Ancoats Dispensary, Manchester
Ancoats Dispensary, New Islington: Options Appraisal Study
In May 2011, Heritage Works completed an options appraisal study, examining the potential for future re-use of the Ancoats Dispensary building. The Dispensary is one of the few remaining buildings that remind us of the rich history of Ancoats. It provided much needed healthcare to the local community during the industrialisation of Manchester.
Although finding a solution for the Dispensary was always going to be challenging, we were hopeful that the building's significance and its location at the edge of Manchester city centre, within New Islington Millennium Community, would generate the necessary interest and support from occupiers, grant funders and stakeholders. The building's derelict condition - roofless, windowless and with a gutted interior - would require considerable investment, however.
Despite a very wide-reaching consultation exercise, and local media publicity, we were unsuccessful in finding an end user with capital resources or access to grant funding that would make the project viable. Although many organisations expressed an interest in the building, the capital funding requirement proved prohibitive.
Even the most favoured end-use - low cost flexible workspace - had a very substantial viability gap - in the region of £3 million for a scheme with an end value of perhaps £700,000. It would be difficult to demonstrate to funders that this would provide good value for money. In addition, there was little opportunity to bridge this with grant funding as the two most likely sources (Heritage Lottery Fund and ERDF) would be almost impossible to combine.
The Board of Trustees also considered the potential for Heritage Works to take ownership of the derelict building, with a view to undertaking longer term project development. However, around £200,000 would be needed for emergency works and to maintain the building. Heritage Works did not have access to the funds required, and, without an exit strategy, the risk of taking on such a building was considered too great.
The future of the building now rests with Urban Splash.
Please note that Heritage Works is unable to respond to enquiries about this project.