Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’s £200m plan to redevelop part of Manchester centre have been rejected by the government’s heritage body for a second time.
The former footballers were forced to abandon their original plans for two skyscrapers last July after Historic England (HE) said they would ‘damage the city’s historic core’.
Their revised plans, which include only one skyscraper, have also failed win the support of HE, who point to the ‘cumulative harm’ they would cause to several historic buildings.
Former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are behind a controversial planned £200m redevelopment of Manchester City Centre which could create 1,500 jobs
The former players want to develop a massive skyscraper, artist’s impression, which will be considered by planners at Manchester City Council later this year
Historic England have also expressed reservations about the pair’s second proposed plan
Neville and Giggs claim the development, which also includes a five-star hotel, apartments, offices, retail space and a synagogue, would deliver ‘the biggest statement in architecture’ the city has seen in modern times.
They also believe it will boost the area’s economy and create 1,500 jobs.
Designs for the St Michaels scheme are out to consultation ahead of a planning decision by Manchester City Council later this year.
Historic England’s North West planning director Catherine Dewar said in a letter to the council that the government heritage watchdog had concerns regarding the application.
‘We are unable to support the application on heritage grounds due to the cumulative harm that would be caused to highly graded listed buildings,’ it reads.
‘The city council has to be convinced that the potential wider public benefits delivered by the development convincingly outweigh the harm caused to the significance of the heritage assets before coming to a decision.’
Speaking today, she added that HE wasn’t against skyscrapers ‘in principal’ but it was the proximity of the one remaining tower in the plans to historic buildings that caused concern.
The pair had initially planned to seek permission to build a pair of skyscrapers in Manchester City Centre, artist’s impression, however Historic England objected to the plan
Manchester City Council said the proposal was being examined by their planning department
The public consultation for the development is doe to end later today
Manchester City Council said that as the application was currently with its planning department, it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.
The public consultation period for the revised proposals ends today.
Stephen Hodder, founder of architects Hodder + Partners, claimed HE’s letter was encouraging as it did not constitute a formal objection and it concluded that any harm to heritage assets was ‘less than substantial’.
‘The letter does not come as a surprise as we had five consultations with Historic England and a preapplication letter so we knew the points they were making,’ he said.
‘The key phrase is that harm is less than substantial, and that is why we were encouraged by the letter, as well as the fact they told the council to demonstrate the benefits outweigh the less-than-substantial harm.’
Historic England said: ‘We are unable to support the application on heritage grounds due to the cumulative harm that would be caused to highly graded listed buildings’