Upper Brook Street PBSA , PAG Moda, p PAG

The building (far right) has been reduced in height in response to resident concerns. Credit: via planning documents

PAG/Moda slash height of Upper Brook Street PBSA on people power

The planned 42-storey student tower, one part of a wider £450m Manchester masterplan, has been reduced by 12 storeys in response to feedback from Ardwick residents. 

As well as a 25% reduction in height, feedback on Property Alliance Group and Moda Living’s scheme has prompted a decrease in beds from 1,100 to 983. Of these, 220 will be offered at a 20% discount.

The student beds are the first to come forward from Moda Living’s 4,000-bed student accommodation pipeline, announced in the summer.

Designed by SimpsonHaugh and to be operated by Moda, the student tower is located on the northernmost portion of the masterplan and has not been popular with some residents. 

A planning statement prepared by AshtonHale states that comments received during the statutory consultation “made clear that the proposed scale and massing approach described above was not supported by the local community”. 

“Whilst a robust justification was provided in the original planning application to support the proposed building heights and quantum of student beds, the applicants’ team are now seeking to revise the planning application in direct response to the public comments,” the statement adds. 

The student tower, one of three PBSA buildings PAG and Moda are developing, sits alongside a 470,000 sq ft of life sciences building, which is largely unchanged under the revised plans. 

The other half of the Upper Brook Street masterplan, which is being delivered by Kadans and McLaren Property Group, also remains unchanged. This element of the project proposes 737 student beds and 215,000 sq ft of labs. 

The wider project team for the development includes Hawkins\Brown, WSP, Turley, Curtins, Ridge, Focus Transport, and Design Fire are also involved in the scheme.   

To learn more about the plans, search for reference number 137401/FO/2023 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal.

Property Alliance Group chief executive Alex Russell, said: “Our intention for this brownfield site has always been community-focused, to ensure the investment and regeneration of the key city centre district was future-proofed.

“Ardwick has so much potential with its proximity to universities and talent, the city’s core and transport links. The opportunity to revive the neighbourhood was clear, and that is why we have worked closely with residents and key stakeholders to include their aspirations. We have been encouraged by the support so far.

He added: “Since the initial launch, the level of interest in life sciences at this new campus has been very encouraging, and if Manchester wants to continue to be a leader in innovation and science, and attract and retain the best people, then this development is key.”

James Blakey, planning and engagement director at Moda Living, added: “Enhanced student accommodation is crucial to support Manchester’s economic and investment growth plans as both a city and as a city region.

“The growth corridor along Upper Brook Street has been identified by the city council as an ideal highly sustainable and accessible location for new accommodation to support our top universities and our innovative life science industries.

“Providing highly managed accommodation will help alleviate the ongoing issue of students living in houses which could be occupied by local residents and families. We also made a commitment to providing subsidised affordable student accommodation whose occupants will have exactly the same access to on-site facilities and services as everyone else: a truly inclusive offer.”

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Pandering to NIMBY’s does not work (ask the rail industry).

So we’ve now lost vital student beds and the locals will still hate the newcomers.

By Anonymous

This is NOT the city centre. it’s still too tall

By Josh Burns

Still a cold, grey, bland SH design though. Should’ve got a different architect – Manchester’s skyline yearns for it

By Anonymous

To Anon – there is nothing NIMBY about this. Brunswick is predominantly a low rise residential area which has benefitted from successful regeneration over the past 10 years. A 42 storey tower here is nonsense. Even a 30 storey is pushing the boundaries.

By Wandering Manc

Disappointing. As Anonymous says, pandering to NIMBY’s is invariably a recipe for failure.

By Tom

Haha does anyone believe they has predicted the likely backlash and hadn’t already planned for a tower this height?

By Anonymous

crazy height for this area

By hey lad

Comments when this was announced gave the impression that 20 storeys would have been too high. Now they’ve just ended up with a worse looking tower

By Anonymous

I don’t get the issue really. It basically is the city centre. If this height was situated somewhere in the middle of Stockport, it would have looked odd.

By Anonymous

This is a not quite so bad amendment to the original horror story. Long term residents will still in the shadow of this proposed development. Aren’t we allowed to have some sunshine? Nothing new proposed about the traffic and parking problems this will cause to people living in the area.

By Steve

NIMBYs are always destroying everything positive in this country. One minute it’s HS2 and the next it’s regeneration and growth of the skyline of a potentially great city. 42 storeys would’ve given the tower some oomph and would’ve paved the way for more towers and regeneration in the area.

By ZiffZaff

If anything it should be increased by 12 storeys. Not happy!

By Giant Skyscraper Fan

Manchester has more than enough huge towers and some are very good with a lot more on the way. This wasn’t the site for another though. 30 storeys may be be small by recent standards but that’s still a big old thing

By Anonymous

How long will construction take now? Original was upto 10 years. My child won’t be able to go to the park. The “facilities” created are just going to be enough for the students living in the flats. We don’t need over towering buildings shadowing the park. Nor do we need a 5 year plus project which will bring dust, traffic, noise and really have a negative impact on the community. It doesn’t add anything to the local people.

By N Begum

The real issue here isn’t the height of your wonderful skyscraper (though such an imposing structure will deprive a large number of residents of valuable sunlight), it’s the duration of the build of such a massive development – estimated at 7.5 years at best in the original application (in the same document there is an admission that it could take ten years). The ORC Guidance document states that a development on such a scale would take between ten and twenty years. The same document also states that buildings should be between 6 and 10 storeys in keeping, appearance wise with the area as it is NOT the city centre. (In fact, when Upper Brook St was first co-opted into the ORC, the council agreed at a meeting with residents that buildings would not exceed six storeys). Which of you skyscraper fans would honestly wish to live with that and the accompanying noise, vibration, dust, dirt and pollution? 50-60 HGVs a day in Phase 1, 30 a day in Phase 2, six days a week and right next to a children’s play area. This isn’t just inconsiderate, it’s inhumane.

By Anonymous

The sun comes from the east, south then the west. As the tower is in the northern part of the site, the main thing it’d be overshadowing is the Mancunian Way.

By Sunlight

In Munich central area (not only the city center) blocks of flats have a maximum permitted height of, I believe, 4 storeys; to keep Munich a pleasant liveable place. New and extended builds must provide cellars for storage and a minimum-sized underground garage. Most European cities have similar city planning (holistic community planning)

By James Yates

As this is at the North end of the site, and we live in the northern hemisphere how is this going to overshadow anything?

By Andronicus

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