Residents of Macintosh Village want the city council to overturn a controversial decision to approve an 850-unit student accommodation tower on Great Marlborough Street, claiming proper planning processes were not followed.
Lawyers representing the residents have handed Manchester City Council a pre-action letter outlining its case and its intention to appeal the matter in the High Court if necessary, according to a report by the Manchester Evening News.
The letter questions the city council’s decision to approve GMS Parking’s £130m plans for the 55-storey tower close to Oxford Road in July.
The residents’ legal challenge would be based on a perceived failure on the part of GMS Parking to prove the need for purpose built student accommodation in the area.
The impact the scheme would have on air quality, and the loss of parking provision for Macintosh Village residents are also among the reasons put forward to support the legal challenge.
Under the developer’s plans, several parking spaces used by residents of Macintosh Village would be lost, an issue lawyers say infringes on residents’ leasehold rights.
In addition, residents claim Cllr Paul Andrews, a member of Manchester City Council’s planning committee, failed to declare a conflict of interest relating to the project.
Cllr Andrews sits on the advisory board for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, which has land interests in the area, residents say.
He was instrumental in the project’s approval, moving the recommendation to approve the planning application after it had looked like the plans would be deferred for a third time.
GMS Parking’s plans involve the reduction in size of the multistorey car park on Great Marlborough Street, with the space created being used to build a part 55-storey complex offering 853 student accommodation units.
A four-storey amenity building featuring 8,460 sq ft of incubator workspace is also included in GMS’ proposals.
More than 750 letters of objection against the project were lodged prior to the approval of the proposals.
The scheme was previously being brought forward as a Student Castle project, the company that GMS director Edward Cade co-founded in 2010.
Student Castle developed the nearby 37-storey student tower since sold to Liberty Living.
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.