Plans for controversial 122 bedroom hotel in the Shudehill area of Manchester’s Northern Quarter have been rejected by Manchester City Council’s planning committee.

The thirteen storey building, the committee members were told would see the loss of some of the character of the area’s buildings historical status and and may change the character of Shudehill were discussed at Manchester council’s planning committee

A local resident Ben Reid said he was not adverse to the development, but was utterly disillusioned with the height of the building in an  area which has no buildings over seven storeys high and added that thescale of development reflected monetary values and not those of architectural development.

He decscribed it as being out of context and detrimental to the character of the Northern Quarter and added that it block out much of the natural light that floods into the area while the hotel itself he said, would add to the already numerous traffic problems.

In reply, Philip Doyle director of the architects said that the design by Zoku, an Amsterdam based company was consulted upon, and said that changes had been made including the top floor being set back and change.

He added that a relatively small number of residents had objected but believed that the application had covered those concerns.

As for the architecture he said that the Shudehill part of the site is broken and while he accepted that the Northern Quarter is quirky, the area where this hotel would be built was at the moment not, “indeed it is a broken down building.”

Speaking against the proposal City Centre Cllr Joan Davis described the resubmission as being scarily quickly returned after it had been rejected at the last planning committee.

“The applicant has described the site as bit of a mess”, she said, “ but what would be suitable would be a building that maintained the current height, what is being proposed is a nice run of buildings with a massive cliff at the end.”

She also pointed out that that only two thirds of the land is currently in private hands and rejected the argument.

Also speaking against the proposals, Cllr Basil Curley said that having heard all the arguments he was convinced that a thirteen storey building would have a detrimental effect on the historical ethos of the area and asked that the building should be reduced to eight storey’s high and formerly proposed that the application be rejected on the basis of height.

The committee asked for the proposals to be revised and returned to the next meeting of the council planning committee.

City Centre campaigner Loz Kaye said :

“Today’s decision is thanks to the hard work of residents finally forcing action. But this is not the end of process, and the Northern Quarter is still under threat.

The controversy around the Zoku Tower has exposed real weakness in the council’s approach to one of our city’s best loved districts. It’s now time for the Labour party to take responsibility for their lack of leadership.

We need a coherent vision for all of the centre of the city, and a process that respects residents instead of forcing them to fight for every last corner or blade of grass.”

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