Freddie Flintoff’s 35-storey tower, designed by SimpsonHaugh, has been rejected by Manchester councillors, who fear it would have a deleterious impact on a conservation area
The former England cricketer’s property company, Logik Developments, submitted proposals for a 386-home scheme across three buildings in Castlefield, including a former motorcycle works from the early 1900s.
The plans were reconsidered by October’s planning committee after the September meeting failed to make a decision, with five votes for and five against.
Council officers had backed the proposals, arguing the scheme would have a positive impact on the regeneration of the city centre.
But it has now been thrown out by the planning committee due to concerns it would impact on the Grade-II listed St George’s church and ‘dominate’ the Castlefield conservation area.
The development had met with strong opposition from residents in Hulme, who dubbed the project ‘Flintoff Towers’. Local resident Louise Pullen said the community wanted to see the site redeveloped but they disapproved of the design.
She said: ’We want the council to reject it because we want you [the applicant] to redesign it. We want Hulme to have something we can be proud of.’
REJECTED: SimpsonHaugh’s designs for Freddie Flintoff’s residential scheme in Manchester
The proposals were for a high-rise comprising 159 flats for private sale on the corner of Ellesmere Street and Mancunian Way plus a U-shaped mid-rise building providing a further 215 homes and 223m² of commercial space.
Concern was also raised at the scheme’s ’hugely disappointing’ affordable housing offer of a financial contribution equivalent to 5 per cent of the scheme, well below the council’s policy of 20 per cent.
Councillor Basil Curley said: ’Its very difficult for people to understand why we can’t get the full amount of affordable housing from this type of development. If we can’t get it from this type of development it’s very hard to see how it is we’ll ever make progress.’
Logik Developments had offered to reduce the 35-storey tower by two storeys.
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Stephen Levrant from Heritage Architecture said: ’There’s no reason why taller buildings, reflecting the values and achievements of our own time, should not be woven into the older fabric [of the city]. History does not stop’.
Logik Developments, where Flintoff is a director alongside his cousin Neil Spencer and business partner, Tony Bhatti, was incorporated in August last year and the Castlefield tower is its first project in Manchester.
Flintoff is also looking to bring forward another two sites at Mayfield as part of developer U+I’s £800 million regeneration of the area.
Explaining his move into the industry, the Ashes hero and self-described ‘adopted Mancunian’ spoke earlier this year of how he wanted to play a role in the transformation taking place in the city and ‘build something special’.
‘This is the first site and we want to get it 100 per cent right,’ he said.