Plans to transform a corner of Piccadilly have been put on hold by councillors who want to assess how the scheme - which would bring two new towers containing hundreds of flats - would ‘build up’ the area.
Developers want to build nearly 500 flats in the area between the station and Great Ancoats Street.
Their vision, which came to councillors on the planning panel yesterday, would include building two towers - one scaling 29 storeys, the other reaching 23 storeys, as well as a small new public square and park.
But councillors on the planning committee agreed to defer the plan so they can take a proper look at the site and the potential impact of the scheme.
Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons said: “I’d like to request a site visit - obviously it’s building up the area and I think the committee would really benefit from a site visit to see the area and put these applications into perspective.”
The panel agreed, meaning the application will be heard again next year.
It has already proven to be controversial with one councillor - Sam Wheeler, who represents the Piccadilly ward.
He wrote in planning documents that the developers could ‘jog on’ - pointing to the lack of affordable housing in the plans, as well as what he described as a ‘frankly embarrassing bit of money for a green space that only increases the value of their own properties’.
Large new developments in Manchester are supposed to include 20pc affordable housing within their schemes – or a sum equivalent to that which could fund cheaper housing off-site.
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But developers say that, with total costs estimated at £122m, they cannot afford any contribution to off-site affordable housing.
Developers had argued that their scheme would act as a catalyst for further regeneration in this corner of the city, as well as making a ‘substantial’ contribution to Manchester’s housing need.
Council officers had recommended that the plans were approved.
The site falls into an area earmarked by the town hall for regeneration as part of the Portugal Street East framework.
Earlier this year, the planning panel signed off on a ‘Jenga-style’ hotel within the area .
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