Since April 2012 local communities, under the Localism Act, have been able to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for their local area, putting in place planning policies for the future development and growth of the neighbourhood.
The Forum began to discuss the possibility of developing a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for Castlefield early in 2015 and, following a considerable amount of consultation locally, a proposed boundary was submitted to Manchester City Council in January 2016 (See map 1) together with notice of our intention to apply for Castlefield Forum to become a designated body for the purpose of overseeing the NP.
The Council carried out a formal consultation during March & April 2016 and received a significant level of interest with 165 submissions, the vast majority in favour of the proposal. However, in a report to Neighbourhoods & Environment Scrutiny Committee in July 2016, Officers recommended a much smaller neighbourhood area than the one
proposed by the Forum, excluding St Johns and the St Georges area of Hulme, using
Liverpool Road and the Mancunian Way as boundaries. (See map 1).
The Scrutiny Committee recommended that Officers consult further with Ward Councillors and the Forum. A meeting with Officers took place and the St Georges area was accepted by Officers as appropriate to be included.
The Council also decided at this stage to produce a Policy Framework for dealing with all NP proposals in future. The Policy Framework excludes all areas designated as Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) areas. For the city centre, including Castlefield, this meant the exclusion of significant areas of our neighbourhood. Despite our efforts to seek exceptions to this policy, to enable the inclusion of the Museum of Science & Industry and Pioneer Quay in our NP, the Policy Framework was approved by Executive in September 2016.
Whilst the Council has compromised to some degree by allowing the inclusion of St George’s, the Forum has also compromised through accepting the exclusion of a small part of Knott Mill that residents asked to be included and all the SRF areas (Museum of Science & Industry, Upper & Lower Campfield Markets, St John’s Quarter, Pioneer Quay, Castlefield Green etc).
Unfortunately the latest proposal from officers does not include some significant mature residential schemes where residents feel very strongly they are part of Castlefield. These are not SRF areas so we do not understand the reason for their exclusion. These areas are St John’s Gardens, one of the earliest of the ‘new’ city centre residential developments and their close neighbours Rossetti Place & Bauhaus. We also made a case for moving the boundary from Chester Road to the southern extent of Deansgate to include Deansgate Quay which would enable long standing residents with a strong affinity to Castlefield to be included in the NP boundary. (See map 2)
This compromise position has been supported by Ward Councillors and by the Neighbourhoods & Environment Scrutiny Committee, which on 11 October recommended the Executive to adopt it. As Chair of the Committee, Cllr Kevin Peel wrote to all members of the Executive urging them to support this recommendation. However, at its meeting on 19 October, the Executive approved the Officers recommended boundary (See map 2) and rejected the Forum’s proposals.
This is the Council’s final position. The Forum now needs to consider its position and, following a discussion at the Forum Committee, a recommendation will be made to the wider Forum for the Castlefield Community to consider.
Many thanks to Jonathan Porter for production of the maps