Gamecock Curlew p.planning docs

The original scheme met with objection from local campaigners. Credit: via planning documents

Curlew meets with Manchester resistance

The developer’s scaled-back plans for student accommodation on Hulme’s Gamecock site were rejected by 11 councillors.

Just one abstention was recorded at the meeting, as 11 votes were gathered for Cllr John Flanagan’s proposal for a “minded to refuse” verdict.

Despite being recommended for approval by officers, the initial plans for a 13-sxtorey tower on the former pub site on Boundary Lane were refused in May this year.

The project returned to October’s planning committee with two storeys lopped off, but still met with stiff resistance from local councillors in tune with a strong opposition campaign called Block the Block.

SimpsonHaugh is the designer for the project.

At 11 storeys the tweaked tower would be the same height as a scheme previously approved for the site, but never built.

Although MCC planning development manager Dave Roscoe warned that in planning terms any refusal would be hard to defend, councillors lined up to criticise a scheme they believed had not been amended as much as they’d have liked.

Cllr Flanagan proposed that the minded to refuse verdict be based on two points: the lack of disability parking provision and a scale and massing not in keeping with the surrounding area, referring to the “dominant visual impact”. The motion was seconded by Cllr Jon-Connor Lyons.

Although the previous application had seen four disabled parking spaces moved close to the main entrance of the development, councillors queried what that meant for the remaining six, pointing out that they would be outside the developer’s control.

Ward councillors were vocal at the meeting too, with Cllr Annette Wright and Cllr Lee-Ann Igbon both voicing their concerns over the scheme. These included points raised over the lack of natural light for people in the area following development.

Cllr Igbon said: “We should be doing better for Hulme”. Applause met the councillors’ comments.

Turley’s Andrew Bickerdike spoke in favour of the application, saying that “the scheme has been reviewed over several months” and that the developer had sought to bring beneficial changes to a site that “is a blight on the local area”.

His efforts were in vain, as the verdict came in of 11 voters in favour of ‘minded to refuse’ and one abstention.

Your Comments

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Other than it being another Simpson Haugh tracing paper job, I don’t really see what the big deal is. Although it would be nice for someone to build flats for normal people instead of students.

By Anonymous

Absolutely ridiculous comments from the councillors. The scale is absolutely in keeping with the area, indeed there are larger buildings in close proximity to the proposal including a several post war tower blocks from which much of the NIMBYISM no doubt originates.

By NIMBY watch

Oh no, the Liverpool height phobia surfaces in Mcr, not in keeping with the surrounding area, how can a city evolve with this approach.

By Anonymous

This seems political. If they appeal they will win (and they should) and that will be more public money wasted defending it. There should be an investigation into some of these decisions of late.

By Bob

Anonymous, the same people that claim tall buildings cause total eclipses and wish to protect brutalist crimes against architecture.

By Tom

They need to get this built, it’s an appropriate size for the area. There is a need for student accommodation in the area and this is a very suitable location for it. The students, especially those who end up staying after they graduate, add a lot of value to the economy! I’m assuming Anonymous never went to university, as students are normal people! They just want to live in nice apartments near their place of work, especially as almost all won’t drive. UoM / MMU / BIMM / UoS brings an incredible amount of talent to the city the suitable accommodation needs to be provided to keep up with demand.


Another ludicrous decision from the council. They cannot continue to put all their residential eggs in one basket – i.e. the city centre – and rejecting medium density housing/student proposals in the suburbs. For Manchester to truly prosper we need all walkable neighbourhoods building more homes to support local high streets and district centres. What do the council want here? More two storey houses within a 15 minute walk of the city centre? That won’t work because 1) land costs render it unviable and 2) because if we did that all across the city we would soon run out of land and still be left with a major housing shortage and rental crisis.

The council need to grow up

By Anonymous

Student housing is extremely under supply as it is, refusing this isn’t the smartest thing and should be reversed with an appeal

@Anon, students are “normal people”. They aren’t aliens now are they? Weird comment

By Anonymous

This scheme is not wanted by residents – and as a previous Hulme resident for many years, I’m in total agreement. Hulme is already saturated with students and student housing and although students bring many benefits to the area, this large transient population also brings with it many issues.

What the area really needs is more housing for local people – I recently revisited where I used to live, a street where maybe 80% of the houses are now rented to students, and it’s plain to see in the deterioation in the area. I get it, students don’t have an interest in looking after gardens etc….but Hulme is in danger of becoming a student ghetto, and it’s the remaining residents that will be left to pick up the pieces.

By Manc Man

Manc Man complains about new purpose-built student accommodation, then complains about students displacing residents by moving into existing accomodation. Take your pick: it’s one or the other.

By S

More students in purpose built student housing should mean less students in ‘normal houses’. More supply. Everyone wins?


MCC is the freeholder – why have they let this get to the farcical stage of putting this to a planning committee. Curlew should have been told by the Council that it was not going to facilitate this development through a new lease and ended this proposal there and then.

By Anonymous

Maybe this plot would be more suited to affordable housing for rent / shared ownership instead?

By Mike

This is an entirely suitable location and scale for PBSA, particularly given the acute shortage of student accommodation in the city. Ridiculous decision and likely to waste public money defending on appeal.

By Anonymous

If a development which is subsequently granted upon appeal, should the councillors or officers who blocked it and wasted public money be subject to investigation to establish whether they are up to the job? The shortage of quality student homes means that a high number of students are in ‘regular residential’ homes (HMOs and build to rent flats), which results in a loss of council tax on those properties, and a massive shortage of supply, which in turn means steeply increased rents. This is happening now, as highlighted in The Subplot this week. It would be interesting to know how many ‘regular homes’ have occupiers claiming relief from council tax as students…I am almost tempted to make a freedom of information request!

Refusing quality and pretty modest student schemes like this one costs residents money and also reduced the amount of investment in the city. Other developers and funders are looking at Manchester and deciding to build elsewhere. A similar argument exists for MCC’s reluctance to welcome coliving to the city (other than for their BFFs).

By Thought for the day

How ridiculous. The planning committee are making themselves look even more stupid than usual. I hope the developer appeals

By Steve

Hulme was a successful Jamaican and alternative culture area until the university ruined it with its horrible gentrification.The same university and property industry that before deliberately built student accommodations that blocked reconnect of road to Oxford Road because back then they despised Hulme and people who live there.

By Anonymous

It’s horrible gentrification? Back then Hulme was awful. All I remember is decay and crime. Much better now. Visiting the past is fine but I wouldn’t want to live there.

By Anonymous

If the Council is the freeholder of the site and the Planning Committee refuse the scheme then the Council will not grant the new lease. Game over!

By Anonymous

The Hulme of the 80s was only improved by the bulldozer.

By Anonymous

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