Salford's MediaCityUK is set to double in size after city council planners gave the go-ahead earlier this month to proposals for up to ten new buildings. Annabel Partridge is associate director at NJL Consulting, the planning consultancy which acted for developer Peel Media UK.
Q. Why did this application land on your desk?
A. I was involved from the outset – and worked with one of my directors as part of the pitch. We have a longstanding relationship with Peel. I had been involved in other Peel projects and have an ongoing relationship with them.
Q. What measures have you put in place to ensure the speedy delivery of the project?
A. We had a clear remit from the outset. We had a clear set timetable through a defined development programme. This covered the five sites in this phase, each with individual deadlines. We proposed a planning performance agreement and the council was proactive and enthusiastic. The agreement means both sides are able to prioritise resources effectively.
Q. What were the main issues you discussed in pre-application discussions with the council?
A. The main challenge was bringing all the development deadlines together. We worked with the architectural teams on technical appraisals – making sure that wind studies, for instance, were completed through regular reviews. It worked very smoothly.
It was eight different schemes, effectively – and we had to work with different technical and architectural teams on each. Each site had slightly different issues. It was a complex project management process.
Q. What planning strategy was in place to help you?
A. Media City was granted outline planning in 2006 and there was a supplementary planning document adopted by the council. All the policies were in place. There were a few changes including the height parameters which involved a number of amendments to the outline scheme. Generally, the vision was delivered.
Q. What did you get out of the process as a planner?
A. It was an honour to be working on a successful urban regeneration project. You learn about these things at university and it is exciting to be working on something you know is going to be delivered.