A row of historic cottages in Manchester which lay empty for nearly a decade have been brought back to life as affordable homes following a £1.1m refurbishment project.
The six terraced houses known as Westwood Cottages, which have Grade II listed status and are owned by One Manchester, have been given a facelift by Salford-based contractor MC Construction.
The cottages, in Raby Street, Moss Side, were built in 1876 as alms houses by prominent industrialist John Robinson in memory of his sister, Edith Marianne Robinson.
They stand as individual dwellings in one block built in Flemish Gothic style.
The cottages were vacated almost a decade ago and their condition subsequently deteriorated.
They became a target for vandalism and anti-social behaviour, and many of their original features were removed.
One Manchester, which provides housing and community services across the city, appointed MC Construction to carry out the renovations following the granting of planning approval and listed building consent.
The cottages are in an area of Moss Side earmarked for regeneration, including the delivery of new and suitable housing stock.
MC Construction’s team carried out a comprehensive programme of internal and external repairs and refurbishments and the cottages have now been returned to use as two-bedroom homes for affordable rent.
The project team worked closely with planning and local heritage officers to ensure the building was sympathetically refurbished. This involved retaining and restoring key features, including original gothic arched front doors, and using heritage-approved materials such as cast iron guttering, timber framed casement windows, and ironmongery.
Each cottage has had a complete internal refurbishment, including the installation of a new kitchen, bathroom, boiler and heating system and a rewire. Additional living space has been created at each property with a single-storey rear glazed extension to form a conservatory, making the homes more suitable for family accommodation.
Historical features such as mosaic porch floor tiles and the front doors have been retained.
The external works have included a refurbishment of the roof, new windows, repairs to the brickwork, chimneys and stonework, and landscaping.
“The refurbishment of Westwood Cottages has been a tremendously satisfying project for MC Construction,” said David Lowe, managing director at MC Construction.
“Working closely with a number of key stakeholders, we have successfully retained a part of the city’s heritage while giving a new lease of life to this historic building to provide affordable and energy-efficient homes for families in an area where there is a need for this type of accommodation.
“It has been a pleasure working with One Manchester, the city council and the other parties involved to bring this scheme to a successful conclusion.”
One Manchester chief executive, Nicole Kershaw, said: “I am delighted to see the Grade II listed Westwood Cottages back in use as affordable homes for local families.
“The cottages had been empty for several years, and we have worked hard to create light and spacious contemporary homes internally, whilst preserving the heritage qualities and landscaped shared gardens.
“We have also improved the insulation levels to achieve our 2030 energy efficiency targets, meaning the homes will be warm and affordable to run.”