New 42-storey tower block in Greengate will ‘ruin the Salford skyline’

Salford’s skyline has been described as grim, boring and lacking character by some councillors.

<p>Plans for a new 42-storey tower with 444 apartments. Credit: Renaker</p>

Plans for a new 42-storey tower with 444 apartments. Credit: Renaker

Councillors have criticised the regeneration of the Greengate area on the edge of Manchester city centre, with one saying it is the ‘grimmest place on earth’.

It came as plans for a 42-storey tower with 444 apartments were approved.

The residential building off Trinity Way had already been granted planning permission in principle, but councillors were asked to approve the final details.

The planning panel gave the green light – but some councillors were critical.

Why has it been called grim?

Speaking from the 100 Embankment building, one of Salford’s newest city centre office blocks, Conservative councillor Bob Clarke said the area is ‘grim’.

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He said: “Just look out at the complete and utter devastation. It’s grim. It’s the grimmest place on earth. I look out these windows and the life drains out of me.

“It is the most depressing view I have ever seen in my entire life.

“In generations to come, just like in my hometown of Birmingham, they’ll stand back and say, ‘What the hell did we do with all this concrete and glass?’

“We’re doing it. It’s awful. There’s no heritage. It’s just all gone. It’s just boring.”

Plans for a new 42-storey tower with 444 apartments. Credit: Renaker

Blackfriars and Trinity councillor Jane Hamilton, who represents residents who live near the development, said it is ‘sad’ to see the area change so ‘drastically’.

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Fellow Labour councillor John Warmisham was also critical of the recent regeneration of Greengate, lamenting the loss of historic buildings in the city.

He said the new tower would ruin the Salford skyline, hemming in historic buildings like the Blueprint Studios, the Eagle pub and the Collier Street Baths.

However, since the plans were first approved, amendments aimed at reducing the ‘dominance’ of the new tower over locally listed buildings have been made.

‘Turning into a housing estate’

Planning panel chairman Ray Mashiter reminded councillors that Greengate had recently been used as a car park which served Manchester city centre.

Responding to concerns from Coun Clarke that Salford is ‘turning into Manchester’s housing estate’, he said the city’s culture is ‘stronger than that’.

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The Tory councillor had described the new development as ‘anaemic’.

He said: “That cathedral out there, that’s architecture. This is just jenga. It looks like somebody’s just drawn a block and put Jenga on it. It’s awful.”

What was said in its favour?

But Labour councillor Philip Cusack was supportive of the development.

He said: “This demonstrates that we’re becoming a European 21st century city.

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“I think the design standards here are up with some of the highest design standards I’ve seen in tall buildings – not only in this country but across Europe.

“The fact that we’re preserving some of our local heritage really well here, that we’re providing public realm opportunities that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise, shows that this is a sensitive development, yet a modern one.

“I think it’s something that we should applaud. It’s a development that will sit well within the city’s townscape for generations to come.”

The reserved matters application by developer Renaker was approved.