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Urban Splash faces down Tutti Frutti fears

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Urban Splash has played down fears of waning interest in its innovative Tutti Frutti contest, after it emerged that only six of the 20 competition-winning schemes are to go ahead.

The developer wants to create a ‘pick and mix’ street – similar to Amsterdam’s famous Borneo Sporenburg island – featuring an eventual total of 26 different self-build houses on the canalside plot in New Islington, Manchester.

Last year, Urban Splash invited architect-client teams to enter the unusual contest – the winners of which would be given the chance to buy one of the plots for between £160,000 and £200,000.

Urban Splash director Nicola Wallis confirmed that only half a dozen proposals had made it into planning but said the developer was still ‘completely committed’ to building the entire street. However, she admitted the delivery of the project – which will sit within Will Alsop’s New Islington masterplan – would now be split into several phases.

She said: ‘Many [of the original winners] didn’t want to go through because of the commitment needed in terms of timescales. The type of people looking at buying into Tutti Frutti are probably looking at the residential market anyway.

‘[But] some of those entering the original phase are going to return in the second phase, and said a later stage suits them better.

‘For example, one entrant hopes to build his house right at the end of the street so he wants to do that once the others have been completed.’

Eddie Smith, acting head of urban regeneration company New East Manchester, confessed the lack of schemes coming forward was disappointing. He said: ‘We were jointly involved in the selection of the designs in the contest so we were expecting more than six out of the 20.

‘The project is quite a challenge and means some people will have to make some very big life choices... You’d have to take a considerable leap of faith to see what the area could be like in 10 years’ time.’

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