Thumbs down for Manchester coliving schemes

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 30 August 2020

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UK: Manchester city council has refused planning for two city centre coliving schemes but both are likely to return to committee next month.

The schemes in question are Downing’s First Street cluster and the second of Vita’s Water Street towers.

Downing’s project, designed by SimpsonHaugh architects, comprises a 45-storey tower and three smaller blocks and would deliver more than 2,000 beds. Vita’s project, a 32-storey tower designed by Denton Corker Marshall and located within developer Allied London’s St John’s district, would deliver 1,600 beds.

Deloitte Real Estate is the planning consultant for both projects.

Both schemes were denied approval at last month’s committee. Downing’s was deferred pending a site visit while Vita’s was minded to refuse. They were unsuccessful again last week, as councillors raised concerns about the concept of co-living and the height of the developments and said they were minded to refuse the schemes unless further design changes were made.

The developers are likely to put the schemes forward for consideration at the next committee meeting.

Manchester City Council’s head of planning Dave Roscoe spoke about the benefits of the projects, especially at the First Street site, which he said was key to unlocking future development in the area and an opportunity to redevelop a site that had lain empty for many years.

In July, Vita won consent for a 36-storey coliving block, the first development of its kind the in the city centre, but this second, smaller block was refused.

In an internal report published in December, Manchester City Council raised concerns about coliving and said that the development of such schemes should be “limited” until the concept is fully tested in the market.

“It is suggested that co-living should only be supported in a very limited number of places, in restricted amounts, within the city centre and under specific circumstances,” the report by the council’s former strategic director of growth and development, Eddie Smith, said.

 

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