Agenda item

Agenda item

Application for 132489/FO/2021 - Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ - Piccadilly Ward

The report of the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing is enclosed.


The Planning and Highways Committee were ‘minded to refuse’ this proposal on 31

May 2022 on the basis of its size and scale and its impact on the conservation area.


This proposal was for 485 homes with two commercial units in a part-34, part-11, part 9 part 7 storey building with hard and soft landscaping. 211 letters of objection were received and 34 letters of support. Many did not object to the principle of the site being developed, supporting the creation of more housing with appropriate facilities and are keen to see it brought back to life but object to the form of development. The objections relate to design and scale, heritage and townscape, affordable housing/ need and viability, privacy and living conditions of adjacent residents, provision of public realm, traffic, highways and parking, climate change / embodied carbon, compliance with Planning Policy, precedent and the consultation process.


The Planning Officer confirmed that there had been a late objection from a Ward Councillor which raised similar points to those in the report. The Planning Officer confirmed that that the Piccadilly Basin SRF envisaged 2 buildings on the site at 33 and 20 storeys with the taller building on Great Ancoats Street, closest to the conservation area. The tallest building in this scheme would be 34 storeys and the next tallest building at 11 storeys. The 34-storey building was set back away from the conservation area with the closest building to this area being 9 storeys. Whilst officers have set out a reason for refusal, the Planning Officer felt that this could not be substantiated as the tallest building has been set back the furthest from the Ancoats conservation area with no concerns raised by Historic England.


An objector addressed the Committee. The objector requested that the Committee stand firm in their rejection, stating that the scheme had not changed since the previous hearing in May 2022. He stated that the development would impact on local communities. The tallest building would be 20 storeys higher than any local comparable towers and was excessive in height and scale and should be reduced, the effects of light, loss of privacy and shadowing would greatly affect nearby dwellings and a local primary school, it would cause issues within the public realm with associated parking and highways issues plus increased pollution, consultation showed that 81% of those contacted were opposed to the development and that the developer will have noted concerns around the height of the tallest building but then increased it by one storey.


The applicant’s agent addressed the Committee.


A Ward Councillor opposed the scheme, stating that he could not see why there was no on-site affordable housing, adding that the developer does not want Manchester residents living there, that putting a local primary school in shadows is immoral, with regard to the national benchmark and viability this is an assessment of risk and that there was no associated risk with regards to building in the city centre. He noted that the scheme had not changed since the Committee was minded to refuse at their May meeting, and exceeding the SRF by any amount would cause harm and added that the developer stood to make a profit of approximately £30m and added that it is unlikely that they would cease the project if requested to reduce the scheme and/or make a greater S106 contribution.


The Planning Officer stated that all issues were addressed within the report.


The Chair invited the Committee to ask questions/make comments.


A member stated that they had considered the scheme since the last meeting in May and felt that balancing the extra storey against the creation of 600 jobs in a cost of living crisis was making the scheme appear more acceptable, adding that there was a £1m contribution towards affordable housing and that construction costs are also rising.

The Planning Officer referred to the balance between values and costs, stating that the planning team ran an exercise with a nil value on the land to test if this scheme would be viable. The results showed that the developers profit would be 17% which is below the Government advice target and added that the S106 contribution would decrease profits by a further £1m.


A member commented, stating that the contribution was not of major concern when considered next to the breach of the SRF. The SRF had been agreed between the Executive of the City Council and sets out acceptable and defendable building scales. The member stated that this posed a problem for them in supporting the project as well as Historic England’s assessment stating an associated significant impact, that if the scheme was 30 storeys high he would have to accept it but concluded by stating that he would be minded to refuse this application.


The Planning Officer confirmed that the SRF recommendation for the site was 33 storeys. Historic England considered the impact of the harm would be “less than substantial” and added that the scheme’s public benefit outweighed any potential harm caused.


The member noted that the height was 1 storey more than had been agreed and referred to Historic England’s comments that the scheme would “negatively contribute” with “considerable impact.” The member stated that he would accept the proposal if it met with the aims of the SRF. The Planning Officer confirmed that Historic England considered the harm to be less than substantial.


A member noted that tall buildings are always difficult but that the whole context needed to be kept in focus. The member expressed that, at only 1 storey over the SRF and with a contribution of £1m and associated construction jobs during tough economic times, the application was another example of the success of the city centre and the difficulty in negating any impact on nearby residents etc. and noted that she would support amotion of Minded to Approve.


A member asked if there had been any further dialogue with the developer to keep the tower within SRF guidelines. The Planning Officer confirmed that discussions had taken place and that it was not possible to alter the scheme. He noted that the material impact of 1 extra floor had to be assessed when the tower was to be set back from Great Ancoats Street.


The member stated that the scheme had moved towards another conservation area in Stevenson Square and that there could be an impact on this and the Ancoats conservation area. The Planning Officer referred to the report, stating that impacts to all heritage sites had been confirmed as resulting in no substantial harm.


Councillor Richards moved the recommendation of Minded to Approve subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement in relation to an initial off site affordable housing

contribution, with a future review of the affordable housing position. Councillor Stogia seconded the proposal.


This motion was not carried by the Committee and Councillor Flanagan moved that the Committee were Minded to Refuse due to the scheme exceeding recommendations set out by the Strategic Regeneration Framework and requested that further dialogue take place with the developer in this respect ahead of bringing the application back to Committee.




The Committee resolved to be Minded to Refuse decision for the reasons detailed.

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