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Four previously rejected development proposals could be approved by Manchester Council this week

Four developments which were knocked back at a mammoth council meeting in Manchester last month are set to be put to a vote again this week.

The applications – which include a new Lidl in Chorlton, retirement flats in Didsbury and student halls in Ardwick – are back on the planning committee’s agenda.

It comes after the meeting – which lasted more than three and a half hours – saw the £294m redevelopment of the Great Northern Warehouse approved.

Plans for a six-storey eco-friendly office block in Didsbury and emergency homeless accommodation in Ardwick were also given the green light.

But plans to bring student accommodation back into use and a proposal to build retirement apartments were rejected.

Plans for new courts at a tennis club in Didsbury were partly approved, but the committee asked for more information to address local concerns about some courts being too noisy.

Meanwhile, a decision on controversial plans for a new Lidl next to a busy junction in Chorlton was deferred so that councillors could visit the site first.

All four applications are back on the agenda for the planning committee’s next meeting on Thursday (March 16) and will be put to another vote by councillors.


Lidl in Chorlton

Plans to demolish a former office block to make way for a new Lidl next to Chorlton Park have divided opinion locally. Many have welcomed the addition of a discount supermarket to the neighbourhood described as a ‘food desert’.

However, some have raised concerns about the location of the store at the junction of Mauldeth Road West and Nell Lane which is surrounded by five schools. Headteachers, parents and residents have objected to the application while local councillors called for more road safety measures to be introduced.

This convinced the committee to visit the site before making a decision. But with teachers’ strikes affecting schools this week, the committee may not have the opportunity to see what traffic is usually like before the meeting.

Retirement apartments in Didsbury

Plans for a retirement living complex in Spath Road were rejected again, two years after a similar – but bigger – scheme was refused planning permission. Developers McCarthy and Stone redesigned the scheme after an appeal to overturn the council’s decision in December 2020 was dismissed last March.

The latest plans would see 26 apartments created as opposed to the 34 previously proposed. However, local residents and councillors said the proposal would still be an ‘overdevelopment’ of the site known as Jessiefield.

The planning committee rejected the application after raising concerns about parking and the scale of the development, asking council officers to address this before bringing the proposal back. In a new report, town hall planners have stood by their recommendation to approve the application, saying that the height of the building has now been reduced and six parking spaces added.

St Gabriel’s Hall in Ardwick

Councillors knocked back plans to redevelop former student accommodation at St Gabriel’s Hall after concerns were raised about a lack of disabled parking. The former student halls at Oxford Place established in 1920 which are now empty would be refurbished and new blocks built to create 319 beds in total.

Labour councillor John Flanagan said the committee should ‘send a clear message’ that only offering two accessible parking spaces on the site is not acceptable.

The committee was ‘minded to refuse’ which means council officers have had to work with the developer to address these concerns.

Since the meeting last month, McLaren Property – the developer working with The Sisters of the Cross & Passion who originally set up the halls – has added an extra two parking spaces for disabled people, taking the total to four. Council officers say there is no policy about how much parking purpose-built student accommodation should have, meaning there is no reason to refuse it.

The Northern in Didsbury

The lawn tennis and squash club in Palatine Road submitted two applications for its planned makeover – but the committee only approved one of them. Overall, three of the existing grass courts would be replaced by all-weather courts while two padel courts would be created at the members-owned club.

However, residents raised concerns about the noise created by padel tennis – a variation of the sport which is played in enclosed courts. The committee approved the first application for three synthetic courts, but deferred its decision on the padel courts asking for noise concerns to be addressed.

A new report by council officers reveals that The Northern’s acoustic specialist has provided more information about the noise that would be created from the enclosed courts and how this would affect neighbours. They conclude that there would be no ‘significant adverse impacts’ to surrounding properties and recommended that the planning application is approved.

The planning committee will meet on Thursday (March 14) at 2pm.

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