Speakers House, Aegon, P.CBRE
Architect Sheppard Robson designed the £90m project. Credit: via CBRE

Aegon to resubmit plans for £90m Speakers House 

Dan Whelan

The developer has decided not to appeal Manchester City Council’s controversial decision to refuse the 17-storey office scheme, instead opting to lodge a fresh planning application. 

Aegon Asset Management notified the council of its intention to appeal at the end of July but this has since been withdrawn following conversations with the authority. 

The developer “considered all options” following the refusal of its proposed office development at the former Speakers House and has now opted to resubmit the original proposals, according to planning consultant CBRE. 

“We fully support the original scheme design, which was the result of a comprehensive and rigorous design process,” said Harry Bolton, director at CBRE. 

“We are therefore now focused on a resubmission, and we are seeking to provide additional justification for this scheme rather than revisiting it in its entirety.” 

Architect Sheppard Robson designed the £90m project, aimed at replacing the existing 1960s block on the corner of Deansgate and St Mary’s Gate with a 135,000 sq ft office building. 

Back in January, planning committee members expressed concerns that the scheme would impact the St Ann’s Square Conservation Area and residents in No. 1 Deansgate, 43 of whom combined to fight the development. 

Despite this, the proposal was recommended for approval by Manchester City Council planning officers, who pointed out that the issues facing No. 1 Deansgate residents were not uncommon and outlining further that the scheme was supported by approved planning policies. 

The project’s subsequent refusal sparked disappointment among commentators who called the decision “strange” and “short-sighted”. 

“It was heartening to see the level of public support articulated for our proposed scheme,” Bolton added. 

“We continue to work collaboratively with MCC officers on this project and remain confident that we will find a mutually agreeable way forward for this important regeneration site.” 

Aegon bought the existing nine-storey 39 Deansgate for £11m from Target Real Estate in March 2018. 

Occupiers within the 40,000 sq ft building, last refurbished in 2016, include Spar and Greggs.

Nearby, Property Alliance Group and Starwood Capital are progressing the redevelopment of the former Renaissance Hotel, which includes the refurbishment of the former Premier House office block to provide 40,000 sq ft of Grade A office space.  

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Excellent news, I think No1 Deansgate residents have to remember that they live in a constantly-evolving city centre, something which is to be supported but also means that their view will not remain static forever. The economy of the city is far more important than some views from a handful of penthouses.

By Anonymous

This is the best news. What a way to start the week! Looks like a slight change in colour to the cladding to work with Barton Arcade but I’m good with that.

By Andrew

Great news. Ultimately there is a road that provides adequate separation from No1 Deansgate. No 1 was strange at the time as the area is predominantly offices and shops. Imagine every flat owner of the older smaller apartments developments lodging opposition against larger developments Manchester wouldn’t be the thriving city it is and will continue to be

By Tomo

Excellent. Great design on a corner of the city that needs it

By Birdman

Turn Manchester into a second-rate US office block city center: the places nobody wants to live or visit, and no wonder. But Manchester was always like that. Nobody from the mill towns went to Manchester apart from Xmas shopping.

By James Yates

And, indeed, far more important than the views from a handful of contributors who identify as Anonymous.

By Phil Griffin

Great news. One of the best developments in the city imo. Also the economic benefit that this will bring far outweighs 43 people in No1 Deansgate losing part of their view. This should sail through this time and if not big questions should be asked of the city’s planning process.

By Bob

I’m sure the NIMBYs at No1 Deansgate and their Councillor friends at MCC are already discussing how to once again block this fantastic looking office proposal.

By jb

@James – and yet Manchester is the most visited city in the UK after London and Edinburgh. Weird that.

By Anonymous

This is about replacing a poor 60s office building with a much better one, and Manchester quite evidently has no problem attracting people to live or visit.

By Rob Harris

James ,your regular negative comments on Manchester really would make more sense if you limited them to developments that deserved them rather than hurl them out based merely on geography. Otherwise they just come across as a tad jealous which i’m sure you really didn’t intend. Speakers House is hardly a tower and as I’m sure you know Manchester has more visitors and workers than any other city in England outside London.

By Anonymous

Terrific news. This building deserves its place on a very important corner in the city centre and is a much better design than the 60’s block currently plonked there.

By SimonD

Am I right in thinking one of the residents in No1 Deansgate is a prominent Manchester Architect with links to the council?

By Mr MCR

They should never have built apartments in the city centre, it should be for work and entertainment, not a residential area like 99.9% of Greater Manchester.

By YS

Great news – stop the NIMBYs and get it built

By Build it

I cannot praise this project enough, not only it is absolutely stunning and respects its surroundings but it will bring much needed regeneration to this part of the city. No 1 Deansgate residents will have to accept the fact that this is city centre.

By Michael

The productivity gains from having high quality business premises, and the beauty of No. 39, will more than offset the obscured view of 43 residents. Residents of No. 1 need to accept that they chose to live in a city which is in constant flux.

By SD

VAMOS!

By MrP

Hopefully this should go-ahead this time. An office and leisure proposal with flair and cracking detail.

By Steve W