New ‘conservation-led’ plans submitted for controversial Manchester development

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has published an alternative design concept for the controversial site in the city known as ‘St Michael’s’.

Ex-footballer Gary Neville’s £200m plans for the site worth include a 40-storey hotel/residential tower and a 10-storey office block.

Under the consented plans, which is now subject to Judicial Review, the Manchester Reform Synagogue would be demolished, and the substantial 1930s police station would be partly demolished.

The Sir Ralph Abercromby, a well-known 19th-century pub would remain on site, but its setting would be severely compromised.

SAVE’s plans retain the existing buildings and integrate new elements without what they call the ‘far-reaching and harmful impacts’ of a 40 storey tower on the surrounding historic buildings and conservation areas.

The former police station would be retained with the inner courtyard turned into a covered shopping arcade with hotel and residential accommodation above through a single storey roof extension.

The arcade would open out onto a new public square, shared by the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and the Manchester Reform Synagogue.

The original plans also drew widespread criticism due to its impact on the Deansgate/Peter Street Conservation Area, Manchester town hall and the Albert Memorial.

SAVE, the Victorian Society, Twentieth Century Society and Manchester Civic Society all objected strongly, along with over 5,000 people who signed a petition against the proposals.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE, said: ‘This concept clearly demonstrates that a conservation-led design really can preserve the special character of this part of Manchester, while also creating exciting new development that works within the historic context.

‘In every way, it represents a “gentle” approach to regeneration which in our view has a better chance of long-term sustainability by keeping options open for further similar developments as requirements for retail/office/residential accommodation change over time.’

Catherine Croft, Director of the Twentieth Century Society, said: ‘The SAVE scheme shows a radically different approach to this fascinating area.

‘It illustrates how a conservation-led scheme can revitalise a key part of the city without the need to demolish important historic buildings and without blighting the setting of key listed buildings, including the library.’

View the plans here.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top