New Islington (formerly the Cardroom Estate) was identified as one of English Partnership's (now the HCA) 'Millennium Communities' to be delivered as a public/private partnership. The great thing about our appointment as lead developer was that it was based on our reputation and not on any proposed plans. This meant that we could conduct true and meaningful consultation with the existing community and not impose an already developed plan on them.
Taking on the development of what was one of Manchester's worst estates was always going to be a challenge. The bones of the plan came from architect Will Alsop's sketch, made with a glass of wine in one hand and a thick felt pen in the other – with Alsop there is no other way...
The plan is a great piece of strategic thinking, it is a great piece of urban design. Alsop drew on the benefits of the site, the two existing Victorian canals that surrounded it, and figured that creating a new canal through the middle of the site linking the existing ones would open the site up and provide a real focal point.
We wanted New Islington to work like your favourite neighbourhood, but better. It represents a real, honest endeavour to creating a community from taking the existing residents as a starting point and introducing the new. By providing a mix of homes - apartments, houses, self build, shells, a mix of businesses and amenities - offices, shops, restaurants, health centre, school, park, we hoped to attract a mix of ownership - renters, outright buyers, purchasers through government schemes, social tenants and a mix of people - young professionals, families, downsizers, the list goes on!
Our ambition was (and still is!) to create the best place in Manchester. We think we've gone an awfully long way to achieving that. We're not there yet, of course, but we have laid the foundation to achieve what we set out to.
The mix of architecture at New Islington will be key to creating a sense of place. New Islington is on the cusp; public realm works, a health centre, housing at Chips, Islington Square, Guest Street and The Guts, all feel like the scheme's just been let out of the traps. It's even got its own park called Cotton Field and a new marina where there are moorings available to rent.
Call our commercial team to find out about office, retail and leisure space at Chips.
Type of space
Chips project page