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All The Decisions Made by Manchester Planning Committee

The decision over two huge developments that would see thousands of new student homes brought to Manchester has been pushed back.

Three planning applications, two of which were a joint application, included adding over 4,000 student homes to the borough. This would have involved the redevelopment of Upper Brook Street in Manchester and the overhaul of the Fallowfield Campus at the University of Manchester.

The plans for Upper Brook Street would include thousands of new student homes to fund a new science building for the university. Similar arguments of overpopulation in a student area as well as air pollution due to construction work were common points put forward by angry objectors from both Brunswick and Fallowfield. Both sections of objectors attended the latest planning committee meeting at Manchester Town Hall in force to make their voices heard.

Committee members decided that on both Upper Brook Street and Fallowfield Campus applications, that a site visit was necessary before they could make a decision. This means that both proposals were deferred until a later date for a decision.

The student tower blocks and science building planned for the city centre – DEFERRED

A 12-storey, 14-storey and 29-storey building housing thousands of students as well as a nine-storey science building have been proposed on Upper Brook Street.

The proposal put forward by McLaren Property Ltd and Kadans Science Partner 8 UK Ltd is thought to bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the area. The applicants estimate the development would create 826 temporary and full time equivalent jobs every year of construction and bring in more than £20m to the local economy each year.

For locals though, plans would see their community overlooked by huge buildings that would block out their sunlight. An objecting local by the name of Gareth made the case that the health of their children and the expected traffic chaos was enough for the committee to throw out this application.

“This building will tower over our homes and will literally block out the sunlight,” he said. Gareth added that he has experienced building work for the last 10 years and this latest development will ‘erase the character of his neighbourhood’.

Similar thoughts were echoed by local councillors in attendance – Coun Amna Saad Omar Abdullatif and Coun Abdigafar Mohamed Muse. A planning officer present at the meeting explained that the whole purpose of this plan was to bring a new life science building to the area. This is part of the investment into ‘growth and prosperity’ that the agent in attendance was speaking about. They both explained that plans had been reduced in size to the minimum requirement in order to fund the science centre.

Overhaul of the Fallowfield Campus for the University of Manchester – DEFERRED

Up to 3,300 new student homes would be built at the university campus in Fallowfield if Manchester University gets its way at a later meeting. Their outline application would see buildings such as the iconic Owens Park Tower demolished and replaced with buildings ‘more fit for purpose’ the committee heard. The plan was equally as unpopular among people in the public gallery as the Upper Brook Street development that came before it.

The older halls of residence dated back to the 1960’s could be flattened alongside Sheavyn House, Ashburne Hall, Richmond Park and Unsworth Park over a phased redevelopment. In their place, student 3,300 bedrooms will be built, along with facilities for a ‘drinking establishment and hot food takeaway’ and staff accommodation. This is only an outline application, meaning the consideration is only being made of the general principles of the proposals.

The lack of detail though was one of many reasons they disagreed with the proposals. The committee heard from objectors that this was one of the more polluted areas of Manchester and more development would only add to that issue. An objector speaking on behalf of the residents explained that parents walk their children to school past this site, and more development would only add to pollution.

A representative from the university explained that this new development would not take any more space than the current site. He added that there is growing demand for more, higher quality, accommodation – which this would provide.

The argument that purpose built student accommodation could help quell the housing demand in Manchester was used in this case and the previous item on Upper Brook Street. It is believed that if students have actual student homes to use in their later years of study, they would not use HMOs – freeing up more family homes.

However on both applications, this assessment was met with cynicism by objectors.

New diagnostics centre for Withington Community Hospital – APPROVED

A new diagnostics centre will be built in Withington to help address increasing demand for tests and screenings in Manchester, the committee decided.

The new two-storey building at the Withington Community Hospital site would form a community diagnostics centre alongside a new patient delivery drop-off area. The new building off Nell Lane would comprise a range of internal space including: consultation and examination rooms; procedure rooms; changing rooms; recovery areas; administrative space; ECG and ECO rooms; and, lung function rooms.

Although the benefits of the site were clearly outlined by the representative from Manchester Foundation Trust, the issue of parking was still in need of addressing for locals.

Coun Debbie Hilal was in attendance at the meeting to express her concern over staff members parking on the streets surrounding the hospital – rather than in the actual car park. Explaining that she supports the new diagnostics centre, she wanted assurances that the trust would look into addressing the issue of staff members saying they can’t afford to park in their own car park.

The meeting heard how staff members are charged for parking at the hospital site, with prices different depending on their salary band. The trust has already stated they would provide an hour’s free parking now, and highlighted cancer patients are allowed to park there for free.

Huge solicitors office to be transformed into new apartment block and townhouses – APPROVED

Northenden will soon get 34 new flats in an apartment block as well as five townhouses just down the road following a committee decision.

The plans centre on a site that is currently the home of Express Solicitors, a legal practice specialising in personal injury claims. But the Palatine Road company has plans to relocate to a larger office at South Court in Sharston and, if the proposal is approved by Manchester Council, the company’s home of 20 years will be transformed into new living accommodation in the centre of the suburb.

Three townhouses, three storeys in height, fronting Allanson Road and two more off Brett Street would also be included in the plans. The five-storey apartment block with a mix of one and two bedrooms will have a 24-space car park mainly accessed via Allanson Road. Eight of the overall proposed homes will be affordable (up to 80 per cent off market value).

Coun Angela Moran was in attendance at the meeting airing her ward residents’ concerns regarding parking and a lack of amenity space within the development. The applicant told the committee that 70 per cent parking provision was ‘a reasonable amount’.

However, parking is an ongoing issue in Northenden’s centre, Coun Moran explained. These words were taken into account by the committee who approved the outline application. But approval has a condition in regard to affordable housing and the committee were told that more parking provision would be looked into by planning officers.

Three more applications were approved by the committee on Thursday. A new Fresh Fuel restaurant will be coming to Henry Street in Ancoats following a swift decision process. Alongside that, two house extensions one off Ardern Road and the other off Chichester Road, were both quickly pushed through by the committee.

The Chichester Road application related to Coun Lee-Ann Igbon’s own home, which needs to go through the planning committee as a matter of council principle. It had been deferred from the last planning committee due to a lack of detail.

Source: Manchester Evening News