Gary Neville MIPIM

MIPIM | Decision on St Michael’s in ‘momentary pause’

Jessica Middleton-Pugh in Cannes

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.

St Michaels New Facade January 2017

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”.

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Taller, slimmer, tapering like New York 1930s skyscrapers and grey without the barmy steps would make them more acceptable.

By Tony Heyes

it isn’t the design it is the site, where they are to be built. If they were being built at NOMA,or near to the new Owen street development, they would look fine, in present form . Keep the design, just change the location.

By Elephant

It’s not about not being able to get the message across. The CGIs from Albert Square and St Peter’s Square and close up CGIs of street scenes together with the well known demolition of the Abercromby get the message across loud and clear.

By Anon

I hope its not just another colour change to the graphics.

By Harry S

Elephant’s right. This will show Manchester up as cramped and overdeveloped in the wrong places. Would look better in Bootle than on Bootle Street.

By Liverpool-Manc

This is an urban design issue. The proposal fails to acknowledge context, which in fairness to Make, isn’t something starchitects usually have to worry about. It requires a completely new approach by a team who understands Manchester. The streets, the history, the demographics etc. It needs someone to work in the background. Unlock it sensibly, then simply hand it back to Make so they can front it.

By Vicarinatutu

“Struggled to get the message across”. Once again in complete denial as to the fact that no one likes it. Please leave to the professionals and go back to football. It’s embarrassing Manchester.

By John Pearson

I agree with vicarinatutu up until the point about Make fronting it. Mr. Shuttleworth remains overexcited after being freed from the shackles at Foster’s. This site calls for sensitivity, and his track record shows it needs a different architect.

By Gene Walker

Gaz look at the state of it pal it’s a disgrace, it doesn’t fit there you don’t need to be paying them consultants all that money to try and justify it, a GCSE geography student could tell you it doesn’t work there. Do you really want to do this to the City you’re meant to love, come on now you can do better lad and fettlin and polishing it isn’t going to make it any better!

By Albert Squared

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