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Jacksons Wharf Protest Picnic postponed

Jonathan Schofield on a planning protest called off as approval date shifts

Written by . Published on March 8th 2011.

Jacksons Wharf Protest Picnic postponed

The Castlefield Forum of residents and businesses doesn’t want to be known for premature protestation.

If you were planning to air your jolly check picnic cloths, dig out the hampers, start making sandwiches and fill sneaky bottles of water with gin and vodka then think again.

Thus the city centre quarter with the campaigning population has decided to postpone a planned picnic against what they consider as the aggressive and unfit building proposed by Peel Group to replace the shoddy old Jacksons Wharf pub. This follows Peel’s decision to defer applying for planning approval from 17 March to 2 June.

An original scheme on the site was thrown out a couple of years ago.

The picnic was due to take place at 1pm this Sunday. Another one will now take place closer to the date of the 2 June Planning Committee meeting.

The crux of the problem is the proposed development’s scale. Peel want to build two apartment blocks on the site. Block A will face the canal and have six storeys, Block B will run parallel to Blantyre Street on four storeys. There will be a glazed foyer and bridges to link the two.

The Castlefield residents and businesses think Block A is ok and Block B is blockheaded. It’s only a maximum of 16 metres from apartments in Blantyre House and Citygate, and would impinge heavily on residents in those buildings.

At the same time the V shaped design is deemed inappropriate by the locals. Instead they are suggesting that Peel Group ditch Block B and in an open-handed gesture of love landscape it as a public or communal gardens.

Ian Christie, spokesman for the Castlefield Residents’ Forum, has previously said on Confidential: “The problem with both the latest and previous proposals is that the developers wish to build more apartments on the site than can be accommodated.

“The sustainability of the whole of the Castlefield basin area depends on preserving its character as a mixed use area. Over-development may lower property values and create a spiral which may reduce the quality of the area with consequent increasing buy-to-let investment and greater transience in the population.”

The idea of a gardens isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. Peel has been generous before.

Remember, amongst other things they donated the site of the Imperial War Museum North for nowt. Of course there were strategic reasons to boost the area of the Quays with another visitor attraction, but this garden, could be branded with their name and be a memorial to their generosity in improving what is the most dramatic urban landscape in Manchester.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

And also Peel should remember that they are essentially the Manchester Ship Canal Company rebranded. The Ship Canal was largely bankrolled by Manchester rate payers money. This would be giving something back.

Anyway, if you were planning to air your jolly check picnic cloths, dig out the hampers, start making sandwiches and fill sneaky bottles of water with gin and vodka then think again. The protest picnic will take place later in the year, when at least it may be warmer.

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