Quay Street office plans set for approval

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Proposals for the redevelopment of Astley House and Byrom House in Manchester’s Quay Street into a 270,000 sq ft office are due to go before the city council’s planning committee next week.

The scheme from West Midlands Pension Fund, advised by CBRE Global Investors, would see the demolition of the two 1960s interlinked offices next to St John’s Gardens.

Designed by Stride Treglown, the new building would be divided into three blocks which range from 14 storeys next to Lower Byrom Street, to six storeys closer to Byrom Street.

A restaurant and café unit is included on the ground floor, and the St John’s Passage which runs alongside the building would see improvements such as new lighting and disabled access as part of the scheme.

The plans were first announced in September 2013, when WMPF began a consultation process and entered into pre-planning application talks with the council.

The planning application received 60 representations from members of the public, with objections that the scheme is too tall, was extending the footprint of Spinningfields too far, and that the demolition of Astley House and Byrom House would cause the loss of examples of post-war optimism architecture.

Opposite the site, Allied London is developing a 340,000 sq ft office designed by SimpsonHaugh & Partners on the site of Quay House. Demolition works are currently underway and the building is due to be completed in 2016.

A report by council planning officers ahead of the council meeting on 3 June recommended that the redevelopment be approved, but acknowledged that “the proposal could cause some harm to the settings of the nearby listed buildings, in particular Cobden House, but that this would be less than substantial harm, and, having considered very carefully all relevant matters… it is considered that the harm to those settings is outweighed by the public benefits that the proposal would bring.

“This report has demonstrated that this is an appropriate site for a building of this scale and that the development proposed would be well designed and of a high quality, achieving a landmark building at this important gateway site, and fulfilling an important role in providing a type of commercial accommodation within the city centre for which there is an acknowledged need.”

CBRE Global Investors is advised by Colliers International.

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