Agenda item

Agenda item

128191/FO/2020 - Land Bounded by Ashton Canal, Great Ancoats Street, Munday Street and Pollard Street, Manchester, M4 7DS - Ancoats and Beswick Ward

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


This application is for the erection of five office buildings and new public realm comprising: 3 no. 8 storey mixed use buildings (Buildings A, D and E) comprising workspaces (Use Class E) together with flexible uses at ground floor (Use Class E) and/or theatre/bar (Sui Generis) together with a multi-use rooftop amenity area to Building A; and 2 no. 5 storey mixed use buildings (Buildings B and C) comprising workspaces (Use Class E) together with flexible uses at ground floor (Use Class E) and/or theatre/bar (Sui Generis); together with cycle parking, creation of pedestrian and cycle routes, external amenity spaces, new public realm and other associated engineering and infrastructure works.


The Planning Officer provided an update, as reported in the late representations received. The update related to the receipt of ten letters of support for the application and three letters of objection. The letters received in objection raised additional issues relating to loss of sunlight and daylight and reference to a newt located less than 500metres from the site. Ward Councillor (Councillor Majid Dar) had raised resident’s concerns about the application and the impact it would have on the local community amenity and the belief that the proposal is very excessive and overindulgent. It was reported that HS2 had no objections to the scheme subject to the additional detailed conditions on the implementation of the scheme.  


The Chair invited an objector to address the Committee. The objector made reference to the Council’s Core Strategy (Spatial Principle 6) regarding the provision of green infrastructure and questioned the development on valuable green space which is used by the local community. It was suggested that more recognition of changes to working behaviour should be given, in view the increase in office space and the ongoing increase in homebased working. Other issues were the lack of infrastructure for travel to the area and the number of objections received from local residents. Reference was made to the cost of the sale and purchase of the land involved in the proposal


The applicant’s agent addressed the Committee on the application.


Councillor Taylor (ward Councillor) addressed the Committee to voice the concerns of local residents and the other two ward councillors. The main concern related to the loss of space which is used by residents for leisure and recreation in an area with properties with little or no outdoor space. Concerns were raised that the loss of green spaces would have an adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of local people at a time when access to green spaces is very much valued. It was considered that the new green spaces proposed in the application are too small for the number of residents who currently use the existing space.


The Planning Officer reported that the Core Strategy should be considered as a whole and not as individual parts. The planning report submitted had addressed the Core Strategy and the relevant policies had been referred to. The green space identified for the proposal does not have any status and had been earmarked for development for many years. The proposal is consistent with a long-term vision for the area of New Islington and East Manchester. The Committee were informed that costs attributed to the sale or purchase of land is not a material planning issue and should not be considered. With reference to the proposed increase in office space it was reported that an economic recovery plan was in place and the increase in residential and office accommodation were integral to the plan. Discussions with a cross section of businesses within the city had indicated that there is a desire to return to work and there is a need for good quality office accommodation. The site is sustainable with a tram stop close by and the location also enables other form of transport to be used such as cycling. In addition, the proposal will provide large scale employment during the construction (1200) and afterwards.


The Chair invited the Committee to comment and asked questions.


A member referred to the number of blocks involved in the proposal and the amount of green space proposed and considered this the be insufficient to replace what is currently there. Reference was also made to the New Islington Metrolink stop and whether are any conditions included for the increase of green coverage.


The Planning Officer reported that a third of the proposed site would be used as green and open space and access will be opened onto the canal towpath. With reference to the Metrolink it was reported that HS2 may potentially result in changes to the Metrolink network and it would be anticipated that Metrolink would be encouraged to provide a suitable tram stop for a popular area, such as the tram stop located at Castlefield.


In welcoming the proposal, a member referred to the accessibility of the routes into and around the proposed buildings and the potential loss of light on green spaces and the current access road currently used by residents of adjacent buildings which may become congested.


The Planning Officer explained to the Committee that the development design must take into account elements of access, green space the proposed build and the integration with the surroundings and the residents living there. It was reported that the proposal combines different routes to allow access. With reference to light on open spaces it was reported that an assessment was made on the impact of the proposed buildings on the loss of day light and it was considered that the level of sunlight/ daylight would be adequate in those areas of green space. The proposal would mean that there will be eighty less parking spaces and this would reduce the number of cars and congestion. It was explained that light levels to the existing buildings is high due to the open nature of the space. The proposal will impact on the amenity of the residents of the adjacent buildings however, officers did not believe that this was unusual in this type of development elsewhere in the city centre.


A member asked officers why Condition 26 had been omitted and what other conditions would be expected as a result of HS2.


It was reported that Condition 26 had been removed at the request of Metrolink which had originally requested it to be added. The input of HS2 for specific conditions for the scheme were for the purpose of future proofing the site for potential changes to the Metrolink Network as a result of HS2 to enable co-ordination of both schemes.


Councillor Andrews moved the recommendation to approve the application. Councillor Shaukat Ali seconded the proposal.




The Committee approve the application, subject to the conditions and reasons set out in the report submitted, the removal of Condition 26 and the addition of Conditions relating to arrangements for HS2 developments.


(Councillor Leech declared a prejudicial interest and took no part in the consideration of the application.)

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