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The Gamecock, Hulme Community Plan

Greater Manchester

The Gamecock is a former pub on the Aquarius Estate in Hulme, South Manchester. The pub was built in the 1970s as part of the wider regeneration of Hulme, which saw the demolition of huge swathes of terraced housing and was replaced with high-rise towers and the infamous Hulme Crescents. Following the announcement of the City Challenge programme by Michael Heseltine in 1991, much of the housing was demolished and rebuilt as low-rise housing. The Gamecock pub, Hopton Court and Cooper House (the two tower blocks adjacent to the pub) survived this period of regeneration and many residents have lived there for over 40 years.

Across Manchester, public land has been sold off at huge discounts to private developers over the last twenty years to build private housing schemes with no affordable housing, commercial office buildings and PBSA (purpose built student accommodation) (cite Tom Gillespie report). The westward expansion of Manchester Metropolitan University has put enormous pressure on the communities of Hulme. Over the last few decades many pubs, shops and services have closed and much of the housing is no longer suitable for its ageing residents. The Gamecock pub has been closed for decades but sits on land where Manchester City Council are the freeholder. The leasehold is owned by a private landowner who has entered into a development partnership with a specialist PBSA developer. Since 2012 the developer has been trying to secure planning permission for a 13 storey, 261-bedroom, student housing tower. In opposition to the developers plans residents formed the campaign group Block the Block and have successfully resisted the planning application at every step.

We have been working with the residents since the summer of 2022, with support from Greater Manchester Tenants Union, to develop an alternative Community Plan for the site to provide much needed social spaces and extra-care housing for the vulnerable residents of Hulme. The site, being public land, offers a great opportunity for a Public-Commons-Partnership where the site could be developed by Manchester City Council in partnership with the local community. Providing a new model for urban development in Manchester, where land is kept in public ownership, and services and housing can be provided for those most in need.