The 13-storey aparthotel proposed by Fred Done’s Salboy and Factory Estates on the corner of Shudehill in the Northern Quarter has been refused by Manchester City Council’s planning committee, in a rare departure from planning officer recommendations which said the scheme should be approved.
The decision comes three months after the project first appeared on the committee agenda, and what has followed is a series of lively and often heated debates in subsequent planning meetings over the appropriateness of the height for the location, the loss of buildings currently on the plot, and the impact on neighbours.
November was the first time the hotel was put to the councillors, but was deferred to allow for a site visit. In December, the scheme was discussed in full, but a decision deferred again after councillors raised concerns over the building height and waste disposal strategy. It was in this meeting that the committee first suggested it might be minded to refuse but was told by officers that they needed to define clear grounds for a refusal.
The proposals were back on the agenda in January without any amends, and councillors agreed a motion that they would be minded to reject the scheme on the basis of height.
Finally, the hotel was refused yesterday, going against the recommendations of the council’s planning officers who have consistently said the proposal should be approved.
Simon Ismail from developer Salboy spoke in defense of the scheme at the committee yesterday, saying that the developer “had not anticipated so many concerns” but that he was “wholeheartedly committed to scheme of quality”.
Cllr Joan Davis spoke on behalf of six other city councillors objecting against the hotel, calling it a “long running saga” and stating her belief that the scheme would contribute to loss of buildings which give character to area.
Prior to the application reaching committee, the designs had already been amended to reduce the tallest element by one storey to 13 floors. Throughout the course of the process, the project has been through varying degrees of peer scrutiny, including examination from architect Stephen Hodder.
The saga may not be over, should the developers choose to appeal the decision.
Factory Estates and Salboy declined to comment. Phil Doyle, lead architect on the project at 5plus, said: “We’re reviewing options with the client.”
Euan Kellie Property Solutions is the planner.
Meanwhile, the meeting saw planning success for several other significant proposals. DeTrafford’s plans for 400 apartments across three towers of 32, 26 and 18 storeys were approved in Castlefield; Signature Living’s first Manchester hotel was consented on Liverpool Road, an Emmeline Pankhurst statue is now set to be erected in St Peter’s Square, and Beech Holdings got approval for 155 apartments on Rochdale Road. SimpsonHaugh and Paul Butler Associates advise DeTrafford; Turley advises on the Emmeline Pankhurst statue.
The committee decided it was ‘minded to approve’ controversial proposals for a 1,200-place school at Nutsford Vale, subject to a call in by the Secretary of State. Local community campaigners Save Nutsford Vale had objected to the use of the site, which is a former landfill but have become a valued green space for nearby residents.