‘Gold-cladded monstrosity’ gets green light in Manchester city centre but 34-storey block knocked back again

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Of the 54 flats in the M1 Piccadilly development in Store Street, not one will be affordable.

A 15-storey ‘gold-clad monstrosity’ in Manchester has been given the green light at a planning meeting which saw another city centre tower knocked back.

The M1 Piccadilly development in Store Street, featuring 54 flats – none of which would be affordable – was granted planning permission today (June 30).

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It comes after one local Labour councillor described it as a “horrendously ugly building” and criticised the lack of affordable homes within the £15m scheme.

Another controversial high-rise development, developer SimpsonHaugh’s plan for 485 flats off Great Ancoats Street, did not fare so well in front of the planning committee as it was knocked back for a second time.

What happened with the M1 Piccadilly application?

Piccadilly ward councillor Sam Wheeler objected to the M1 Piccadilly application on several grounds – including loss of trees, ‘paltry’ affordable housing offer and design.

Speaking at the planning committee meeting on Thursday (June 30), he said: “I don’t usually make design comments, but it is a horrendously ugly building.

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“It is a gold-cladded monstrosity utterly out of keeping with the surrounding area.”

Developer LW Group, who have the backing of Liverpool footballer Naby Keita, have offered to pay £125,000 towards affordable housing elswhere in the city.

The planning committee also requested that all 30 trees which have been removed from the site are replaced and the building’s design is reviewed.

LW Group director Faizal Atcha said the company will look at the design, but he defended the choice of colour saying that gold is ‘very relevant’ to Manchester.

He said: “We want to put Manchester on the map.

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“You go down to London and you find all different types of architecture – but in Manchester it’s all brick.

“We just want to push through the boundaries of what can be achieved.”

Second knock back for Port Street plans

Earlier in the meeting, SimpsonHaugh’s plans for 485 flats off Great Ancoats Street, including a 34-storey tower in Port Street, which came with a £1m contribution for off-site affordable housing, were rejected for a second time.

A decision on the development had already been deferred after concerns were raised about the scale of the scheme at the last committee meeting.

How the massive residential building with 485 flats in Port Street and Greater Ancoats Street could look, Manchester. Credit: SimpsonHaugh.How the massive residential building with 485 flats in Port Street and Greater Ancoats Street could look, Manchester. Credit: SimpsonHaugh.
How the massive residential building with 485 flats in Port Street and Greater Ancoats Street could look, Manchester. Credit: SimpsonHaugh.

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Town hall planners said that these concerns had been addressed – but the committee voted against the plans by five votes to four because of its height.

Councillors were told that this development was only one storey taller than the masterplan for the area proposes – but they said that is still too tall for the site.

The application will now have to come back to the committee for another vote.

What else happened at the planning meeting?

Councillors also gave the go ahead for a city centre office block in Fountain Street to be completely rebuilt – although the Victorian facade will remain.

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A further four planning applications were approved by the committee at the meeting on Thursday relating to three developments across the city.

Plans for a new bar and music venue at a former hairdressers’ in Oldham Street were approved despite noise objections from those living above it.

Applications to retain a temporary marquee at the British Muslim Heritage Centre in Whalley Range for another three years were also approved despite attracting 17 objections, some claiming the events are affecting neighbours.

Plans to extend a house in Ruabon Road in Didsbury East ward which were also subject to several objections from neighbouring residents approved too..

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