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£40m Manchester PBSA Tower Approved

Posted by Aisling Murphy

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

In June 2021 Manchester Council refused plans proposed by Corstophine & Wright on behalf of developer Fusion Students for a 28-storey student accommodation tower in Manchester.

The plans were cited as 'over obtrusive', and the planning committee concurred with residents that the scheme would be "incongruous with the surrounding area".

Officers also claimed that the scale and 'poor' quality of the proposed tower would cause "significant harm" to existing residents. They concluded that the application did not adequately show the need for additional student accommodation in the area.

The proposal consists of 534 student beds, made up of: 133 studios, 30 1-bed apartments, 40 2-bed apartments, 27 3-bed apartments, 21 4-bed apartments, and 21 6-bed apartments. Communal spaces including a rooftop terrace, lounge areas, a gaming zone, gym and communal study spaces were also included.

However, this week, the decision was overturned. Planning inspector John Braithwaite was appointed to look into the appeal. He said that the original refusal contradicted the council's own targets for PBSA in the area. The council has said they need to increase annual PBSA bed growth to 660 by 2030. The decision states that "there is a quantitative and qualitative need for the proposed PBSA scheme which would be in an appropriate location relative to UM and MMU campuses".

John Braithwaite stated that: "The proposed development would not harm the setting of the four Grade II listed buildings and the non-designated heritage asset and would not harm the character and appearance of the Castlefield Conservation Area".

Regarding concerns raised over corten steel being used as the cladding material, the appeal decision states that it is a material that "naturally corrodes to an orange/red colour. It is claimed that this colour reflects a traditional building material of the area, red brick".