New Manchester Student Tower Plan Wins Appeal

The construction of a proposed student accommodation tower in central Manchester has been given the green light after the firm behind it won an appeal against a decision to reject planning permission.

Fusion will now be able to go ahead with the planned tower, which will lie adjacent to the Deansgate Square skyscrapers, after the planning inspector overturned the verdict of the city council.

The local authority decision makers had been concerned about the standard of cladding, the visual impact on neighbouring properties and concerns about adjacent heritage assets.

However, the inspector decided these concerns were not warranted and backed the 28-storey tower, designed by Corstophine and Wright.

“The proposed development would not harm the character of the area, and would not have a significant adverse effect on the amenities of residents of Deansgate Quay,” the inspector stated. The council had labelled the proposed building “intrusive and over dominant”, despite being adjacent to Manchester’s tallest building and several other skyscrapers.

It means there will be even more JCB work clothes seen in a part of the city that has been utterly transformed in recent years and continues to be so as skyscraper after skyscraper rises up.

The slender new building with its red brick-coloured cladding will contain 534 student apartments, with another element in the Planning Inspectorate’s decision being the expectation that the current pipeline of new student accommodation in Manchester will not keep pace with rising demand.

Fusion already runs student developments in Sheffield and Swansea, but this will be its first foray into the busy Manchester market. It ran a public consultation in 2020 before submitting its planning application.

While Manchester has seen a plethora of new skyscrapers emerge in recent years, not all the proposed tall buildings have sailed through the planning process.

This included the high-profile case of the £200 million St Michael’s development, backed by former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. The 39-storey development finally got the green light in 2018 after being substantially revised from original plans that included bronze-coloured cladding and the demolition of the Abercromby Pub and Bootle Street Police Station.