Malborough Street, GMS Parking, P.Glenn Howells
Glenn Howells Architects designed the controversial tower

Manchester approves 55-storey ‘tombstone’ 

Dan Whelan

After a tense debate, the city council voted in favour of GMS Parking’s proposals for the 850-unit student accommodation block, despite what one councillor called a “tsunami” of opposition. 

More than 750 letters of objection were submitted against the 55-storey tower, proposed for a site on the corner of Great Marlborough Street and Hulme Street. 

The vast majority of the objections came from residents living in the nearby Macintosh Village residential community.

Before the vote, Cllr William Jeavons launched a scathing attack on GMS’ £130m project, describing it as a “cheese grater-esque tombstone” that would have a detrimental impact on the quality of life of local residents. 

“The scheme is unwelcome, unappealing and unacceptable,” Jeavons said. 

Marlborough Street, GMS Parking

Much of the controversy was over the scheme’s height

After a motion to refuse the plans on the grounds of excessive height was put forward by Cllr Jon-Connor Lyons, the committee was deadlocked at five votes in favour and five votes against. 

Committee chair Basil Curley was then required to cast the deciding vote, deciding to back the scheme in what he called “an extremely difficult decision”. 

Another vote followed in which members voted in favour of approval by seven votes to three.

Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, the project involves the reduction in size of the multistorey car park on Great Marlborough Street, with the space created being used to build the tower. 

A four-storey amenity building featuring 8,460 sq ft of incubator workspace is also included in GMS’ proposals.

 

Your Comments

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Great design looking forward to seeing it get built.

By Monty

Excellent descision .

By Anonymous

Good. Get it built. Sorry but you can’t complain about towers being built in the city centre. Nice to have a different material as well.

By Bob

Far too tall and should not have been improved.

By Anonymous

Great news – nice to see a tower that’s not all glass and that will add a bit of character.

By Stuart

In all honesty, I actually like it’s design – at least in these renderings.

By EOD

Get it built, could be taller.

By Meeseeks

Good decision. Wealthy homeowners have to accept change. Especially if they live in the city centre.

By S

Everyone seems to like this one, personally I hate it….maybe it will look better in the flesh.

By Manc Man

Great to have a different architects work grace the skyline in Manchester rather than the usual suspects.

By Bradford

Looks great, good decision to approve it

By Neil

Recent surveys indicate the current population of Manchester City centre to be approximately 50,000. Therefore, by my maths, approximately 49,250 residents didn’t object to this development.

By Dave McCall

How can the council receive 750 objections and still agree to go ahead? Democracy you say?
Also to the commenter suggesting all city centre residents are wealthy, is not the case. Many residents work hard & struggle to pay increasing rents not to mention some with huge bills for cladding that isn’t there fault.

By A

It looks awful and is completely out of scale for this part of the city. Another suspicious and ratchet decision by MCC.

By Observer

Although this Tower is yet another rectangular flat top, I love the colour, cladding and sleek design of this building. It’s obviously intended for the wealthy foreign student market who have far more disposable income than their British student counterparts. This development will lead to an increase in footfall and spending in this part of the City centre and will ensure that Manchester maintains its competitive advantage over other provincial cities when it comes to attracting wealthier foreign students. The case for such a large scale development is even more important after the economical/financial meltdown which cities such as Manchester have experienced from Covid related Lockdowns and other restrictions. It will provide a massive boost to restaurants, pubs, bars and other Hospitality venues in the area.

By Bilderburg Attendee

750 is hardly anything, you’re always going to get some objections, many people have nothing better to do

By Dan

This will be a talking point from the overhead train line. It could look tacky but hopefully it won’t. It will soon have a nickname.

By Elephant

I suspect this design and colour scheme will not age well. It will look good in year 1. But year 15… perhaps not.
I tend to agree with objectors on this design. Can’t help but think of Bill Bryson’s comments about some of Manchester’s architecture when I see a design like this. MCC can expect better than this, especially when the new era we are moving into has such a shadow of doubt on the future of city centres. Aesthetics matter.

By Anonymous

750 is a lot of objections, actually. This wasn’t a referendum. It’s usually not easy to find out about the plans, check the details and get as far as lodging an objection. If you were to take a poll, or, say, carry out a meaningful consultation, you would get different figures and likely a high proportion objecting. Dismissing objections as “well there’s always some” and “nothing better to do, eh?” is deeply undemocratic. People who have a real stake, such as the existing neighbours to such developments, should have a real say on the future of their neighborhoods. Improving their lot should be a high priority because it’s a hallmark of a quality development that benefits the area long term.

I am not expressing my opinion on this particular development because I do not have one. I have not been involved. However, please respect the need for genuine consultation and serious consideration of objections.

By Anonymous

750 objections from those in the vicinity directly affected by this. People in favour likely live nowhere near. Councillors who agreed to this live nowhere near. Imagine living somewhere and suddenly there’s a structure 50 floors higher than yours only yards away. Imagine once having daylight, then banished to darkness. This building will pay little tax. The community around it do. Vote these fools out of office.

By Curley

I rather like the change in cladding compared to other tall buildings nearby. As for objections, I’ve been there and done that but I also accept that in a city centre and particularly one like London or Manchester you do stand a real risk of being overshadowed at some point with the amount of development that goes on.

By Anonymous

In the city centre, residents should get no more say than anybody else in Greater Manchester, it is not a residential area, it is the CBD

By Dan

Manchester new high rise buildings are squished into the small spaces in the city. I haven’t seen any good architecture built in my lifetime and this is just adding the ugly, cheap looking uninspired new buildings.

By S

‘Squished into the small spaces’!? It’s a city centre. If they built one in the middle of Chat moss that wouldn’t really work would it? Development sites are constrained by the many other buildings around them, that’s how development works.

By Et tu