It could be argued that in its own way, the architecture of Prestwich Precinct, or the Longfield Centre, has its own brutalist concrete beauty. But all that is about to be swept away as Bury Council, following its purchase of the Longfield Centre, has entered into a £100million joint venture with Muse Developments which it argues will “create a new beating heart for Prestwich Village”…
Details at the moment don’t seem to go beyond an artist’s impression which shows loads of flats and townhouses, some shops and offices, and an open square market, with lots of developer-speak buzzwords like ‘cultivating an inclusive space’, ‘delivering benefits’, ‘promoting health and wellbeing’, a ‘sustainable future’ etc…
Over the next few months, there are drop-ins, online sessions and a ‘stakeholder’ workshop, as Bury Council states, “to develop the vision for Your Prestwich and get the plans right for the local community”.*
The hype also states that the venture will be ‘Community Led’ and will be ‘cultivating an inclusive place’; yet nowhere does it hint anything about housing affordability for people who want to live in the Village, or affordable rents for those wanting to set up a business. The blurb merely whispers that there will be “a mix of high-quality homes” and “new spaces to help people and businesses to thrive”...
Bury Council’s partner in the enterprise is Muse Developments, which trumpets that “We have a track record of leading complex, area-wide regeneration projects, and the experience to accelerate new neighbourhoods, with the emphasis on delivery, quality, and sustainability”…
…Except that its involvement with the English Cities Fund (made up of Muse, Legal and General and Homes England) in Chapel Street, Salford proved incredibly controversial recently, as it built eye-wateringly expensive houses and apartments well out of the pocket of local people, giving little back in the process.
The Salford Star documented how the Chapel Street scheme evicted a local convenience store owner who had served the community for over thirty five years; obtained £millions in subsidies and public underwriting for luxury dwellings, and paid nothing in Section 106 monies, instead creating a secretive Development Trust Account to cross subsidise its own developments (see here). Section 106 contributions from developers to local councils are supposed to pay for things like public realm and affordable housing.
While Muse takes on the lucrative housing plans for the Prestwich scheme, Bury Council will provide the funding to demolish the Longfield Centre in 2025, then prepare the site, create a Community Hub and provide all the ‘associated infrastructure, utilities, public realm and landscaping’.
Top of the Bury Council/Muse Joint Venture Objectives, after the ‘regeneration scheme’ itself, is “to secure returns to the Parties” and “to maximise profits”. Within these parameters, the Your Prestwich website states that there will be “lots of opportunities for people to get involved in shaping the plans…that will transform Prestwich Village and cement Prestwich as one of the best places to live in the North West”…
*For more details on the regeneration scheme and how to get involved with ‘shaping the plans’ see the Your Prestwich website – https://yourprestwich.com/
Drop-in Day at Prestwich Library – Sunday 29th January 2023 11am -3pm – details here
Live Online Q and A – Wednesday 1st February 2023, 6:30pm -8:30pm – register here
Stakeholder Workshop – register here
Early 2023 – ‘Initial community conversation’
Spring 2023 – ‘Refining the plans’
Summer 2023 – ‘Consultation on the detailed plans’
Autumn 2023 – ‘Planning application submitted to Bury Council’
2025 – Demolition of the Longfield Centre
The Bury New Road project is hosting a free Shoot Your Own Heritage session at Prestwich Library on Sunday 8th January 10:30am – full details here
An interesting article which raises a number points which most of the residents in Prestwich may not be aware of. Points which now need to be explored in more depth.
I am interested in the sustainability of the project, how many social housing units will be built, and what community facilities will actually be provided in the ‘new Prestwich Village’? These questions will be answered once the details of the funding of the project are released…..if they ever do get released to the public?
For now, hopefully as many Prestwich residents sign up to the various public consultations options, and then provide their input.
I suspect the stakeholders of this project will frown upon the direct and impactful language used in this article?
Muse have ruined many places all they want are flat’s to make money
The saga that is the Longfield Centre Redevelopment rumbles on. Does any rightminded person actually believe that this is no more than a profit making project with a few crumbs thrown reluctantly at the local authority to provide some “community” facilities? There will be no low cost housing or retail units. The public space might be retained with another ugly piece of public art with no relevance to Prestwich. And again it might be abandoned once again maybe just letting the Longfield fall down and revert back to nature.
Bury Council are about profit not even in manchester. Prestwich postcode is m25 as is Radcliffe. M26 Look what’s been spent in Bury Disgraceful. Don’t wonder they can run steam trains up and down charlattans