The scheme was designed by Glenn Howells Architects. Credit: via planning documents

Manchester survives legal challenge over 55-storey ‘tombstone’  

A bid to overturn the city council’s decision to grant planning permission for GMS Parking’s controversial student skyscraper between Great Marlborough Street and Hulme Street has failed. 

The High Court has dismissed a request for a judicial review brought by Mackintosh Village Management – a company that represents leaseholders in the neighbouring Mackintosh Village development – and ordered the management company to pay the city council £10,000 in costs. 

Manchester City Council’s planning committee approved GMS’ plans for the 55-storey, 853-bedroom development in June 2021. At the time, Cllr William Jeavons dubbed the £130m project a “cheese grater-esque tombstone”. 

Following the approval, the leaseholder group brought a legal challenge in a bid to block the construction of the scheme.  

Many of the leaseholders’ concerns centred around their contractual right to park within the multistorey car park that formed part of the redevelopment proposals. 

GMS proposed reducing the MSCP from 391 spaces to 101 spaces to make room for the scheme. 

The leaseholders put forward six issues relating to the planning process that it asked the High Court to consider when deciding whether it would grant a judicial review. 

These included whether council officers “seriously misled” the committee about access to the car park during the assembly and disassembly of tower cranes, and whether or not the city council had failed in its duties around equality, due to the reduction in disabled parking spaces. 

On all six issues, judge Justice Frodsham found in favour of the city council, dismissing the leaseholders’ request for a judicial review.  

The full judgement can be read here.

Glenn Howells Architects designed the project and Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant. Laing O’Rourke is lined up to construct the tower.

Manchester City Council was contacted for comment. 

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hopefully this will get started. The current shortage of student housing and its inflationary impact on the wider rental market needs the additional capacity this will create

By Andrew

Get it built.

By Anonymous

Parking shouldn’t take precedence.

By Anonymous

Given the high profile location it needs a better quality design with bigger windows and without the gimmicky checkerboard pattern.

By Dr B

About time. Unusual to have a ‘tall’ outside the usual zoned areas of Gt Jackson St and Greengate but this site does already have a pretty big student tower.

By Anonymous

Great news! Get it built.
Hopefully this will deter any future would be NIMBYS that always seem to want to destroy this country’s progress. Hit them hard in the pockets and they’ll think twice about taking such action.

Also they should find a way to plant Palm trees 🌴🌴🌴🏢🌴🌴🌴 around the building.

By ZiffZaff

It’s another great addition to our increasingly impressive skyline.
The higher the better.
Makes the City Centre richer with more footfall and increases our reputation as a modern thriving city that will in turn attract more investors and visitors.
We can not stand still and decay.
We need investment.
The retail , leisure , and every other sector in the city centre benefits.
The council tax take increases which benefits residents across the whole city.
This is a time for growing our city centre when people want to invest and not small mindedness.
Go high and reach for the sky!

By Dave Manuredman

Love the design

By Anonymous

I’d pay 10k for a chance to stop this crap being crammed next to where I live. Those talls are a truly awful, disjointed collection of buildings.

Imagine being involved, knowing your great-grandfolks left buildings like the Principal and Cornerhouse behind, and you’re leaving this trash.

By Anonymous

Oh dear…they are gonna have a tough time explaining that £10k legal bill to rest of the leaseholders. What an utter waste of time and money

By Steve

Get it built!!!

By Anonymous

look at the judgement. The judge put so many provisos in place before this can ever get off the ground that it seems highly unlikely it will ever move forward. It’s years away at the very least.

By mark dowd

853 students will soon live near local services, transport and near the university. Get it built. This will relieve housing pressure from Hulme, Fallowfield, Rusholme and Ardwick, providing more space for families. Manchester’s growth is taking it to the next level. Let’s keep going.

By Density Is Good

I am not sure about this. It could potentially look tacky.

By Elephant

terrible news, this will haunt the future generations until someone will finally demolish it. It’s not even that hard to design some modern sleek tower, I’m baffled why Manchester always settles for this awful architecture.

By Michael

Dave Manuredman – Students don’t pay council tax

By WindyMcWindface

It shows the lack of understanding from NIMBY’s that probably close to a £100k has been burned of crowd funded money trying to block a building they don’t like the look of when none of that is relevant in the JR Process. Does any unspent Crowd Funded money get returned to the original donators?

By Anonymous

Where are the balconies? Shocking scheme

By Balcony warrior

Great to see this get built, I want it up as much as anyone, but if people have a contractual right for parking, that needs to be honoured. The scheme needs to ensure that every home that has a right to park there retains a parking spot. Whether you like it or not, you can’t just decide that a contract can be ripped up without compensation and a suitable alternative.


Balconies in a 55 story building! Ha ha I was waiting for that one. what could possibly go wrong!

By Anonymous

Balconies, on this? Really?

By Todd

I think this is great, different to all of the glass towers from other developers and that’s important.

By Simon

@MC, surely whether they have a “right” to park there is nothing to do with whether a planning permission has been granted correctly or not. Which is why the judge found against the request for a JR. If they really do have a legal right, they’ll be compensated, if they don’t (and just find it convenient to park there) they won’t.

By Simon

I’m all for students in the city centre but I don’t support this. There are already too many student properties in the area – to prosper the area needs a more diverse population. The streets around here (including Oxford Road) are eerily quiet outside of term time.
What’s worse is the ugliness of the scheme. People will be calling it an eyesore before it’s half built and when it’s demolished in 20 years many will question why it was ever built in the first place.

By Mancunian

Although I welcome the scheme, I am surprised at the bland nature of this design. A lot of British Architects/Companies are producing fabulous designs in places like Dubai. If nothing else you could have copy/pasted one from a similar 55 storey building in Dubai. Is it because UAE allows our architects to be creative and here creativity is frowned upon?

By Atif

Some of us poor students at uni in Manchester have no choice but to rent in Liverpool. Get it built.

By ScouseStudent

The reality is that students are choosing to live here in mainstream accommodation forcing up rents and depriving working households. That will only get worse until sufficient PBSA is provided in the right locations

By Agnostic

The lawyers at Macintosh mill now have to pay extra fees. They never should have tried to block it. NIMBYS. The students need close by accommodation, I know of some forced to live in halls of residence in Liverpool due to lack of provisions in Mcr. Get it built.

By 3D bloke

Its the right place for student accommodation, but come on…this design is hideous.

By Manc Man

Every time when there’s a planning permission granted, people complained about. They are also likely to be the same people who complained about how expensive it is to live in City Centre and more houses should be built, just not next to them.

800+ student beds means the freeing up of 3/400 two-bed terraces or 200 three-bed semis for young families. Get the thing built now !

By Another Manc

This is a poor article lifted from architects journal. Of course the community were granted a judicial review. That’s why you have the judgement. Further it was a substantial hearing and went over 2 days. This community group were smart they won an Aarhus convention cap on costs. They paid £10k and the council and developer had 7 barristers and blew £1.2m. But read the judgement. His honour has called the councils liars poker and recorded all their promises. These are now not mere planning conditions they are contempt of court go to jail if you breach. This scheme is a refusal in all but name. This community getting all this for £10k and no downside cost award. They need to be our councillors of the future.

By Dave Kirkland

    Hi Dave, there are several inaccuracies in your comment – including the statement that this article was lifted from another publication. As you will have noted, our article came out days before the one in the AJ, so therefore could not have been lifted. Dan did a great job reporting this story.
    Regarding your other remarks, I encourage a re-read of the judgement, linked to in the article. The first part of the conclusion may be of special interest, as it begins with “The application for judicial review is dismissed”. Later on it reads “The parties are agreed that the appropriate costs order is that MVML pay the Council’s costs in the sum of £10,000.” If you would like to share more information or to point out any inaccuracy regarding this, please do reach out to me directly at We strive to report the news accurately and efficiently. Best – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

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