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Approval for SimpsonHaugh’s scaled-down tower for cricketer Flintoff

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Manchester councillors have approved a revised residential tower designed by SimpsonHaugh and backed by cricketer-turned-developer Andrew Flintoff

The city’s Planning and HIghways Committee agreed to grant consent to the AJ100 practice’s 23-storey Arundel Street scheme for the England sporting legend’s Logik Developments vehicle.

Councillors threw out SimpsonHaugh’s initial 35-storey proposals last autumn, ruling the scheme would ‘overly dominate’ and harm the setting of the Castlefield Conservation Area and particularly the Grade II*-listed former St George’s Church.

The practice revealed scaled-down plans earlier this year, slashing the height of the main tower by 12 floors and reducing the number of apartments in the overall scheme, which includes a smaller sister block, from 386 to 355.

Planning officers ruled that the new version ‘would not have any unduly harmful impacts on the setting of any heritage assets’ and ’in most instances would have a positive impact on the Manchester skyline’. 

They added: ’The massing of the lower block, together with window designs and internal layouts […] reduces incidents of overlooking and loss of light.’

Overall the public regeneration benefits outweighed the harm caused, they concluded, recommending approval subject to a Section 106 agreement securing financial contribution for offsite affordable housing. 

The Britannia Basin Community Forum said of the latest plans: ’Many of the concerns of residents have been addressed: mainly the reduction in the height of the main tower; reduction in mass of overall scheme to reduce the impact on surrounding residents; and improved community/commercial spaces, streetscape and public realm.’

SimpsonHaugh founding partner Rachel Haugh said in March when the revised plans were submitted: ‘We greatly enjoyed the process of consultation and design development explored with the Britannia Basin Community Forum.

‘The outcome is a proposed built form, landscape and pedestrian experience which we believe will contribute positively to the area.’

Flintoff set up Logik Developments alongside cousin Neil Spencer and business partner Tony Bhatti in August 2017.

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