to transform 155 hectares of land at the northern edge of the City Centre through the residential led regeneration of the Lower Irk Valley, New Cross and Collyhurst neighbourhoods.
The Committee considered a report of the Interim Director of Housing and Residential Growth providing an update on the progress being made in delivering the Victoria North initiative (formerly Northern Gateway) which is seeking to transform 155 hectares of land at the northern edge of the City Centre through Collyhurst, New Cross and the Lower Irk Valley.
Key points and themes in the report included:
- In March 2019, Executive approved a final version of the Strategic Regeneration Framework which set out the vision for 15,000 homes over 15-20 years and offers the guidance document for both the joint venture with FEC and landowners.
- In February 2020, Executive approved the Strategic Business plan of the JV and the initial development area business plan
- In total, it is anticipated that 988 new homes will be delivered through the JV by no later than 2025. Progress is being made on Collyhurst Village Phase 1
- Executive agreed to provide a facility agreement to FEC to finance the development on commercial terms
- The report discusses the coordination between Victoria North and development at North Manchester Health Campus
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- Councillor White introduced the report stating that it represents a key part of regeneration for the city as the biggest UK housing scheme on site with a significant investment in green space, reclamation of the valley and lots of decontamination works;
- CouncillorKarney spoke to the committee in his capacity as a local councillor, stating that Collyhurst has waited over 11 years since the coalition cancelled the previous development proposals. The scheme will deliver 240 new homes, 100 of which will be Council-owned. Collyhurst is the gateway to North Manchester and it’s central to the renaissance and renewal of North Manchester and it’s good to see that North Manchester voices are being heard to lead the country in building more council houses;
- Councillor Flanagan spoke to the committee in his capacity as a local councillor, stating that FEC’s vision for the area was the most superior and he is delighted to see the delivery of new Council houses and 15,000 new homes. Officers are listening to ensure existing residents aren’t displaced and he requests that the Committee supports local members in setting up a committee to oversee the development project. There are concerns around facilities such as the lack of school, health provision and removal of existing shops. Also, the scheme needs to ensure grey water capture to help the Irk Valley alongside the electrification of car charging points;
- What facilities will be provided for the local community such as health, education and transport in addition to job opportunities?
- How will housing profits be reinvested and the socially rented properties managed?
- The development of Victoria North, Northern Gateway and NMGH developments all benefit North Manchester. While it’s good to see the inclusion of the voluntary sector and focus around ‘Our Manchester’ values, there needs to be wider involvement of councillors locally so elected members are better informed;
- Ambition around passivhaus is positive and hopefully consideration is being given to homes that will cool down easier rather than retaining heat. There’s a need to consider heat islands in the development scheme in addition to the potential flood risk mitigation issues which pose a particular problem in the upper valley up to Oldham and Bury;
- The target of 16% affordable housing appears particularly low given the structure of this scheme, if this scgeme can’t deliver 20% affordable housing, how can anything?
The Head of Residential Growth ran through a presentation on the project with particular updates around the upcoming delivery of 30 homes in Collyhurst Village where determination is expected in August/September. The scheme will see FEC build-out the developments and then the Council will take ownership of the social rent properties. 29 demolitions are due to take place and a 1.3 Ha park is to be constructed. The difficulty is around unlocking the lower Irk valley due to constraints caused by historic contamination and rail infrastructure. £51.6m funding has been secured and contracting team have been appointed;
The Head of Work and Skills stated that from the outset of the scheme key partners are around the table. NMGH is waiting for DHSC approval as is Parkhouse Manchester/GMMHT. The updated social value policy from March is the basis for the scheme’s social value approach.
HIF money gives investment into the river park;
The Head of Residential Growth stated that the provision of new social and community infrastructure is vital to ensure that the neighbourhood is connected going forward. Lots of health facilities are needed including dentists and but there’s a need to agree the long-term funding from the NHS to ensure health provision catches-up. The scheme is looking to provide accommodation for existing retailers to remain in the local area. Net Zero carbon developments and low carbon housing are to be delivered alongside a focus on reducing carbon use/thermal insulation coupled with electric vehicle charging points. Over 40 Ha of new green space will be created with appropriate trees rather than tokenistic trees around the area. There is a challenge due to the flooding risk and the project team are using an Environment Agency framework to identify expertise and ensure the wider catchment area is considered as a whole.
The Interim Director of Housing and Residential Growth stated that the social housing will be managed by the Council alongside the newly transferred Northwards properties;
The Head of Residential Growth discussed the breadth of scheme including its size and scale alongside the wider framework for North Manchester area. The project team are working with Homes England, TfGM and education colleagues but there is a challenge around the funding, by comparison Ebbsfleet has a £350m infrastructure budget. In relation to the volume of affordable housing, there is an ongoing commercial negotiation with a registered provider so no clarity can be offered yet however the multi-phased nature of the project means it will ride through a number of development cycles: present issues are Brexit, pandemic and materials crisis;
Councillor White encouraged the need for Executive members to work together to establish the best approach to regeneration in the area and stated that the scheme as a whole will deliver 20% affordable housing but this depends on the nature of each individual development.
- To note the report
- Future reports don’t need to consider the background but should set out how risks and issues are being overcome as the scheme develops.
- Future reports should include reference to the river valleys coordination and management plan, this report did not mention the work that is currently taking place;
4. Committee to feedback to Executive members around the most productive means of raising issues between Executive members on the scheme.
- Victoria North (Northern Gateway) Progress Update, item 36. PDF 346 KB
- Appendix 1 - Victoria North, item 36. PDF 4 MB