The Hotspur Press , Manner, p Social

Hodder + Partners is behind the design of the tower. Credit: via Social

Conservation group calls for Manchester’s Hotspur Press to be listed

Planning permission was recently granted for the demolition of the mill and construction of a 37-storey student scheme – but not everyone is happy.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has said it is “supporting an urgent application made by a local campaigner” to have the former Hotspur Press mill on Gloucester Street in Manchester listed.

SAVE has written a letter to Historic England, the body that determines if buildings should be listed, asking for the complex to be afforded protected status.

The letter states: “While SAVE is supportive of finding a sustainable new use for this building, we consider it to be of paramount importance that the building is given statutory listed status to protect its nationally significant special historic and architectural interest, and ensure development is sympathetic to the building’s rarity.”

If the bid is successful, it could scupper developer Manner’s plans to bring the long-derelict site on the River Medlock back into use. The developer would have to secure listed building consent before any work could take place.

However, SAVE’s impassioned pleas may be to no avail.

In its role as a statutory consultee, Historic England made no comments in relation to the Hodder + Partners-designed plans for a 595-bed student scheme, which Manchester City Council’s planning committee approved in May.

The organisation also turned down an earlier listing application in 2019, concluding that the former cotton mill did not meet the threshold for architectural or historic interest required for it to receive protected status.

“This site was assessed by Historic England and not deemed worthy of listing,” said Richard James, managing director of Manner.

 “Following a unanimous planning approval received last month from Manchester City Council, we are in constructive dialogue with Historic England and the city council. 

“Saving this building has always been at the heart of our proposals. Our sensitive approach to the regeneration of the Hotspur Press is the only way to prevent it falling further into disrepair, and we are confident in making this case to Historic England. 

James added: “Our plans have always focused on preserving the heritage of this building, including retaining much of the existing brick exterior, iconic signage, and many of the historic features. This commitment received active support and endorsement from the City Council’s Planning Committee and from neighbouring residents and their associations.” 

Stephen Hodder, founder of Hodder + Partners, added: “The carefully crafted design understands and respects the heritage of the city of Manchester and the importance of buildings like The Hotspur Press.

“The design, heritage commitments and the developer have an unwavering dedication to deliver buildings of the highest architectural integrity, which respect the historical significance of their local areas, yet embrace modern city centre living.” 

While Historic England has so far not been inclined to object to the redevelopment of the Hotspur Press complex, the body has made its feelings about another Manchester proposal heard.

Salboy’s planned 76-storey Viadux phase two recently came in for criticism from Historic England, which described the scheme as a “disruptive and pervasive presence”.

Your Comments

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And if they succeed what are their plans to restore it? Or is the plan just to let it drop to bits as it currently is.

By Bob

The building has been left derelict for decades. Heritage groups didn’t care about it until someone came along to bring it back into use. If the building is listed it’s highly likely it will be left to rot for more decades, and it’s unlikely to survive.

By Anonymous

As much as I would love for all of these mills to be retained and brought back to life with minimal demolition of their original fabric, the sheer cost of renovating these types of buildings is phenomenal and can easily spiral in costs when the inevitable hidden problems arise.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, we are not London, and Manchester simply doesn’t demand the same property prices. The viability of renovating this building without significantly increasing the saleable floor space just isn’t there. We all rag on “evil money grabbing developers” but at the end of the day, in order for buildings like to be save from collapsing, someone has to invest money, that person needs to turn a profit otherwise what’s the point. Developers are not charities, profit seems to be a dirty word as of late but it is a necessary evil to save buildings like this. Without investment the mill falls further into decay (increasing the renovation costs even further), money doesn’t enter the local economy via trades working on site etc.

Personally I think Hodder’s have done a pretty good job of retaining the most characterful parts of the mill while making it a viable investment for developers. People need to be more pragmatic and take an honest look at the merits of a building before crying “but it’s old, and must be saved just because its old”. If we were taking about the town hall or Buckingham palace, you may have a leg to stand on but this is not it….

By Egg

Would be much better for some type of commercial/ retail use within the existing envelope. There are plenty of surface car parks nearby to build towers on with zero architectural merit. Not everything needs saving but this one does… *in my view.

By Anonymous

It’s been sad watching this building fall into disrepair. It was a very busy and well-used workshop for many independent businesses about 10 years ago. Tenancies were ended so that the building could be redeveloped and it has been left to fall into disrepair. Unfortunately returns are greater and risk is lower when developers knock things down and build new towers…and here we are.

By Mancunian

Any further info. on the scheme? I was under the impression the fascade was going to be retained?

By Anonymous

Sums up the challenge for a new Government that wants to build 300,000 plus build new homes a year – what to do with groups that seek to prevent anything happening. Marginalise and move on.

By Anonymous

Not sure if I understand what’s happening here as the website says: “After the first public consultation in February 2018 the initial design was reassessed and now retains the original 1880s curved warehouse. A new-build, mixed-use tower will be built behind the façade.”

By Anonymous

Having read the Heritage Statement, I think these comments from SAVE are pretty duplicitous – they gave me the impression the job lot was getting knocked down. In reality, looks like the entire facade is retained and a good chunk of public space being added in. Ought to be celebrated as an example of moving Manchester forward, whilst respecting – and restoring to some extent – its Victorian past.

By Anonymous

Another example of SAVE with their superior taste, swooping in from London and making demands about a decent scheme, which has already been examined by HE and found to be OK.
The same HE which gets howled at when it objects to things like Viadux, which people who comment on here and/or SkyscraperCity like, and then by the likes of SAVE when it doesn’t object to things they don’t like.
Perhaps a sign HE is trying its best to strike a reasonable balance…

By Rotringer

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