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Controversial Northern Quarter hotel earmarked for approval

Controversial plans to demolish a 1920s warehouse in Manchester’s Northern Quarter to make way for an apart-hotel have been recommend for approval.

Amsterdam-based chain Zoku has chosen the site on the corner of Soap Street and High Street for its first UK branch.

Under the plans, which will be discussed at meeting of Manchester City Council’s planning committee next week (16 November), the warehouse would be demolished and replaced with a new 122-room hotel rising up to 13 storeys.

The Zoku concept is a hybrid between a home and an office and would be targeted at professionals coming to Manchester for stays of between five days and three months.

A typical Zoku room focuses around the kitchen table rather than the bed and includes a living, kitchen and dining area, bathroom, and a mezzanine bed space.

The plans have received more than 150 individual letters of opposition, with many contending the existing warehouse should be renovated, not demolished, whilst other bemoaned the oversaturation of hotels and apart-hotels in the area.

The building, on the corner of Soap Street and High Street.

However, a report commending the plans for approval reads: “The proposed use is acceptable in principle and is consistent with the city council’s planning policy and regeneration objectives.

“The site is partly-derelict and partly-vacant and has a negative impact on a prominent gateway entry route and the Smithfield Conservation Area.

“The proposal would provide a well-designed, high quality new building, which would respond to the existing and historic context.

“The proposal would have a beneficial impact on the character and appearance of the Smithfield Conservation Area by putting a current gap site back into active use, reinstating the historic building line of High Street.”