‘Too tall’: new apartment block set to tower over Northern Quarter and Ancoats

The skyscraper includes a gym and co-working space in designs sent to Manchester city council - but there are reservations from some about its height.

A new skyscraper with hundreds of apartments set to be built between the Northern Quarter and Ancoats could be even taller than originally planned.

Plans for 485 apartments in a 34-storey tower on Port Street and an 11-storey tower in Greater Ancoats Street have been submitted to Manchester city council.

It comes months after Cheshire-based developer Select Property Group put forward proposals for a 31-storey apartment building on the same site which local residents’ groups and councillors complained would be too tall.

But the final proposal revealed this week exceeds even the 33-storey structure envisioned in the masterplan for the Piccadilly Basin area.

Plans for a part-34, part-11 storey residential building with 485 flats in Port Street and Greater Ancoats Street, Manchester. Credit: SimpsonHaugh

What is being said about it?

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Piccadilly ward councillor Sam Wheeler who represents residents in the ward where the skyscrapper would be located, says the building planned is ‘too tall’.

He has also complained about the lack of affordable housing in the proposal.

The ‘build to rent’ scheme, which features co-working space and a residents’ gym, would be managed by Affinity Living, a subsidiary brand of Select.

No affordable housing would be built on the site, but the developer has offered to pay Manchester city council £750,000 to provide affordable homes elsewhere.

A financial viability assessment submitted with the planning applications explains that the £154m development which would take six years to complete is only projected to generate an 18 % profit margin – below industry standard.

Plans for a part-34, part-11 storey residential building with 485 flats in Port Street and Greater Ancoats Street, Manchester. Credit: SimpsonHaugh

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But Coun Wheeler claims the proposal is not compliant with council policy.

He said: “They can go on about viability all they want.

“Don’t build it if you’re not making any money.”

Manchester council policy states that 20 % of new homes in large residential schemes should be affordable or an equivalent financial contribution be made.

But this is subject to the developer receiving a ‘reasonable profit’ for a project.

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A statement by Lambert Smith Hampton, which prepared the financial viability assessment, confirms that the developer has offfered the council £750,000.

It said: “Lambert Smith Hampton is of the view that the scheme is unable to provide any affordable housing on site.

“The knock-on economic benefits of the delivery of a development of this scale will be significant, given it is creating 485 high-quality homes for a wide range of people in the city.”

The plans include 47 basement car parking spaces, all of which could be fitted with electric vehicles chargers in the future, as well as 485 spaces for cycles.

The application is expected to be decided by the planning committee.