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Blackley - Manchester

The Blackley site presented one of Harrow Estates’ biggest challenges. The derelict site had been used for manufacturing dyestuffs and vulcanized rubber since the late 19th Century, with previous owners including AstraZeneca and ICI.

The 44 acre site was split into four parcels; the former production site, the storage and railhead area, laboratories and Recreation Ground.

The former production site and laboratory site were bisected by the River Irk which in its canalised form was prone to flash flooding. and required considerable hydraulic modelling. The works to all four sites were undertaken over a 2 year period, including: 


  • Removal of hydrocarbon contamination hotspots from sites 1, 2A and 3.
  • Removal of large amount of contaminated earthworks and disposal of untreatable materials from site 2.
  • Removal of significant relic structures. These were crushed and re-processed into recycled aggregate for use on the site.
  • Widening of the River Irk corridor to reduce the impact of flooding on the site and allow further development on the former floodplain.
  • The site was reclaimed to create space for 250,000 sq ft of commercial development on Site 2 and approximately 400 homes on Sites 1, 2A and 3.
  • The reclamation of this site has removed a large and longstanding blight from the village of Blackley.
  • The improvements to the River Irk include a new river bank with potential for a riverside walkway as part of the future residential development.
  • The scheme was undertaken working closely with North Manchester Regeneration.

Key Facts

No. Acres: 44

No. Units: 400

Commercial Space: 250,000 sq ft

Requirements: Demolition, Infrastructure, Planning, Decontamination

Purchased From: Astra Zeneca

Sold To: George Wimpey / Barratt / Campack

Previous Classification: Brownfield