Over the last few months, the CLT has been busy working on the Chorlton Vision, with local traders, Chorlton Voice, councillors and others. We have published our Initial Vision which sets out a series of priorities for public realm, the environment, movement, property and identity. Our plans for the Picture House would make a major contribution to realising the Vision.
We also continue to make the case to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, through their agents Avison Young, to ensure the re-development of the precinct reflects the priorities in the Vision and the aspirations of local residents. Interested Developers have now submitted their bids to GMPF and we are waiting to hear about next steps. The CLT is keen to work with the development team to ensure the precinct development aligns with the Chorlton Vision and complements our plans for the neighbouring Picture House. There are two critical elements of the precinct development that we are keen to see addressed early in the process:
- The precinct development is expected to see a significant increase in residential property in the centre of Chorlton (up to 16,000 sq m of housing on what is currently office space at Graeme House and the car park) and a small drop in the retail/commercial space. We want to ensure balanced development in our district centre and want to ensure the extra homes are complemented with appropriate local public service and leisure/retail provision.
- Our longer-term plans have always included an idea to create a new public square by closing the end of Nicolas Road onto Manchester Road. The principle of reducing traffic access points off Manchester Road was raised by the City Council when it consulted on traffic reduction plans to complement the cycle way back in January 2021 – the CLT set out its thoughts at the time here. The precinct plans could provide real impetus to this idea and improve the attractiveness of both developments while creating a new central meeting place where Chorlton can host markets and other outdoor events.
Although we have not yet been invited to sit down at the table with the developers, there are meetings taking place with the City Council and we will be continuing to impress upon all the parties that it is essential that the voice of the local community and the ideas we have put forward are brought into the wider development process. We are approaching some critical decision-points for the centre of Chorlton that will set the tone for the sort of investment that comes forward and the vibrancy of our District Centre for many years to come. We can see plans emerging and development taking place in many of our neighbouring district centres; Withington, Stretford and Sale are all getting a boost. We want Chorlton to be able to hold its own in relation to neighbouring district centres so it can meet the needs and aspirations of current residents and future visitors.
The initial Chorlton Vision is now being presented to Manchester City Council to secure recognition for our priorities and a collaborative Chorlton Vision Board will be established to oversee its roll out. And, in parallel, we will continue to try to engage with the precinct development process.
Watch this space for more news!
Chair, Chorlton Community Land Trust