Manchester City Council has u-turned on its decision to refuse Real Estate Investment Partnership permission to demolish a pair of listed weavers’ cottages on Thomas Street, giving the developer fresh hope the project can be delivered.
At a planning committee meeting, councillors voted against deferring a decision on the application before Cllr Angeliki Stogia tabled a motion to approve the demolition of the listed Northern Quarter buildings, in line with officers’ recommendations.
The committee then backed the motion, unlocking the site for the creation of Warp & Weft, a 20-home development first approved four years ago.
The approval came despite impassioned pleas from Piccadilly Ward councillors Sam Wheeler and Jon-Connor Lyons for the proposals to be refused and the buildings preserved.
Following the meeting, Cllr Wheeler described the decision to approve the demolition of the Thomas Street properties as “a cowardly and unconscionable surrender”.
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
- July 2021 – Manchester approves resubmitted plans to demolish the cottages
REIP’s application will now go before the Secretary of State, who will decide whether or not to call the plans in.
Subject to Government approval, REIP could make an immediate start on the project, designed by Jon Matthews Architects.
Consent for Warp & Weft was granted in 2017 before Historic England listed the weaver’s cottages at 42-46 Thomas Street, which scuppered REIP’s progress.
The outcome of that appeal is yet to be decided.