Contentious Manchester schemes try again for approval

Real Estate Investment Partnership’s 20-home Warp & Weft and GMS Parking’s 55-storey student tower were respectively refused and deferred last time but are both recommended for approval when the city council’s planning committee meets next week. 


 GMS’ 55-storey student tower 


Developer: GMS Parking  

Architect: Glenn Howells Architects 

Planner: Deloitte Real Estate 

The £130m student scheme on the corner of Great Marlborough Street and Hulme Street is earmarked for approval by Manchester City Council next week. It is the third time the project has been put before the committee, which twice deferred the plans amid public backlash. 

The project has been subject to numerous objections from the company that manages Macintosh Village, a nearby residential community on the opposite side of Great Marlborough Street, as well as residents within the development.  

Deansgate ward councillors William Jeavons and Marcus Johns have also objected to the project, while Manchester Metropolitan University has leant its support to the developer. 

GMS Parking’s plans involve the reduction in size of the multistorey car park on Great Marlborough Street, with the space created being used to build a part 55-storey complex offering 853 student accommodation units.  

A four-storey amenity building featuring 8,460 sq ft of incubator workspace is also included in GMS’ proposals. 

The scheme was previously being brought forward as a Student Castle project, the company that GMS director Edward Cade co-founded in 2010.   

Student Castle developed the nearby 37-storey student tower since sold to Liberty Living. 

Manchester City Council planning officers have recommended the project be approved, stating the development “sets high standards of sustainability and would contribute towards demand for student accommodation in a sustainable location”. 

Warp & Weft  

Thomas Street Real Estate Investment 2

Permission for the residential development was granted in 2017 but blocked a year later

Developer: Real Estate Investment Partnerships 

Architect: Jon Matthews Architects 

Planner: WSP 

Place North West reported last month that the developer had doubled down on its attempts to kickstart the Northern Quarter project by resubmitting plans to demolish a pair of listed weavers’ cottages on Thomas Street to clear the site for the creation of a 20-home development. 

The resubmission came after the plans were refused last year amid vocal public objection to the project. REIP has since lodged an appeal against that refusal and is awaiting a decision. 

Council officers have recommended the resubmitted demolition proposals be approved. 

History of Warp & Weft 

  • August 2017 – Warp & Weft proposal is approved by Manchester City Council 
  • July 2018 – Weavers’ cottages on the site are granted listed status  
  • February 2020 – REIP lodges listed building application to demolish the cottages 
  • August 2020 – Manchester City Council refuses the demolition plan 
  • March 2021 – REIP appeals the refusal 
  • April 2021 – The developer triggers the consented application to prevent it from lapsing 
  • May 2021 – REIP resubmits the plans to demolish the listed buildings 

Planning officers concluded that “The harm caused would be substantial but the continued vacancy and the poor impression that this presents in terms of the character of the streetscape, are such that this exceptional level of harm is on balance considered to be necessary”. 

REIP maintains that the demolition of the listed Thomas Street buildings is “crucial” to facilitate the retention and restoration of the grade two-listed 7 Kelvin Street, which forms part of the development site.  

Simon Gallanders, director, Real Estate Investment Partnerships said: “Having worked through a number of alternative options with Manchester City Council and Historic England, we are absolutely certain that the consented scheme is the only option that remains viable.

“We, like many people living and working in Northern Quarter, wish to see this site brought back to a vibrant use that both complements and reflects the surrounding neighbourhood.”

Your Comments

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Well , it’s not joining the Manchatten or Greengate clusters , but then it does look rather different. In its own context with the Liberty Student tower I think it will look fine after all the fuss has died down.

By Anonymous

Why would the student tower suddenly become acceptable when the committee has already “twice deferred the plans amid public backlash”? In my opinion they need to redesign it, the renders make it look depressingly poor. Please no!

By MrP

Both good proposals, much much worse has been thrown up in this city. Get them built.

By Bob

Mr P, refer to previous articles, car parking issues were part of the problem I seem to recall rather than the design or height.

By Anonymous

I hope the student tower gets through – I personally like the design and it will complement the emerging mini-cluster of student towers in the area.

By Stuart

They must be confident that there’ll be enough international students to fill this. Prices in these student towers are usually way too expensive for locals.

By Chris

British students don’t want to live in things like this, after first year they like a house and garden

By Mr B

@Mr B – Who do you think is living in the thousands of new apartments built in the city centre in recent years?

By Raj

I look forward to seeing the completed build. It looks attractive, and fits in well within it’s surroundings. Well done to Manchester city council and the developers

By Mark Webster

Both proposals are well designed and will enhance the quality of the city centre, they should be approved.

By Monty

Love the 55 storey one. Will set a good precedent for tall buildings in Manchester and we will start looking like a global city.

By S

‘“Looking like a global city” will not make Manchester one. It’s much more complicated that that. Discourage long term residents which this scheme will do will work against that aim. That is if the city council has that aim and is in anyway capable of contributing to that ambition. For example retail is in decline anyway but city centre planning makes it more difficult to access. If they can’t manage to support a few shops a global city is way beyond their capability. There are many issues involved…….

By Serafini

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