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‘Retain architects from start to finish’, urges new Manchester housing guidance

Churchgate 3
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Manchester City Council has drawn up a design guidance document for all new homes in the city, which includes a call for architects to be kept on projects through to delivery 

Prepared by a panel including former RIBA president Stephen Hodder of Hodder & Partners and Andy von Bradsky, former chair of PRP Architects, the Manchester Residential Quality Guidance has been drawn up to promote design excellence, setting minimum space and environmental standards.

Among its key goals is to clamp down on developers replacing architects once initial planning permission has been secured.

‘To maintain the original design, intent and quality of the proposals through to delivery, it is preferable to retain key consultants from the planning application design team including the architect,’ says the draft document.

In situations where it is not possible to retain the architect, the council may secure its role as a design guardian via the use of a section 106 obligation, the document advises.

Phil Doyle, director at 5plus Architects, welcomed the guidance. ‘The document ticks all of the right boxes and sets out all of the appropriate principles,’ he said. ‘I particularly like that the concept architect should be retained throughout delivery.

‘The proof of the pudding will be aligning the design aspirations with current viability issues and values.’

Hodder, whose practice is based in Manchester, said: ‘I am intensely aware of the importance of the role we have been given.

‘We’re not just talking about the look and feel of new residential development, but a wholesale city-wide approach to how people live, how they interact with the homes they live in, and how those homes impact on the carbon reduction ambitions of the city.’

The document has been prepared to help the city deliver its target of 25,000 homes over the next 10 years.

Gordon Tero, director of Stride Treglown’s Manchester office, said: ‘The guidance is a welcome framework for designs to be assessed against in a range of forums, recognising many of the issues that, as architects, we always endeavour to address.

‘As always we look forward to understanding how they will be applied in day-to-day operations.

‘However the broad ranging nature of the guidance gives us confidence that it can only benefit the built environment and social balance of our city.’

The draft document is out for public consultation until 2 October.

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