Tower block ap­pli­ca­tion put on hold


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By MARI EC­CLES

Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­port­ing Ser­vice

PLANS to trans­form a cor­ner of Pic­cadilly have been put on hold by coun­cil­lors who want to as­sess how the scheme – which would bring two new tow­ers con­tain­ing hun­dreds of flats – would ‘build up’ the area.

De­vel­op­ers want to build nearly 500 flats in the area be­tween the sta­tion and Great An­coats Street.

Their vi­sion, which came to coun­cil­lors on the plan­ning panel on Thurs­day, would in­clude build­ing two tow­ers – one scal­ing 29 storeys, the other reach­ing 23 storeys, as well as a small new pub­lic square and park.

But coun­cil­lors on the plan­ning com­mit­tee agreed to de­fer the plan so they can take a proper look at the site and the po­ten­tial im­pact of the scheme.

Coun­cil­lor Jon-Con­nor Lyons said: “I’d like to re­quest a site visit – ob­vi­ously it’s build­ing up the area and I think the com­mit­tee would re­ally ben­e­fit from a site visit to see the area and put these ap­pli­ca­tions into per­spec­tive.”

The panel agreed, mean­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion will be heard again next year. It has al­ready proven to be con­tro­ver­sial with one coun­cil­lor, Sam

Wheeler, who rep­re­sents the Pic­cadilly ward.

He wrote in plan­ning doc­u­ments that the de­vel­op­ers could ‘jog on’ – point­ing to the lack of af­ford­able hous­ing in the plans, as well as what he de­scribed as a ‘frankly em­bar­rass­ing bit of money for a green space that only in­creases the value of their own prop­er­ties.’

Large new de­vel­op­ments in Manch­ester are sup­posed to in­clude 20pc af­ford­able hous­ing within their schemes – or a sum equiv­a­lent to that which could fund cheaper hous­ing off-site.

But de­vel­op­ers say that, with to­tal costs es­ti­mated at £122m, they can­not af­ford any con­tri­bu­tion to off-site af­ford­able hous­ing.

De­vel­op­ers had ar­gued that their scheme would act as a cat­a­lyst for fur­ther re­gen­er­a­tion in this cor­ner of the city, as well as mak­ing a ‘sub­stan­tial’ con­tri­bu­tion to Manch­ester’s hous­ing need.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers had rec­om­mended that the plans were ap­proved.

The site falls into an area ear­marked by the town hall for re­gen­er­a­tion as part of the Por­tu­gal Street East frame­work. Ear­lier this year, the plan­ning panel signed off on a ‘Jenga-style’ ho­tel within the area.

The plans would in­clude two tower blocks

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