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MANCHESTER: Huge city centre hotel and homeless shelter for men approved at major planning meeting

MANCHESTER: Huge city centre hotel and homeless shelter for men approved at major planning meeting

Caption: Joseph Timan.

Manchester’s planning committee considered six applications today.

The final details for a 154-bed hotel and 88-bed apart hotel building near Cornbrook, which were first approved three years ago, have been agreed.

A homeless shelter for 31 men near the Green Quarter was also given the green light despite fears it would attract anti-social behaviour and crime.

However, plans to knock down a former restaurant in Wythenshawe to make way for a hotel were thrown out after councillors said it did not suit the site.

A retrospective request to retain five two-bedroom flats which were built in Didsbury without planning permission was not accepted by the committee.

And two applications relating to the demolition of a building behind the listed Old Town Hall in Didsbury to make way for new offices were also approved.

Here’s what happened at the planning committee meeting on October 21.

154-bed hotel and 88 bed-apart hotel near Cornbrook – Approved

The ‘high quality’ hotel and apart hotel in the Cornbook area was granted permission in principle in 2018, but the final details were yet to be agreed.

The new building, which will be located between Dinton Street, Cornbrook Road, Chester Road and Trentham Street, will be up to 15 storeys in height.

Manchester residents would be prioritised for construction jobs as well as employment opportunities at the hotel as part of a local labour agreement.

But Hulme councillor Annette Wright, who represents residents in the area, said similar deals struck for surrounding developments have not succeeded.

She said: “We are finding people who travel miles and miles to come into the area for this work when there are local people looking for work.”

The committee, which was asked to only consider the detailed matters of this development by the Bricks Group, approved the reserved matters application.

Homeless shelter in Lord Street, Green Quarter – Approved

Plans to convert an empty building on Lord Street and Stocks Street into a homeless accommodation for 31 ‘low risk’ men were met with opposition.

Objectors raised concerns about the safety of women walking to the Green Quarter, saying the site near the city centre is not appropriate for a shelter.

Some residents also suggested anti-social behaviour and crime would rise.

However, Cheetham councillor Shaukat Ali praised the ‘experienced provider’ which would manage the new facility on behalf of the MCR Property Group.

He said: “They’re already operating in Cheetham. Hopefully they’ll apply the same standard here.”

The committee approved the plans with only one member not voting in favour.

Three-storey hotel at The Moss Nook in Wythenshawe – Refused

The former restaurant in Wythenshawe, called The Moss Nook, closed in 2011.

A bid to demolish the property which has been empty for a decade and build a 30-bedroom hotel in its place was put forward – but it faced opposition locally.

Woodhouse Park councillor Sarah Judge said the neighbourhood is one of the few places remaining in South Manchester which still feels like a village.

She told the committee that the hotel is likely to become a ‘budget option’ for people travelling to and from Manchester Airport which is around a mile away.

She said: “This is not a good site for a hotel of this size.”

Whalley Range councillor Angeliki Stogia, who is a member of the committee, said the three-storey hotel proposed would be ‘overdevelopment’ of the area.

Her proposal to refuse the application was supported by the committee.

Five two-bedroom basement flats in Central Road, Didsbury – Deferred

Plans to build five one-bedroom apartments in the basements of three semi-detached villas in Central Road in the Old Moat ward were approved in 2017.

However, the basement flats which were built had two bedrooms instead.

Applicant Conform North West Limited retrospectively requested planning permission to retain the five two-bedroom apartments in the basement.

Planning officers said the proposal was acceptable and recommended that the committee approves the application – but councillors demanded more information about electric vehicle charging points and cycle storage.

Director of planning Julie Roscoe described the developer’s actions as ‘frustrating’, saying the local authority had been acting ‘in good faith’.

The committee voted to defer the decision, requesting further information.

Demolition of The Lodge to build offices in Didsbury – Approved

A building behind the listed Old Town Hall in Lapwing Lane used by a solicitors firm is due to be demolished to make way for a new two-storey office building.

The Lodge is not a listed building itself, but special consent was required by the committee because it is located so close to Didsbury’s Old Town Hall.

Residents raised concerns there would not be enough parking available.

Labour councillor Debbie Hilal, who represents Didsbury West, said the plans would lead to an increase in parking problems in ‘an already congested area’.

Lib Dem councillor John Leech, who represents the ward too, said the suggestion that 16 pc of staff in the office would cycle to work is ‘unrealistic’.

It comes after applicant Pabla+Pabla Solicitors agreed to providing showers, lockers and storage for 10 bicycles to encourage staff to avoid driving to work.

Councillors on the committee said they sympathised with the concerns but voted to approve both planning applications relating to the office building.

Words: Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter

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