Didsbury residents fight plans for new 75 flat apartment block

The developer behind plans to build 75 flats at a Tesco car park in Manchester has appealed local councillors’ decision to refuse planning permission

The Didsbury development dubbed Blackbird Yard will now be revisited at an inquiry with a government-appointed inspector set to make the final decision.

It comes after Manchester council’s planning committee voted against the development at the bottom of the Tesco car park off Parrs Wood Lane. More than 200 residents wrote to the local authority raising concerns about the traffic and parking problems that the build-to-rent scheme would cause.

Developer Dandara scaled down the scheme following feedback at a public consultation by removing one storey and 20 apartments – but it would still be taller than the historic clock tower just metres away from the development. It comes five years after plans to build a Mcdonald’s drive-thru restaurant on the site were thrown out following a campaign by local residents and councillors.

Members of the group which ran the ‘East Didsbury Not Lovin’ It’ campaign have come together again to oppose the latest proposal to develop part of the car park. A spokesperson for East Didsbury Community Group said: “There’s cross-party agreement that it’s the wrong development in the wrong place.

“There were more than 200 objections. Residents don’t feel listened to.

“It’s not residents just saying we don’t want development there. The scale of this is wholly inappropriate.”

Last summer, councillors on the planning committee voted against the scheme. It comes after residents raised concerns about the traffic it would add to the roads around it which are already ‘busy’ and argued that the number of parking spaces – less than half the number of flats – would not be enough.

The planning committee accepted the recommendation of town hall officers to reject the application on the grounds that the high-density development does not meet local housing needs and it does not have enough parking on the site. Councillors also agreed that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that the development would not have an unacceptable impact on traffic in the area.

Didsbury East councillor James Wilson said he is ‘disappointed’ that the developer is now appealing this decision. He said: “We are disappointed that Dandara has chosen this course of action instead of listening to the concerns of local residents and trying to work with the community to address them.

“We’d be happy to explore alternative uses for this car park with Tesco which would meet the needs of the area and be acceptable to the local community but, unfortunately, they have been unwilling to engage with the council on this.”

Tesco was contacted for comment. The company which owns the site said it is working closely with Dandara and is now awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

A spokesperson from Dandara Living said it hopes the appeal will lead to a ‘more balanced planning assessment’. They said: “Dandara Living undertook extensive public consultation with the local community including two public exhibitions.

“We listened to feedback from local residents and the proposed development was amended before a planning application was submitted. The site is in a highly accessible location, will provide much-needed new rental and affordable homes for the area and would deliver sustainable development.

“The scheme will now be determined through a planning appeal, and we welcome a more balanced assessment of the proposal.”

Members of the public can make representations to the inquiry by searching for case reference APP/B4215/W/23/3314646 on the planning inspectorate’s website before March 21, 2023. A date for the inquiry has not been published.


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