Plans for 1,500 Manchester city centre apartments given approval despite affordability concerns

Plans to build more than 1,500 apartments across Manchester city centre, including two new skyscrapers, have been given the green light by councillors.

Almost 1,000 apartments – none of which will be affordable – are set to be built in two 51-storey buildings off Great Jackson Street next to Deansgate Square.

A 15-storey apartment block featuring 107 flats off Chapeltown Street near Piccadilly Station was also approved despite offering no affordable housing.

But up to 60 % of the 461 homes which were granted planning permission at the former Boddingtons Brewery site would be affordable, council chiefs said.

A total of 988 apartments are planned as part of the two 51-storey skyscrapers which would be located in the south of the city centre.

None of the apartments would be affordable, but Renaker – the developer behind the neighbouring Deansgate Square development – agreed to contribute £90,000 towards affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

Councillors described the sum as an ‘insult’ – but planning chiefs explained that the development has a relatively low predicted profit margin of 11 %.

Deansgate councillor Joan Davies said the £90,000 sum seems ‘ridiculously small’ at first glance, but expressed support for the development in general.

The Labour member took comfort in the ‘clawback’ clause which means the developer would have to contribute more cash if building costs came down.

And she spoke of the benefits the development would bring with almost one-hectare of new public space set to be created on the site at a cost of £3.8m.

The developer will also contribute half a million pounds to a new school.

Coun Davies added: “I like the interesting ways there are of making glass houses look slightly different than the previous glass house.”

More apartments near Piccadilly Station

Another application for a 15-storey building with 107 apartments, a pocket park and a bar near Piccadilly Station was also granted planning permission.

No affordable housing was proposed as part of the Ferrous development put forward by Capital and Centric – the developer behind other schemes nearby.

Development director Tom Wilmot told the planning committee that this scheme is on the ‘cusp of viability’ with only a 12 pc profit margin predicted.

Plans for 461 apartments at the former Boddingtons Brewery site in Manchester. Credit: Latimer

A proposal to build 461 flats at the former Boddingtons Brewery site on the edge of Manchester city centre was also approved by the planning committee.

This development, put forward by Clarion Housing Group, would be located next to the new Manchester College campus currently under construction.

Cheetham councillor Shaukat Ali raised concerns that no parking spaces are planned on the site off Great Ducie Street which was a surface level car park.

However, planning chief Dave Roscoe said that the council’s vision for the wider area involves creating a new multi-storey car park later in the future.

Roscoe also explained that up to 60 % of the apartments would be affordable with 121 offered for social rent and 132 as part of a shared ownership scheme.

A portion of the affordable homes will be secured through a Section 106 agreement as part of the planning process – but this is subject to viability.

The developer is also planning to use a grant from Homes England, alongside its own funds, to deliver more affordable housing than required by the council.

All four applications were approved by councillors on the planning committee.