Kompany’s Ancoats scheme returns to planners

The scheme backed by the Manchester City footballer and Northern Group will go before Manchester’s planning committee again next week, a month after a decision was deferred.

The nine-storey, 75-apartment scheme is designed by Mecanoo and sits on Bengal Street in Ancoats. The proposals include the demolition of a 1950s-built former electrical works, currently occupied by radio station Unity, on the site also bounded by Primrose Street, Radium Street, and Silk Street.

Around 24,000 sq ft of offices is proposed for the ground floor, while there will be 23 one-bed, 47-two bed, and five three-bed apartments on the upper floors. The site is within the Ancoats conservation area, close to Oldham Road, and faces south onto the grade two-listed Victoria Square tenement block, flanked by the Mustard Tree warehouse, the Shamrock pub, a substation, a number of older low-rise properties and a surface car park to the north east.

The scheme is being brought forward by M4nchester Two, a vehicle backed by Vincent Kompany and Nathan Ezair. Cushman & Wakefield is the planner.

The project has been recommended for approval by Manchester City Council planning officers, and will go before next week’s committee after a decision was deferred pending a site visit last month.

Some objections have come forward from Historic England, which argued it would “would cause harm to the significance, character and appearance of the Ancoats Conservation Area”.

“It is unclear why this largely vacant site cannot be viably developed in a more sensitive way at a lower scale, similar to other nearby sites, and no convincing justification is provided to demonstrate why it must be developed in this way,” added the heritage body.

While planning officers admitted the scheme would cause “a low level of harm to the significance of the conservation area and the setting of Victoria Square,” officers said it should be approved as it would “help to regenerate Ancoats and provide good quality homes,” as well as “[developing] a partially vacant, poor quality site in the conservation area”.

Also on next week’s agenda is a proposal from Alumno Group to build a 12-storey student accommodation block on the site of the former Church Inn, which closed in March 2016.

The plot borders existing student accommodation blocks at Cambridge House and Manchester House, near Manchester Metropolitan University. The proposals will include 97 student flats with a mix of 25 studios and 36 two-bed clusters.

There have been objections to the scheme over the loss of the pub, but planning officers said “evidence has been supplied that the building has no feasible future”; the pub is also not designated as a heritage asset.

Both schemes are due to be discussed at committee on 14 March.

Church Street Manchester

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