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Gary Neville ‘delighted’ by council’s St Michael’s decision

Ex-footballer and property developer Gary Neville is “delighted” by Manchester City Council’s decision on his controversial St Michael’s project.

The local authority has confirmed that it’s minded to grant planning permission for the mixed-use scheme, subject to a response from the Secretary of State.

Councillors discussed the plans, which were amended last year following criticism, at a planning and highways committee meeting yesterday (8 March).

Six councillors voted in favour of the amended plans, whilst three voted against and one abstained.

St Michael’s aims to transform a largely disused 1.5-acre site into a mixed-use development comprising a five-star hotel, luxury apartments, Grade A office accommodation and ground floor and rooftop retail and leisure units.

Sir Ralph Abercromby pub view

On behalf of St Michael’s Partnership, Neville says: “We are delighted that Manchester City Council is minded to grant planning permission on St Michael’s.

“We are hopeful that the Secretary of State will endorse that decision and allow us to work towards delivering this prestigious mixed-use scheme of the highest quality within a strategic location that is in need of regeneration.

“St Michael’s will set new standards in design and quality of accommodation which will reinforce the city’s position both nationally and internationally.”

According to a report discussed by councillors yesterday, the council received 1,613 letters regarding the original scheme – approximately 94% were objections with the main reasons related to the proposed towers and loss of buildings on site.

An extensive re-notification exercise was then carried out on the revised proposals, which include the retention of the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and the frontage of the former Bootle Street Police Station.

Some 1,347 fewer objections were received compared to the original scheme.

Deansgate view

Despite this, Historic England still doesn’t support the application and believes the 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”.

The report concludes: “The development of the site would play a significant role in the regeneration of the city centre and would deliver a significant number of heritage, environmental, economic and social public benefits.

“The judgement therefore that has to be formulated is whether these public benefits outweigh the harm that would be caused to the designated heritage assets.

“Having considered all of these matters very carefully, officers do believe that these public benefits would outweigh the significant harm that would occur.

“The recommendation is therefore one of minded to approve.”