The scheme would reach 34 storeys at its tallest point. Credit: via planning documents

Affinity Living’s 34-storey Manchester tower rejected again 

A vote to approve the 485-apartment built-to-rent scheme was beaten by five votes to four, as the developer failed for a second time to win planning consent for the £154m Port Street project. 

Also at today’s planning committee meeting, M&G’s redevelopment of 50 Fountain Street into a modern office building and M1 Piccadilly’s gold tower on Store Street were granted permission. 

Port Street 

Credit: via planning documents

Developer: Affinity Living, part of Vita Group  

Architect: SimpsonHaugh Architects  

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate  

A vote to approve the 485-home scheme in line with officers’ recommendations failed for a second time amid concerns from councillors about the project’s height. 

Several councillors said the scheme should not go ahead as it does not adhere to the Piccadilly Basin SRF, which guides development in the area.  

The SRF sets out that buildings up to 33 storeys could be built on the site. Affinity Living’s scheme is one storey taller than the guidelines. 

It is likely that the project, which has a gross development value of £154m, will return to committee for consideration at a later date. 

The scheme’s application number is 132489/FO/2021. 

Store Street gold tower 

5plus is the architect behind the gold Store Street building. Credit: North Made Studio

Developer: M1 Piccadilly, part of LW Group  

Architect: 5plus Architects  

Planner: Zerum  

The 15-storey scheme will provide 54 apartments on a site close to Property Alliance Group’s Oxygen on Store Street.  

M1 Piccadilly’s project, which has a striking gold façade, features a cinema room, gaming room, covered terraces, residents’ lounge areas, and private office space.    

A previous planning consent on the site secured by Westward Estates Developments lapsed in 2020. Westward’s proposal was a 13-storey block with 34 apartments designed by BDP.   

LW bought the site following the expiry of Westward’s permission.   

The project has a gross development value of £14.6m and will not provide any on-site affordable housing.  

The developer has offered a £125,000 contribution towards off-site affordable housing. 

The application number for the project is 132626/FO/2022. 

50 Fountain Street 

The original Victorian façade would be retained. Credit: via planning documents

Developer: M&G with Ask Real Estate as development partner 

Architect: Jon Matthews Architects  

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate 

M&G’s £34m overhaul of the former Hill Dickinson office in Manchester was given the go-ahead a month after the application was deferred so that a site visit could take place. 

Providing 55,000 sq ft of workspace, the £40m development would create “an attractive proposition for new and existing businesses within Manchester and the wider region”, according to planning consultant Deloitte Real Estate.  

M&G plans to demolish the existing building while retaining the original façade. A new-build seven-storey office would be built in its place. 

“The existing office building on the site no longer makes a positive contribution to the area, either architecturally, historically or commercially,” Deloitte said.  

Comprising floorplates ranging from 4,500 sq ft on the ground floor up to 9,400 sq ft on the first and second floors, the office building would also features cycling facilities, a gym, an indoor living wall and a rooftop pavilion.  

Bam is the main contractor and Renaissance is the structural engineer. Ridge is the M&E engineer for the scheme while Stephen Levrant is the heritage consultant. Also on the project team: Cundall, DFC, Gardiner & Theobald, and Planit-IE. 

The project’s two application reference numbers are 131859/FO/2021 and 131860/LO/2021. 

Your Comments

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I love tall buildings in the right area but the Port Street development is simply too tall, although I’m sure it will get through at some point with the SRF being set at 33 stories. My concern is every building is lower in height in the area and with it already built up it will stand alone looking oppressive (not to mention boring) overlooking everything else in the northern quarter

By Tomo

Port street – Too tall and boring for the area – agree with the other comment from Tomo, will probably get through but isn’t anything interesting as per from the usual architect suspects.

Store street – not sure how a gold tower ever fits in with the local aesthetic , this isn’t Dubai, change the colour to suit the local red brick city and you may be onto something – maybe a copper colour or even the rusted steel look. Really hope this doesn’t get through as it.

Fountain street – Great looking project – keeps traditional facade but also adds a nice modern feels to the actual office. Really like how it blends into the skyline with the glass choice colour (could just be the render)


I know Manchester has some fantastic new neighbourhoods and is starting to get some more interesting designs and but collectively it just isn’t good or bold enough. You only have to look down the road at Dyer St in Leeds to see what can be achieved. Whilst Manchester is a sprawling city with different/bigger issues there shouldn’t be a compromise on design and to be honest it deserves better. Manchester is an interesting and unique city – the new architecture should echo that. It doesn’t need to look hard, it has bags of culture to take inspiration from and is already blessed with tonnes of fantastic buildings. Industrial, Victorian, neogothic, ACID HOUSE- WHATEVER.
It has the filler, time for the killer. Grow a pair.

By Anonymous

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course but you have a different idea of quality to me if you think the architecture at Dyer Street is something we should aspire too. Architecture in Manchester knocks spots off anyhow else in the country apart from the centre of London. You need to keep off that acid people

By Anonymous too

Anonymous. There is somewhere in Leeds comparable to Deansgate Square? The Trinity Islands project? St John’s? St Michael’s?Mayfield? ID? Viadux? Victoria North etc?There must be another Leeds then? Manc-bashing is the new Northern sport. People should read the forums on Leeds Skyscapercity, it is just volumes of, “Why can’t we be more like Manchester?” Port Street would be something to get excited about anywhere else.

By Elephant

Dyer Street Leeds, give over.

By Anonymous

There’s people commenting how the Port St. building is too tall!

Sorry but it’s not too tall but should be at least 40 storeys, and bigger the better. It’s big buildings that give aspiring cities and established cities the edge. A modern look and feel, a perception of having arrived at a great and big place, and that the city is going somewhere, punching above it’s weight.

It’s big developments that attract bigger developments.

The Store St. Gold tower is too small, should’ve been there twice the night at 30 storeys to give that gold facade the wow factor.

The commentators critical of the gold in favour of red brick, rusted steel, copper colour are just plain boring and visionless people. This type of architecture has been done to death in Manchester. It’s not unique. Then throw silly comments like ” this isn’t Dubai”. Yes it isn’t, but why can’t it be ambitious. Dubai was a fishing village 25 years ago.

I’m sick to the back teeth with NIMBY commentators and councillors in this country always vying to preserve stuff that absolutely has no value and holds back progress.

By ZiffZaff

It might be the best outside of London but it needs to be more Mancunian and represent the city.

By Anonymous Again


I take on board your comments regarding your opinion. I am not against tall buildings but they need to look good otherwise by your metrics you would be happy with the tombstone student let building going up? Port street looks awful for its height, which is classic of boring SH architects.

I stand by my point of gold facade looking cheap and tacky, “the emporer’s new clothes” comes to mind when looking at this development. Even Dubai doesn’t have a gold tower. By all means invest but a gold tower isn’t going to make anyone think “Wow let’s invest here because a Gold tower shouts ambitious!”. My Dubai comment was more about it being all for show and being a very ostentatious and shallow place.

Think you should have a little look into architecture trends and understand why cities have planning recommendations.


Pretty sure Anonymous made a valid point. An aspiring global city shouldn’t settle for the ‘it’s the best outside of London’ card and new development certainly shouldn’t be at the expense of it’s character if it doesn’t need to.
It was only the other week that a potential occupier pointed out that some of the new offices are too generic in comparison to offices in Bristol.

By C

Get it built, port street has been a surface car park for decades. I can’t believe the nimby mentality from people who themselves live in recent new build apts. Ancoats was a dumb once, they should be greatful the boom continues.

By 3D bloke

Ancoats and NQ are fantastic neighbourhoods that most other cities such as Leeds (in fact they tried recreating their own NQ including the name!!) and Birmingham would die for. However I completely agree that going forward the architecture should be top notch and nothing else. I don’t agree with the ‘build it anyway’ mentality in this location when there are tonnes of other locations throughout what is now becoming and relatively large and incredibly vibrant city centre. Manchester needs to start upping its game and letting the satellite towns adopt these sort of developments.

By Anonymous

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