Manchester has seen a huge amount of regeneration and development in recent years. Some very sizable schemes have transformed the city, and more are underway or in planning. It’s probably fair to say, however, that many of these schemes have focussed on providing city living apartments and commercial space in the city centre itself. All that could be about to change though with the Victoria North project, which as the name suggests is north of the city centre, and which we will look at more closely here.
Victoria North is the latest name for a project that has been under discussion for several years. The scheme was previously known as the Northern Gateway. It is said to be the biggest renewal project Manchester has ever seen. Victoria North broadly describes an area slightly to the north east of Manchester city centre and fanning out from Victoria Station almost two miles towards Queens Park. It is centred on Rochdale Road and bounded roughly by Oldham Road and the River Irk.
The area encompasses both greenfield and brownfield areas but there are also established uses including some existing residential communities, which will be disrupted by the plans. Much of the area is more correctly known as Collyhurst – a suburb that has not benefitted much from Manchester city centre’s regeneration and rising prosperity in recent years.
Victoria North is a joint partnership between Manchester City Council and Far East Consortium International Limited or FEC, which the council appointed as its selected investment and delivery partner in April 2017. FEC has interests in several countries worldwide and a number of other schemes in Manchester. It has recently established an office in the city to progress its work here.
A draft strategic regeneration framework (SRF) for the area was published in July 2018. This formed the basis of a public consultation exercise after which a final version of the SRF was approved by Manchester City Council’s executive in early 2019. This SRF replaced a number of previous frameworks and masterplans for the area.
According to the developers, Victoria North is intended to be a planned community, designed to help with the shortfall in housing in Manchester. It covers an area of around 155 ha and will comprise seven separate neighbourhoods. There will be around 15,000 new homes, which could eventually have 40,000 residents. It is currently anticipated that over 500 homes will be built each year and around 1,000 homes have already secured planning. The GDV of the scheme is over £4bn.
Victoria North comprises seven separate districts. These are known as Collyhurst Village, South Collyhurst, New Cross, New Town, Red Bank, Vauxhall Gardens and Smedley Dip & Eggington Street.