The Twentieth Century Society has called on the Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry into plans by two Manchester United football players, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, in partnership with MAKE architects to demolish an historic row of buildings in the centre of Manchester to make way for two skyscrapers containing a luxury hotel and apartments.
A full planning application has been submitted following public consultation, but despite widespread local and national opposition, the response has been to add another 10 metres in height to the development and make minimal tweaks to the cladding, changing it from black to bronze.
Tess Pinto, Conservation Adviser at C20 Society, said “We are objecting in the strongest possible terms. The development will not only sweep away some fine C20 buildings, but will also cause substantial harm to multiple conservation areas and to the setting of several nationally important listed buildings. When viewed from St Peters Square the two towers will crudely erupt through the domed roofline of the Grade II* Manchester Central Library.”
She added: “Given the highly sensitive location, the scale of the proposed development, and the major concerns that a number of specialist heritage organisations including ourselves share in relation to its impact – as well as the general public who overwhelmingly opposed the proposals at the public consultation stage – we consider that the merits of this proposal should be scrutinised and decided at the highest level by the Secretary of State.” If you share our view please consider signing this petition.
The site is located in the heart of the city within the Deansgate conservation area. It is within 250m of 72 listed buildings and 9 conservation areas including the St Peter’s Square conservation area, which contains the Grade II* listed 1930s Town Hall Extension and the Central Library by E. Vincent Harris, as well as the Grade I listed Town Hall.
The proposals would also see the demolition of the historic Jackson’s Row, demolishing the Manchester Reform Synagogue (1953), the Bootle Street Police Station (1937) and a Victorian pub.
The Synagogue was designed by the architects Levy and Cummings and is of particular historic interest as the first new post-war building to be constructed in the city after the Second World War, funded by war reparations. The Synagogue is almost completely intact internally, and notable for some of the earliest examples of figurative stained glass in a Jewish place of worship in the UK. The C20 Society are disappointed to hear that it has been turned down for listing because, as Tess Pinto said, “Listing would have given us more influence in the planning process and a stronger voice with which to argue for the retention of this fine building that has so much potential for re-use.”
Bootle Street Police Station (1937) is a distinguished neo-classical building by the architect G. Noel Hill.
For press enquiries:
Tess Pinto, Conservation Adviser,Twentieth Century Society
firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7250 3857
About The Twentieth Century Society: The Twentieth Century Society is a membership organisation which campaigns for the conservation of the best C20th architecture. It was founded in 1976 as the Thirties Society and is now recognised by government and has a statutory role in the planning process. For more details, see our website, www.c20society.org.uk.