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Ian Simpson's Spinningfields tower approved, despite objections

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Controversial plans for a 20-storey office block in central Manchester by Ian Simpson Architects has won planning permission.

Developer Allied London’s No 1 Spinningfields, which is set to contain a mixture of 32,000m² of retail and office space, was approved by Manchester City Council yesterday (8 May) despite opposition from English Heritage.

The approval was ‘subject to conditions’ but requires no major design amendments.

The glass-clad scheme involves the redevelopment of the existing 1960s Quay House and the creation of a restaurant on the project’s 18th floor.

The heritage authority, in a February letter to the local authority, expressed support for the replacement of Quay House but raised concern over the development’s impact on protected sites including the grade II*-listed Cobden House, directly opposite the proposals.

The letter states: ‘We encourage the applicant to withdraw the current scheme. If the application is determined in its current form the harm to the designated heritage assets will need to be weighed against other public benefits, in doing so great weight should be given to conserving the heritage assets affected and from an historic environment perspective.’

however the minutes of the council’s planning meeting acknowledged that while ‘the proposal would cause some harm to the settings of nearby listed buildings….this harm would be outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.’

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