Affinity Living's 34-storey residential building was among those refused at the 31 May planning committee meeting. Credit: via planning documents

Manchester rejects Port Street flats, Gamecock pub overhaul

Manchester City councillors also voted to defer making decisions on M1 Piccadilly’s Store Street project and M&G’s Fountain Street revamp until after conducting site visits of the relevant areas.

Both Affinity Living’s Port Street apartment scheme and Curlew Opportunities redevelopment of the old Gamecock pub site were given the “minded to refuse” verdict, which means they will also return to the committee for a final vote. All of the projects had been tipped for approval by planning committee officers.

The decisions were made at the council’s planning meeting on 31 May.

Port Street

Affinity Living faced rejection from Manchester City Council for its £154m plans to build 485 apartments by the corner of Great Ancoats Street and Port Street.

Designed by SimpsonHaugh Architects, the plans called for a building that would range from seven storeys tall to 34. Of the 485 planned apartments, none would have been designated affordable. Despite receiving 210 letters of objection, the scheme had been recommended for approval by planning committee officers pending the inclusion of an off-site affordable housing contribution.

However, in the end, councillors agreed with those citizens who had objected. The council designated the application “minded to refuse” due to concerns over the scale of the development and the impact it would have on the conservation area. The application will return to the committee at a later date.

Deloitte Real Estate was the planning consultant for the project. The scheme’s application number is 132489/FO/2021.

5plus is the architect behind the gold Store Street building. Credit: North Made Studio

48 Store Street

Manchester City councillors will conduct a site visit of the 48 Store Street plot before making up their minds on whether to approve the application or not.

M1 Piccadilly’s proposal for the site called for the building of a 15-storey golden tower with 54 apartments, amenity spaces, and cycle parking spaces. The scheme only features two car parking spaces, which was criticised by councillors during the planning meeting.

There is not any on-site affordable housing included in the application.

5plus Architects designed the scheme for M1 Piccadilly, part of LW Group. Zerum is the planning consultant.

Planning committee officers had recommended the scheme for approval, pending the signing of a section 106 agreement to provide an initial off-site affordable housing contribution.

The application number for the project is 132626/FO/2022.


The original Victorian façade would be retained. Credit: via planning documents

50 Fountain Street

M&G’s £34m overhaul of the former Hill Dickinson office in Manchester will have to wait for a decision after the council voted to defer weighing in on the matter until after it had conducted a site visit.

According to the designs by Jon Matthews Architects, the project would have retained the original Victorian façade of 50 Fountain Street while knocking down the rest of the building. In its stead it would create a 55,000 sq ft office that would be seven storeys tall.

Ask Real Estate is the development partner for the project. Bam is the main contractor and Renaissance is the structural engineer. Ridge is the M&E engineer for the scheme while Stephen Levrant is the heritage consultant. Also on the project team: Cundall, DFC, Gardiner & Theobald, and Planit-IE.

The project’s two application reference numbers are 131859/FO/2021 and 131860/LO/2021.

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell had issued her opposition to the development. Credit: via Cratus

Former Gamecock Public House

The planning committee was a place of victory for the community group Block the Block, which had come out to object to Curlew Opportunities’ proposal to build a 261-bedroom student accommodation block on the site of the Gamecock pub off Boundary Lane in Hulme.

Their objections focused on the impact the 13-storey scheme would have on the nearby residents in regards to the amount of sunlight their gardens received. The group also argued that there was no need for more student accommodation in the area.

Block the Block’s arguments proved persuasive, with committee members giving the scheme the “minded to refuse” verdict, which means it will return to the committee at a later date for a final vote.

Curlew’s plans for the site were designed by SimpsonHaugh Architects and had included a community hub for Hulme residents to use that would have a gym and event space.

Turley was the planning consultant for the scheme. The application’s reference number is 130387/FO/2021.

Your Comments

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Brilliant to see the Committee actually have a backbone for once. These developments are laughably bad, and one sincerely hopes they can be refused properly next time around.

By Byronic

I’m so glad the development in Hulme was refused. The area already has enough student accommodation. This site should be used for housing local people as there is a huge demand for such housing in the area. The area is already suffering from the issues that a large transient student population brings, and adding more student accommodation will only make things worse.

By Manc Man

Architects and developers need to start trying harder in Manchester it seems

By Anonymous

A good decision by the planning committee

By Sally casey

You know a building is bad when the render has to be done at night

By Elephant

Parts of this Country are in an absolute shambles with the undersupply of quality housing. Those lauding Councillors rejecting these developments, and whining about architecture, greenbelt and nimbyism, are so far removed from the macro economic impacts on the housing market by rejecting schemes such as these (escalating food bank usage, unaffordable rents, entry level house prices, cost of living, deprivation) should be ashamed. Where are the 300,000 homes per year going to come from? Can we offset against this target by building in Rwanda?

By Alan Partridge

Manchester needs to get choosier when it comes to quality, yes. However, the recent appeal victory at Deansgate should have been a lesson to councillors. When you lose an appeal, the taxpayer picks up the cost. Port Street and Gamecock look like quality schemes, providing much needed density. 48 Store Street is ok for what is a back street, plus it doesn’t need parking. There are car hire places next door, multiple car parks adjacent, plus one of the busiest rail stations in the country (plus future HS2). Councillors should think carefully. Manchester needs to delicately balance the need for higher quality against the message this sends to previously welcome developers. The era of Leese is well and truly over, for good and for bad.

By Closed for Business

Not a good look

By Anonymous

None great, none terrible, but we need more affordable housing so fair play to the committee for digging their heels in on this particular issue.

By Gene Walker

I’m glad the Store Street one wasn’t approved. I’ve got no problem with the site being used for high rise residential, but the current design is an absolute eyesore.

By Frank

The planning merry-go-round continues: developers submit plans, officers recommend approval, committee members are mind to refuse or want a site visit, architects makes some tweaks to the design, developers drop hints about an appeal, tweaked plans are resubmitted, officers recommend approval, committee members reluctantly approve in the knowledge that they don’t really have the power to prevent the development and so the broken planning system continues.

By Anonymous

Could Simpson Haugh Architects look at some of the splendid architecture around the World and get some inspiration? The quality of the developments they come up with shows very little imagination. Once they are built we’ ll be stuck with them for Fifty years. Manchester deserves so much better than this.

By Peter Chapman

Excellent post by Anonymous at 12.45 pm today.

By Peter Chapman

If the planning committee panders to nimbys, and that is precisely what they are, the city will not attract the investment necessary to provide Mancunians with better opportunities and better lives. People in Manchester needs better jobs so that they can live in the shiny towers rather than look at them. Meanwhile the so called champagne socialists or is it working class heroes push development towards Birmingham and Leeds. I don’t think real Mancunians will thank them whilst the nimbys protect what they have!!

By Anonymous

Must must get more affordable housing into Manchester and hopefully fewer flats being sold to overseas investors as bricks and mortar safety deposit boxes. We are in a new era post-pandemic / Ukrainian war and we need to change with it.

By Anonymous

A good decision for a change.

A lot of these schemes were designed by accountants it seems. Port Street is a particularly poor example; especially next to a Grade II* building.

By Observer

It’s time developers were forced by the council to put Manchester first and not the interests of offshore property speculation if they wish to get planning permission and that means affordable housing especially for families and key workers.Too many people are being deliberately priced out of the city and it’s leading to a very boring gentrified city unlike the Manchester of the past.

By Brenda Jones

It might help if they incorporated balconies to demonstrate this isn’t just glorified student halls containing impractical housing units for short term transitory residents only. That might help persuade the committee this is a high quality proposal.

By Balcony watch

I don’t know about you Brenda but I’ve lived in Manchester for 70 years and for most of that time it has been a place that the people of Manchester left and our population dwindled to less than 400,000. It is now a city of growth where people are choosing to live. I know which one I prefer!!

By Anonymous

Developers have had far too easy ride for decades building low quality high profit substandard housing. These huge companies with eye watering profits have created the housing shortages with land banking and other tactics. Then they use the crisis of their making to moan when challenged over proposed developments. Social housing is a must. Well done Manchester City Council rejecting these terrible proposals. The gravy train has to hit the buffers at some point.


Anonymous 1.40 what on earth are you talking about? Wherever you are taking your data from ignore it and stick to PNW.

By Anonymous

I see the younger councillors don’t remember the decades of decline and under investment in Mcr. Port street plot has been a surface car park for the last 30 years and it doesn’t even front Ancoats ‘village’. Get them built. It’s almost impossible to rent or buy a flat in central Mcr at them moment. We need them ASAP.

By Piccadilly man

Brenda, I live in Ancoats and if gentrification means some of those local yobs who go around smashing people’s cars and live around the corner are displaced I’m all for it!

By Anonymous

Simpson Haugh Architects should be ashamed as a Manchester company to design such a monstrosity! It’s another overdevelopment example that doesn’t take into account the local context.

By Johnny

This is only the beginning, we must keep up our determined efforts. Come on people we need even more residents & friends at the town hall on the 30th of June.💯👍👏

By Roy Bennett

Anonymous 7.54 you need to be looking further forward. Planning decisions like this which have a village mentality seriously undermine investment and development confidence. If you don’t think they do you are out of touch. Birmingham and Leeds have understood this now, 25 years after Manchester, but will be much more competitive in the next 5 to 10 years. Manchesters Planning committee need to wise up

By Anonymous 1.40

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