Maccreanor Lavington and Schulze+Grassov win planning approval for masterplan in Manchester’s Red Bank.



Working on behalf of Far East Consortium (FEC), the developer behind Manchester’s Victoria North joint venture partnership with Manchester City Council, an outline planning application for a new and wild neighbourhood for Manchester driven by Maccreanor Lavington’s Urban Studio and Copenhagen practice Schulze+Grassov has been approved by Manchester City Council.

The approval helps to unlock FEC’s ambitions to deliver up to 4,800 new homes in the emerging Red Bank neighbourhood across a range of tenure types and sizes, including affordable homes.

The first, an outline planning application, is for the delivery of up to 3,250 homes and more than 160,000 sq ft of non-residential floor space to be earmarked for commercial uses, a health centre, primary school, residential amenities and community spaces. This will be accompanied by the creation of new public realm with extensive areas of landscaping, greenspace and wetlands, supporting a minimum 10% biodiversity net gain across the neighbourhood.

The second approval is for a full planning application for FEC’s next phase of delivery on the three plots adjacent to the 634-home Victoria Riverside scheme, which is currently under construction.

This will see the delivery of seven buildings varying in height between six and 34 storeys and comprising 1,550 homes, as well as a new high street that will include 20,000 sq ft of commercial and retail space earmarked for local independent businesses. The homes will comprise a mix of one, two and three-bed apartments and townhouses catering for a diverse mix of homes including build to rent (BTR), affordable and open market sale.

Both planning submissions were centred on the Wild Urbanism concept, which prioritises green space, biodiversity, active travel and public realm as part of the city centre living experience. This puts sustainable living at the forefront of the project. Additionally, the buildings within the masterplan will be delivered to a high sustainability standard which will include the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and green and brown roofs.

The masterplan and outline application proposals were developed by Maccreanor Lavington and Copenhagen-based public realm specialist, Schulze+Grassov with the support from local practice OP-EN and the sustainability experts Useful Projects. The full application was created by Maccreanor Lavington in collaboration with Manchester-based Hawkins/Brown.

Red Bank is one of the first of seven neighbourhoods being regenerated as part of the £4bn Victoria North project, which is one the largest in the UK and will create 15,000 new homes over the next decade.


Kevin Logan, Director of Maccreanor Lavington’s Urban Studio commented: ‘Red Bank’s post-industrial wild river valley is unique in Manchester. Wild Urbanism is a progressive concept that amplifies these attributes and fuses them with the metropolitan urbanity of Manchester –urbanising the valley and wilding the city. Regenerative in its ethos, Red Bank will be a place to live and thrive for all creatures, human and otherwise. Set within this wilderness, social, community and commercial infrastructure support a thriving residential neighbourhood to foster a equitable, active, and resilient new urban dwelling future’.

Oliver Schulze of Schulze+Grassov commented: ‘Weaving the open space and building destinations together to be accessible first on foot and on bike with our fully accessible Climate Loop, will ensure that the public realm underpins new sustainable lifestyles choices in Manchester City Centre. To us this is next-level urbanism for a great city that urgently needs to give shape a more sustainable urban future.”

Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “It’s great to see the momentum continue for this part of the Victoria North programme. This area of the city centre has lain dormant for many years, and it should be cause for celebration that, through our partnership with FEC, we can ensure it meets its full potential. Red Bank will be a new and exciting neighbourhood for our ever-growing city, and we look forward to implementing the next steps in the long-term journey of delivering Victoria North.”

Hilary Brett, project director at FEC, said: “Red Bank is one of the most under-used areas in Manchester, but its proximity to the city centre and the existing natural assets of the River Irk and St Catherine’s Wood make it the ideal location for a thriving new neighbourhood. We are delighted to have received approval and want to thank everyone who has been involved and supported the project to get us to this point. We’re excited to move forward with our next phases of delivery.”


Kevin Logan, (Director of ML Urban Studio) and Oliver Schulze (Schulze+Grassov) are both graduates of the Manchester School of Architecture, where they met in the 1990’s. Having built international careers developing highly respected architecture and urban design studios in Rotterdam and Copenhagen, they are now bringing their international experience back home to Manchester, where their journey to become architects and urban designers began.


Consultants for the project include:

  • Lead designers and Masterplanners – Maccreanor Lavington and Schulze+Grassov
  • Landscape design – Open
  • Sustainability design – Useful Projects
  • Lead technical advisor – WSP
  • Cost consultants and project managers – Arcadis
  • Planning and EIA – Avison Young
  • Consultation specialist – Counter Context
  • HawkinsBrown

Maccreanor Lavington: Maccreanor Lavington was established in London and Rotterdam in the early nineties by Gerard Maccreanor and Richard Lavington. Their diverse portfolio ranges from individual buildings to large scale urban design with expertise in housing, public buildings and the regeneration of town centres and former industrial zones. Urban Studio is led by urbanist, Kevin Logan and was established in 2020 and was grown out of the track record of projects the practice has undertaken to date, the studio will focus on continuing the work of research and masterplanning to shape urbanity.

Schulze+Grassov transforms the urban experience. The multi-skilled urban design studio based in Copenhagen collaborates internationally with urban developers, architects, universities, and cities to design and advise on community-based urban development plans that enrich the everyday lives of all the people who use the city.

OPEN is an integrated design practice that cares passionately about the natural and built environment. Our collective skills and experience combine to allow OPEN to shape a wide range of urban and rural projects and situations, responding to the cultural, environmental, and economic context. We are defined by the diversity of skills within our team, our collaborative approach and our leadership qualities.

Useful Projects is a consultancy specialising in transformative change for the built environment. Our mission is to help organisations tackle significant challenges they are facing to be responsible and sustainable businesses – spanning carbon neutrality, circular economy, and social value creation, to design capability and error reduction. We help our clients find added value in delivering sustainable development.