Gary Neville, director of St Michael’s, has announced that he has asked Manchester City Council “not to determine” the planning application for the £200m city centre scheme in its current form, to allow the developer to make “further changes”.
Speaking at a prime slot at Manchester’s pavilion at MIPIM, Neville admitted that “no doubt we have struggled to get our message across” when it came to the controversial project, which proposes a 21-storey and 31-storey tower on a prime site off Deansgate.
St Michael’s includes a mix of offices, “high end” residential, a five-star hotel, and public realm. Make is the architect, Planit-IE is landscape architect. Zerum is development adviser.
Protest against the plans has gained momentum over the past year. Many locals and members of the property community have levelled criticism against the decision to demolish the properties currently on the plot, the size of the towers which loom over nearby civic buildings, and the choice of cladding material.
A planning application was submitted in February, and it is rumoured that the council has received more than 1,400 letters of objection.
Neville said that the fundamentals of the scheme would not be changed, but “refinements” would be made, particularly around the public realm and Bootle Street “which we have failed miserably at”. He conceded that the project had received “an unprecedented response”.
“It’s a momentary pause, not a withdrawal of the application,” he stressed.
Last month, Historic England declared its opposition, and described the scheme as “aggressive” and set to cause “substantial harm”.