Plans for the 28-storey development are to be refused after the city council said the developer “failed to demonstrate an unmet need for student accommodation” despite the authority’s own desire to see more student housing in the city centre.
Last October, Manchester City Council said it was hoping to recoup up to £17m in council tax revenue by expanding the offer of purpose-built student accommodation in the city centre and attracting students out of private rented sector housing in areas such as Fallowfield.
The provision of additional PBSA in the city centre could “support the freeing up of mainstream housing currently occupied by students”, Manchester City Council said in a report to its executive committee last autumn.
The council said that the relative lack of student accommodation compared to the city’s student numbers means “the mainstream lettings market is the most likely destination [for students]”.
However, Fusion Students’ plans to add 550 bedspaces to the city centre’s PBSA pipeline have been recommended for refusal by the city council.
The site, previously owned by Beech Holdings, “is not in close proximity to the university campuses or to a high frequency public transport route which passes this area” and thus fails to meet the requirements of policies with Manchester’s core strategy, the council said.
Downing’s 792-bedroom River Street Tower, which completed last year, is located less than half a mile from the Fusion site.
In addition, the city council said Fusion’s scheme “does not demonstrate a positive regeneration impact in its own right and would undermine the objective to create a high-quality residential area that has a focus for families”, as stated in the Great Jackson Street Development Framework.
Located next to Renaker’s Deansgate Square skyscraper cluster, the city council said the height, scale and massing of Fusion’s proposed development “would form an over-obtrusive feature within the street scene”.
“The building would have a poor relationship with Deansgate Quay, creating a feeling of overcrowdedness and being overbearing for residents,” a report to the council’s planning committee said.
The choice of cladding also came in for criticism, described as “poor quality” by officers.
Corstorphine + Wright Architects designed the tower and Cushman & Wakefield is the planning consultant.
Fusion Students was contacted for comment.