Speakers House approved after controversial rejection

Manchester City Council has voted in favour of Aegon’s 17-storey Deansgate office despite concerns about the privacy of residents living in No1 Deansgate. 

The £90m development, designed by Sheppard Robson, will provide 135,000 sq ft of office space. 

“This decision is the result of hard work and collaboration between the project team, the local community and Manchester City Council,” said Bob Dyson, consultant at CBRE, which advised Aegon throughout.

“We are delighted that members recognised the positive impacts that this scheme will bring to the local economy and the ongoing regeneration of this key gateway area of the city centre. Sheppard Robson has designed a fine building that will meet the identified need for grade A office space and attract occupiers from key growth sectors including digital and tech seeking smaller more flexible floor plates in ‘status’ buildings.”

Following refusal of the scheme in January 2021 – which sparked disappointment among commentators – Aegon opted to resubmit the proposals, rather than appeal. 

The scheme was resubmitted with the addition of fritted glass in a bid to allay privacy concerns and planning officers recommended the committee approve the plans. 

Planning officer Dave Roscoe said the privacy issues facing residents at No1 Deansgate were “not unusual” and that the planning committee had previously approved other developments in spite of similar concerns. 

On the heritage issue, Roscoe said Historic England had assessed the scheme and concluded it would cause “less than substantial harm” to the St Ann’s Conservation Area. 

Despite the recommendation for approval, some members of the city council’s planning committee seemed unconvinced that the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the harm. 

However, Cllr Paul Andrews and Cllr Angeliki Stogia moved the recommendation for approval, prompting a vote. The planning committee then voted in favour of the scheme by seven votes to four, with one abstention.

This is the second time Cllr Stogia has played an instrumental role in the approval of a controversial city centre scheme in recent months. 

Last summer, she sparked a vote to approve the demolition of a pair of listed weavers cottages on Thomas Street to pave the way for Warp & Weft, a residential development. 

The approval of Speakers House follows progress on another nearby regeneration scheme, the redevelopment of the former Renaissance Hotel.

The Renaissance project is being led by Property Alliance Group and Starwood Capital and features plans for an office, hotel and 300-home residential tower.

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The best news. Together with the Renaissance plans this end of Deansgate will be something to be proud of. Let’s get it built!

By Andrew

Fantastic news. A brilliant scheme that will really help to sort out that part of Deansgate. Quality like this needs to be the bench mark across the city centre now.

By Bob

Brilliant!! I hope they start construction at 5am every morning, just to stick it to the moanbags in No.1 Deansgate

By Alex

Good news,I must say we’ll done to Councillor Stogia.You have done the right thing,twice!.I am pleased Warp & Weft is going through replacing discarded beer cans and broken glass.Get building!

By Robert Fuller

Finally this gets through! Fantastic scheme…get it built!

By Steve

Fantastic news! This is truly gonna transform this corner of deansgate which at the moment doesn’t look very attractive

By Michael

Vamos !! 🙂

By MrP

Great news – can we see councillors what voted for and against?

By George

The right decision. This will redefine this part of Deansgate.

By SW

Why do we never see the top of this building? Besides that, the bottom looks great. The rise and rise of Manchester. The view from the cathedral down Deansgate towards Deansgate square in ten years time is going to be world class.

By Elephant

Excellent news

By Monty

The only sensible decision. Great design and will add so much to this very prominent corner in the city centre.

By Simon

Wow , even more Grade A office space in Manchester. Given the amount that has been built around the city centre in the past few years I didn’t think that level of demand was there but clearly I was wrong. They should get Sheppard Robson to design more in the city centre, this does look rather good.

By DesparateDan

Literally on the up!

By Cal

Looks awful

By Jane

Looks great!

By Tarzan

Super development . A welcome Quality office design in a location that will only continue to create jobs in Manchester.

By Anonymous

As long as Coucillors and Planners are consistent with their decisions such developments can only benefit The City Centre
Decisions reached in the Northern Quarter have not always been consistent and won’t be in the future until it is accepted that some buildings such as the one mentioned in the article are simply not worth saving ! !

By Daniel Gaunt

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