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25th February 2015

The Orange Grove to be converted into flats

Concerns have been raised by Fallowfield locals over the proposal to turn The Orange Grove into flats

The Orange Grove, situated in the heart of the Fallowfield area, will be demolished and converted into flats. This building, located in Wilmslow Road, was previously a student pub, but it was closed over two years ago and has since remained vacant.

Around 35 flats and commercial spaces are planned to be developed on the ground floor. Those supporting the development have asserted that it will be a key element for the development of the area by the construction of a ‘high quality building’.

However, this project has raised concerns within the Fallowfield community and residents have complained that this will significantly increase the student population in the area. They are concerned that incidents of antisocial behaviour might increase, as they believe it did after Mayfield Court was developed into student accommodation.

The committee backing the development have responded that students are not the target of the development. They added: “[We] acknowledge that there are concerns about the proposal. However, [we] consider these to have been addressed.”

Chris Paul, Withington councillor, asserted that this development may probably cause more risks for cyclists, considering the consequences that higher traffic could have on the nearby Fallowfield Loop. He further added that last year a cyclist died after an accident on Wilbraham Road.

He said: “This authority has got a very poor record, in my view, of enforcing proper arrangements around building sites for cyclists and pedestrians, including some of our own developments.”

After mentioning the development project of Whitworth Art Gallery as a positive model, he said: “I would urge the committee to consider requiring there to be some very clear arrangements during construction to ensure pedestrians and cyclists are safeguarded.”

Withington MP John Leech claimed that Fallowfield needs more accommodation for families and not new flats. Concerning the decision taken by the council to approve the plan, he said: “This is another example of Labour’s one party state in Manchester ignoring the legitimate concerns of local residents.”

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