Councillor brands £130m scheme a ’cheese-grater-esque tombstone’

Glenn Howells tower 1

The £130m proposals would contain 850 student rooms and some work space

Manchester council has given the green light to a 55-storey student accommodation tower despite the scheme receiving hundreds of objections including one that likened it to a tombstone.

The 850-room proposals, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, had deadlocked a fraught meeting of the council committee with five councillors in favour and five against.

The £130m scheme scraped through after a deciding vote in favour was cast by committee chair Basil Curley, who called it an “extremely difficult” decision.

Councillor William Jeavons had earlier branded the 165m tower, which is being built for GMS Parking, a “cheese-grater-esque tombstone” which featured “dull gable ends”.

Glenn Howells tower 3

Objections criticised the tower’s use of fake brick cladding in a district characterised by Victorian redbrick buildings

The proposals had received three objections from the Macintosh Village Management Company (MVMC), supported by more than 400 local residents. More than 70 comments supporting MVMC were made on the application, with over 50 further individual objections. MVMC said in its objections that the tower would dominate the area, removing daylight and accelerating winds in surrounding streets.

Glenn Howells tower 2

One councillor said the 55-storey tower resembled a tombstone

It added that the building would damage the character of the historic district’s narrow streets and public spaces and said its use of fake brick cladding created a “harsh discord” with nearby grade II-listed mills and chimneys.

The scheme also includes an 11-storey and four-storey building providing work and amenity space, and a rejig of a multi-storey carpark on the site. 

Glenn Howells tower 4

A four- and 11-storey component containing work and amenity space is also included in the plans

Last month, Manchester council rejected proposals by Cortstorphine & Wright for a 28-storey student accommodation tower partly because it included “poor-quality cladding material”.

The council’s report said the tower had also failed to demonstrate the need for further accommodation in the city, which is home to nearly 100,000 students.