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Major New Building For City Centre Manchester

Fred Done and Ian Simpson take bet on Peter Street

Written by . Published on May 13th 2013.


Major New Building For City Centre Manchester
 

THIS is the official press release. Confidential's comment is in the yellow box below. 

MOSLEY Street Ventures Limited, principally owned by Fred and Peter Done and family, has submitted plans to Manchester City Council for the development of a landmark building on Mosley Street to be named No 2 St Peter’s Square. 

The contemporary exterior uses stone that bears a strong relationship to the locality and heritage architecture, and the decorative elevation will complement the staircase to the Town Hall Extension, creating visual cohesion within the site

The building will be constructed on the site currently occupied by Century House, Sussex House, Bennett House and Clarendon House.

Completion could take place as early as late 2015 or early 2016.

The office accommodation will comprise 162,000 sq ft within the 11 storey building, with 5,500 sq ft of retail and basement parking for 43 vehicles. The investment value of the completed building will be in excess of £80 million. 

St Peter’s Square is currently undergoing considerable redevelopment to include the creation of Second City Crossing, a major hub for the Metrolink, relocation of the Cenotaph and the comprehensive redesign of the public realm. 

Designed by Ian Simpson Architects, the architectural approach for No 2 St Peter’s Square is in keeping with the important buildings in the square such as Central Library and the Town Hall Annexe and will create a high quality, contemporary building that will reflect the changing face of what is an important civic and commercial space.  

Fred Done, principal owner of Mosley Street Ventures Limited, said: “This project once completed will create one of Manchester’s most sought after office spaces. We have worked extensively with the City and English Heritage to ensure the design compliments their vision for the changing face of St Peter’s Square. We are extremely proud to be connected to this project and the quality of the building that will be created.” 

Mosley Street Ventures Limited and Ian Simpson Architects consulted with Manchester City Council throughout the evolution of the design to ensure it is in-keeping with the vision for St Peter’s Square. Heritage Architecture, conservation specialists, were also consulted to ensure the building complements the historic context of its surroundings and worked closely with English Heritage to finalise the design. 

Ian Simpson, of Ian Simpson Architects, said: “From the beginning there was a desire to create a positive addition to the future aspirations for St Peter’s Square that would be a defining component in the regeneration of the City’s Civic Quarter. The contemporary exterior uses stone that bears a strong relationship to the locality and heritage architecture, and the decorative elevation will complement the staircase to the Town Hall Extension, creating visual cohesion within the site.” 

The decorative element on the Town Hall Extension referenced on Ian Simpson buildingThe decorative element on the Town Hall Extension referenced on the Ian Simpson Architect's building

DTZ have been appointed as agents for No 2 St Peter’s Square, whilst other members of the design team include Deloittes who are providing planning advice, Davis Langdon who are providing Cost Consultancy and T B and A who are the M and E consultants. Funding for the existing site has come via Santander, arranged and managed by Nigel Carson of Property Finance International.

George Fox Must Die - bye, bye Quaker building

THIS is a neat and tidy design by Ian Simpson Architects.

It’s almost pretty with that lovely lattice echoing the lush lattice on the Town Hall Extension. Is this the first time Ian Simpson Architects, those Modernists-true, have done pretty? Is the Manchester master softening?

That aside the building will certainly make the square feel lighter. It will complement Glen Howell’s gargantuan and rising 1 St Peter's Square to the south west - complement in palette if not in scale. The ground floor piers and the overhang of No 2 Peter Square almost echo the arcade of the Town Hall Extension too. A bit.

One question that might be asked is why is so much money being invested in a scheme which replaces a good example of an inter-war office, Century House, when the latter seems in good nick?

Mr Quaker over the doorMr Quaker over the doorThe 1930s building (for which I’m ashamed to say, I can’t find an architect’s name in any of the accepted sources) with its recessed pair of columns over the door, the sculptural details, the heavy cornice, all in Portland Stone, has some merit. Not massive amounts of merit but more than all the adjoining and hopeless properties up to Princess Street.

As for the history of the place Century House was built for the Friends Provident Society which had been set up a hundred years earlier in 1832 – hence the name of the building. The Friends Provident was a Quaker friendly society offering life insurance. The man above the door is probably a representation of George Fox, the founder of the Quakers.

SloganeeringSloganeeringThere’s a garland further up the building which declaims the words ‘Peace and Plenty’. The Quakers have always been anti-war.

By the time the building was completed, the Cenotaph, in plain sight 30 metres away had been up for more than a decade, surely there were a few knowing winks amongst the Quakers about their sloganeering in stone across the road.

Indeed, in a manner of speaking this may be Manchester’s only appeasement building.

There’s that ‘peace’ message, the location of the building close to the Cenotaph, and the fact it was completed just after Hitler had come to power in 1933. Already clever sorts such as Winston Churchill were predicting war given the nature of the Nazi beast. The Quakers were saying never again to all who would listen, and loudly pushing peace as the only way to avoid the slaughter of WWI.

Now there’s a time-bomb under Century House.

Here comes the wrecker’s ball.

George Fox must fall.

City coat of armsCity coat of armsIan Simpson Architects' new building may well be more appropriate to a new St Peter’s Square, lighter, more dynamic than the appeasement building.

Let’s hope that the decorative screen is substantial and not paper-thin and tatty and tired in ten years. Let's hope Ian Simpson Architects do some proper pretty with this and it doesn't rust and look embarrassing.

The test is this. If a building replaces an existing one that carries street presence as Century House does, then the architect of the new building should make damned sure it's as good as the one it replaces and capable of just as long a life.

One last thing.

When Century House is demolished, if permission is granted, may I have that Manchester Coat of Arms above the side door? After all I did write this article about our city coat of arms and its use as architectural decoration.

It would look lovely under the apple tree in the back garden. 

Jonathan Schofield

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

Century HouseCentury House - the classic between the wars office building to be torn down 

No 2 St Peter's SquareNo 2 St Peter's Square

Stately entrance of Century HouseStately entrance of Century House

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131 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Alan DaviesMay 13th 2013.

Is this supposed to be an improvement on Century House? I would have thought that it was worthy of refurbishment, or at least redevelopment retaining the original facade.

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

sigh

Carl PriestleyMay 13th 2013.

ian simpson once again puts his grubby fingers onto a development and produces another shining turd to ruin manchester centre

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Absolutely agree. Exciting title appears in my mailbox... and oh, which empty wasted space might be rescued?! No. A beautiful building being destroyed. Sometimes I hate this City so much!!!!!!!

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Countries that cry out for history, for culturally unique buildings and what do we do in Manchester? Destroy them. Hateful. Truly hateful.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

It actually looks like a 1970s Stockport office block - only even worse!

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Why when there are so many dilapidated places does this fool get permission to wreck a perfectly refurbishable, beautiful old building????????? How many empty spaces in this city? What about his horrid old design for Origin that will sit there for another millennia. What is wrong with our awful Planning Department at the Council? I am so so so so depressed. Do the public get consulted? Of-course not.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

the planning policy does not do aesthetics. You had you chance four years ago to put some in.Manchester's Policy or to get the buildings listed. Manchester' s policy is to say yes unless there is some real reason to stop it in the policies. As people know Ian S is a modernist where form follows function so what is the function of the wriggly bits on the side? Did the client insist? Or is in a PM joke?

Anita SmithMay 13th 2013.

Yet another characterless, dull-as-dishwater new-build. How many square, glass sided buildings can one city have? Destroying the buildings that make Manchester somewhere intetesting, and making it into every other city. Who is making these decisions?! Does anyone actually consult the public on these things?

David LawrensonMay 13th 2013.

hideous...as I am sure No. 1 St Peters Square will also be. This city has (had) so many fine buildings which the powers that be seem intent on destroying

Marcus EadyMay 13th 2013.

Absolutely disgraceful, an historic building such as Century House is torn down for this new development and yet the council are unable to get the owner of the Britannia hotels and the London Road fire station, Alex Langsam and his motley bunch to do anything with the station that stands at the gateway of the city to many of those visitors arriving by train. I know for a fact that Century House was refused planning permission to be turned into a hotel some years ago by the very same council ... everything seems to be falling into place now! The council should be investigated for granting this before Century House falls to the wrecking ball!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Absolutely agree. Please read this article by the Leading CPO Expert Stan Edwards on why the Council failed its last CPO. www.mediafire.com/…/… When is this Council EVER going to listen to the people? To public interest. To adhere to a model of Political Economic Social Technological Environmental Legal Community Architectural views of assets, and land? Then we get the sickening political rhetoric. If you disagree you are anti-Labour. This place could go on Origin, that mess that has sat there since 2006. How impotent are the Council? Do they care one iota of what the cities people think or do they bumble along giving out permission like Faulty Towers? Sickening.

Julie BramallMay 13th 2013.

EYESORE

Karina DouglasMay 13th 2013.

Another piece of Manchester history disappearing. Not to mention the fact it is a beautiful building. We should be clinging onto to our history and heritage and restoring whenever possible, not just pulling buildings down and throwing up shite instead.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

I just do not understand why the halls of power don't listen or care. are they (a) powerless (e.g. BBC/ LRFS/ Origin/ Aytoun MMU/ Employment Exchange and so many derelict spaces/ Gateway house amongst many). (b) Don't they care and just go gun ho as they feel like? (c) do they view the community with contempt and decline to engage with discovering peoples opinions? (d) Is there an emphasis corporations have more power than the Council and instead of fighting they give in? Whatever is happening I just don't understand why. So, so, so sad. This is a recession. Why destroy the old, functional beauty or a great civic building without consultation or community involvement and power? It shows the public are not respected at all. I dare the Councillors (who probably hate this turn of events to), to come and give the party line of the 'Halls of Power' I doubt anyone in their heart of hearts can truly support.

CobbydalerMay 13th 2013.

Does it compliment in palate because they're both tasteful? Or should that be palette...

1 Response: Reply To This...
JSMay 13th 2013.

Ah my bogey team. Changed. Thanks

Peter MancMay 13th 2013.

Why do we let this happen yet again?

Peter MancMay 13th 2013.

Can we do something to stop this?

Peter MancMay 13th 2013.

Shame on you Labour council.

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

If you don't like it, or equally if you do like it, make a Public Comment on the MCC website and/or get in touch with the councillors within the next two weeks. The application reference is 102356/FO/2013/C2 The three ward councillors are... Councillor Kevin Peel Email cllr.k.peel@manchester.gov.uk Fax 0161 274 7009 Councillor Joan Davies Fax 0161 274 7009 Email cllr.j.davies10@manchester.gov.uk Phone 0161 234 3235 Rt Worshipful The Lord Mayor Elaine Boyes Fax 0161 274 0058 Email cllr.e.boyes@manchester.gov.uk Phone 0161 223 8007

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

I am doing so now. I am so angry. I will include Bernstein in the email, MP Powell in the email and anyone else I can think of! This is a disgrace. We are treated like surfs and peasants. I honestly feel the Councillors will be inundated with complaints, but what can they do? I almost feel sorry for them. The route of the issue goes far greater than 3 people working hard for the city. Look at all these top wasted spaces!!!!! And they choose to knock down a perfectly fine building? Target these places. As a peasant I bet I do not even get a reply or some farcical one anyway. 1. LRFS 2. Origin mess 3. Gateway House 4. BBC carpark 5. Employment Exchange (demolished or saved?) 6. Mayfield Station/ Fairfield Street 7. Empty Aytoun MMU 8. Massive space behind Regents Road 23 acres 9. Asbestos UMIST buildings 10. Various Plots - Great Jackson St/Chester Rd - Knott Mill/Gaythorn/Castlefield 11. Wasteland off of Gloucester Street (off Whitworth Street) 12. Renaissance Hotel - Deansgate/Blackfriars - Manchester City Centre 13. BHS - Arndale/Market Street/High Street - Manchester City Centre 14. SE Corner of Trinity Way/Chapel St - Salford/Manchester City Centre Border 15. Fishdock - Victoria Station - NOMA/Manchester City Centre 16. Various Plots - Greengate - Salford/Manchester City Centre Border

JoanMay 13th 2013.

My email quoted above is incorrect. Please use: cllr.j.davies@manchester.gov.uk

JoanMay 13th 2013.

Anon. It's usually buildings' owners who choose to knock them down rather than the council.

Graeme WrightMay 14th 2013.

Will do so immediately and will post this to Facebook. Everyone in Manchester should know about this

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Anything west of the Irwell is Salford Council not Manchester.

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

don't worry, it's just one of mancon's april fool jokes! bit late though isn't it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Take this design and stick it on embarrassing Origin Whitworth Street for _____ sake! Joke. The joke is the public are irrelevant and planning an ad hoc mess in Manchester. Shame on our Council.

StephMay 13th 2013.

Is that lattice work the same as the stuff on Fabrica on Ancoats?

PaulMay 13th 2013.

So bloody angry about this. By all means knock the other buildings down but Century House has to stay.

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Another Simpson ego statement. How much office space do we really need? Personally I favour smaller creative space for innovative start ups. Not this human battery farm.

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

I cannot believe they are going to demolish century house. I understand the site is ripe for development, but its the only old building on that side that matches in with the library. It NEEDS to be kept, it would look really good surrounded by new buildings. If you go to New York or London, the old and the new are all mixed in and it looks fantastic - not a vile 60's looking cheaply clad mess like this. Its shameful for the city.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 13th 2013.

In an endeavour to find the architect of Century House I dug out Philip Atkins' Guide Across Manchester from 1976, the year the Sex Pistols played at the Free Trade Hall twice, the second occasion supported by The Buzzcocks. Has anybody out there ever fallen in love with a building they shouldn't have fallen in love with? Anyway Atkins didn't give me the name of the architect (maybe the house architect of Friends Provident) but he reminded me that Century House was a problem right from the start. When the council wanted to make St Peter's Square into a much wider area in 1933 giving space to the Art Gallery as well, Friends Provident had just bought the site and they refused to budge. Approval for the compulsory purchase for £46K was sought, it was defeated by one vote. A Quaker vote rather than a Quaker oat perhaps? So Manchester lost out on some much needed breathing space. Maybe granting permission is council vengeance.

Ghostly TomMay 13th 2013.

This development has been on the cards for a while. I alerted the 20th Century Society about it a while ago. The new building could be anywhere. It's not a bad building but is far from being good and nowhere near good enough to be built in this prominent position. But the worse thing about it is the demolition of Century House which compliments the other buildings around the square perfectly well. I had hoped that the economic downturn would have killed off this proposal but apparently not. Century House may not be the greatest building in the city but it. Is one of many that add to the architectural ambiance of the city and fill the spaces between the great architectural set pieces. I am very depressed that this beautiful and perfectly decent building will be torn down. Does anyone have a good word for the new proposal?

Peter CastreeMay 14th 2013.

No point in complaining. The decisions were taken long ago and the contracts no doubt have already been signed. Sadly, the developmental shape of the city is in the hands of people with absolutely no taste, no respect for the public realm and no sense of the appropriate. Any old ad hoc development will do, apparently, as long as it supposedly contributes to the delusion of the 'world class' city. The city council wouldn't recognise world class if they fell over it in the street. Other cities do much better in terms of public realm, not just architecturally but in terms of maintenance, and we would do well to adopt some of their approaches.

Raul MagadanMay 14th 2013.

Isn't time to sig a petition to save Manchester's heritage and question all these planners and the people in the City Council who are allowing these monstrosities to happen????

Ian ChristieMay 14th 2013.

Jonathan, could you do a piece sometime explaining the planning process so that your ranters can direct their anger in the right direction? This proposal has come from the private sector and at the moment is simply a planning application. It has NOT yet been agreed by the Council so any anger directed at elected COUNCILLORS is entirely misplaced. The proposal HAS been discussed with Council OFFICERS who have probably given it informal approval - but again it is not their proposal but the developer’s. Councillors on the Planning Committee have the power to reject any planning application even if their Officers advise approving it. The names of these Councillors can be found in the Planning Committee Minutes on the Council website. Their email addresses are also given. They should now be lobbied by everyone who objects to this scheme. The public can also submit comments on the application to the Planning Department and the Officers have a LEGAL DUTY to summarise all comments they receive in a report to the Planning Committee meeting which is to decide on the application. Committee meetings are open to the public and objectors can ask to address them. So all objectors to this proposal should stop ranting and instead start lobbying all Planning Committee Councillors and writing letters to the Planning Department. Getting an application rejected is certainly an uphill struggle but can be done - as happened when Peel Holdings wanted to redevelop Jacksons Wharf in Castlefield with a completely inappropriate apartment block. Councillors were convinced by the arguments of local residents and turned down the proposal not once but twice - both times against the advice of their Officers. As a result we now have the lovely pub The Wharf.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Ian please help us novices as everyday people do know planning laws! Please leave us a link, advice or contact if possible? But the MCC CEO has already endorsed it, surely this pulls Councillors and the Planning Committee's allegiances? I still do not understand if this is a done deal or not?

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

But why "ONLY" Jackson's Wharf Ian? (Oh yeah, it was Peel Holdings wasn't it. Leese & Bernstein's favourite local company! Such a political decision that one, eh?) But to prove I'm wrong, please provide us with a list of the other developments the Planning Committee has rejected as "just not being good enough for Manchester". (PS; There was a massive campaign against the then redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens in the 1990s - but the Planning Committee didn't take a blind bit of notice. What Leese & Bernstein want, Leese & Bernstein get!)

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Anon! I anonymously agree. Those two are like something out of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. Time for an elected Major or a change in the Halls of Power! I bet they make party whips in parliament look friendly!

AnonymousMay 30th 2013.

I agree with all of this but Ian is right and we must all follow the process and hope we make a difference. Oh god I love this city but loathe and detest the people who run it so badly.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 14th 2013.

Ian, thank you, you've just done it for me.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Adam PrinceMay 14th 2013.

Hi Jonathan. That would be a great article. The process seems so confusing. What are the powers, case laws, the process. If legal / political people find such cases taxing, confusing and perhaps their allegiances tested, how can the everyday person understand what we can do? It is so perplexing! Also I would love to see a poll or vote on the area's Mancunians see as most in need of 'rescue, redevelopment, development' in the city centre? What are the top most 'offensive' sites that need urgent attention? Such a survey I think would be great if possible!

Adam PrinceMay 14th 2013.

And being more than a bit ingratiating I can understand your articles. Their interesting and jargon free! I don't think if I sat with a book of planning law I'd make head nor tail of it!

Adam PrinceMay 14th 2013.

They're. Goodness.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

To add to Ian's comment above - the councillors are like MPs and the officers are permanent civil servants who advise the councillors. The officers write a report recommending permission or refusal but the councillors are the ones who vote and decide.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Who's best to contact to challenge unnecessary demolition of Century House and 'encourage' investors/ Council to focus elsewhere?

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

The councillors whose details are above - Kev Peel, Joan Davies, Elaine Boyes; plus those who are on the planning committee www.manchester.gov.uk/…/planning_and_highways_committee… ; you can also attend the planning committee meeting and speak for or against.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Do any of those councillors have any specialised qualifications in architecture, town planning or design etc? Have any of them ever publicly expressed their visions, hopes & opinions about our city's "built environment"? What are their backgrounds and why are they so qualified to sit on a city's planning committee? I don't know about elected Police Commissioners, but isn't about time our cities (towns & conurbations) had a "directed elected" Planning Supremo? More popular, eh?

Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

I know some publicly disagreed with demolition of Legends/ Twisted Wheel. But legislation and bureaucracy... what agonizing enigmas! I should imagine elected without backgrounds like that being necessary. But it's the system that seems to be failing in Manchester. Sorry if that's controversial and it isn't meant to hurt anyone, but it is apparent a new dialogue, new strategy and news aims for lobbying change at a regional and national level must occur.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Nothing will be changed locally. Not by local politicians, turkeys don't vote for christmas. Nor by local referenda. 70-80% of English people are naturally small c conservative, who will always vote no to change. (Remember the 2004 North East devolution referendum result?) As per the Local Government Act 1972 (& its 1985 death knell) - change can only come from central government imposition.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Fred and Peter Done - the scourge of new money made of the back of other peoples misery. The design of the new building is dreadful. I'm not happy at the thought of Century house disappearing at all- beautiful old building - but it you are to replace it; go back to the drawing board! That new design is horribly reminisicent of the 1960's concrete blocks we used to build (and for the record, looks horribly familiar to their former premises on New Bailey Street...missing home, perhaps!?)

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Mancunians you all must fight against this injustice.Such an outrage if this historical building ends up being demolished. Ian Christie is absolutely correct. Start lobbying and put in an objection to the Planning Permission with the Council. it might stall or stop the go ahead with a lot of persuasion. Good luck.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Did English Heritage really help to finalise the design? Heck, some people within that organisation must really hate Manchester then?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

I am SHOCKED by that too! English Heritage of all people supporting this!

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

I'll be gutted if that building goes.

Peter MancMay 14th 2013.

Come people lets stop ranting and lets have more action. If we let this happen, where next is up for the chop?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Peter. I just wish there were answers on who best to contact? Important questions: why is this happening in Manchester? do the community even matter? there are so many places that could be next, so how would anyone know?

Marcus EadyMay 15th 2013.

I agree, is there some way that we could get an action group together to complain and counteract this degredation of our city's history?

Hero
Manc GuyMay 14th 2013.

GOOD GRIEF!!! Why's this been put forward? Demolish 40 Fountain Street and build it there instead. At least 1 St. Peter's Square has replaced an eyesore, but that aside, thirteen floors is too tall for that location. This is urban planning terrorism.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

So many empty spaces, derelict spaces and they choose here. Insanity.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

The developers of this site do not own every other open or derelict site in this city. Duh.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

"urban planning terrorism"? - calm down dear.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

I think I'm great, even though I know that I have a personality only a mother could love.

MDMay 14th 2013.

I assume all the Simpson detractors are walking around in Victorian clothes and 100 year old cars?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

I assume you MD are walking around with a modern bucket on your head.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

I often dress fashionably but not in a modernist style. I think it is as i said in public to Ian Simpson.'so last century'. over Origin Incidentally the twisty bits on Simpson's Shudhill Bus Station car park are more integral to that building than these bits are. Post modern stucco perhaps. I do agree that HB should get a good advisory panel for pre planning discussions (which is were it gets sown up).as it is not fair to the Planning Department who must work by the book or rules (there are few anyway now. EH should be invited to a public meeting to explain their position. I should say you need to be in these at the start. I submitted two memos on Orgin site before the consultation period with residents began. It's too late now!

Don AllwrightMay 14th 2013.

27 Anons! I didn't read any of them, although I'm sure some would have been worth reading if the authors had the balls to sign their names.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

It's a default on some accounts. Having worked for Peninsula and seen some of the practices there, I can't say I'm surprised if some of the posters are understandably reluctant to put their names down if they work there too and aren't happy about this new build either.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

And I thought it was only in Liverpool where the planners, the developers and English Heretics took the piss and conspired to destroy worthy buildings in oder to throw up concrete tat. Best keep an eye on it from now on or somebody might pull the same stunt as they do here when people objct to the destruction of a fine building - smash holes in the roof or put up a tarpaulin and send the preservation teams in to protect any ornate features with a sledge hammer. Prof Y. Chucklebutty Liverpool.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Oh yeah we know all about that method here - check out Ancoats Dispensary for that. In Manchester though, the preferred way seems to be the suspicious fire. Structure left unstable, building must be demolished. All very convenient!

The Real Don AllwrightMay 14th 2013.

Personally I don't mind anonymous posts. More the merrier!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

I think they're a bit cowardly myself.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Century House is nothing special. Neither is its replacement. I've no real problem with this.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

That's just typical of you ANONYMOUS.

Ian ChristieMay 14th 2013.

Century House must be one of the few city centre buildings which is not only in a Conservation Area itself (George Street CA) but also immediately faces 2 other Conservation Areas (Albert Square and St Peter’s Square CAs). In any Conservation Area the Council has duty in law to ensure new developments “preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area”. My preferred option for this site is (a) keep Century House or modernise it internally and retain its façade (b) knock down the two second-rate buildings next to it on Mosley Street (c) insert a version of Ian Simpson’s not inelegant building between Century House and the building at the corner of Princess Street and (d) modify this new building to make it the same height, or roughly the same height, as the two retained buildings at either end of it. This way you get new high-quality office space, retain the Mosley Street streetscape, keep definition of the corner of St Peter’s Square - the proposed new building lets space seep out of the Square whereas Century House defines it – and so “enhance the character and appearance of the area”. Trouble is, of course, a new lower building would mean less profit for Mosley Street Ventures and Fred and Peter Done and family.

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

A quick synopsis of how buildings get built. 1. Some one owns a piece of land or building they wish to develop. 2. They develop a business case based on the financial return they could make by developing the site based on an analysis of the likely costs, income and risks involved. 3. The business case - assuming it is viable - becomes the principle influence in terms of the size, specification and design of the building. 4. The developer / landowner will appoint an architect to work within these parameters. 5. During the design process, the developer and their appointed consultants will liaise with the Council and other bodies to ensure that the proposed development conforms with local and national planning policy and other statutory regulations (such as building regs etc). 6. The design may go through a few iterations during this period. 7. Assuming the business case still stacks up (or alternatively the developer may have no intention of building and is only interesting in selling on the existing land with planning permission, hence making it more valuable), the final design is submitted for planning. 8. Planning officers compile a report, evaluating the development against local and national planning policy as well as responses to consultation, making a recommendation to accept or refuse. 9. The report goes to the planning committee on which democratically elected councillors sit to determine the planning application, using the officers report as a basis for making a decision. A final and most important addendum - much of planning policy is set down in law. Therefore as long as a building conforms to policy (and most applications do conform), the council is generally obliged to approve a given application, unless a very clear and strong case can be made. Matters of subjective aesthetic judgement, which seems to be the basis of many of the rants on this page are unlikely to stand up in a court of appeal leaving the council with a hefty legal bill if they to used this as a basis to reject the application and did not succeed. Century House is not listed either so has no special protection. HOWEVER development in a Conservation Zone, as this is, is more heavily regulated - the comments about English Heritage suggest the developers have already covered this angle but I would suggest this offers the most likely avenue for a successful objection. All that said, I quite like this new building. The main issue for me is the lesser visual interest in the square with two fairly similar, flat slabs sitting next to each other.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Ian ChristieMay 14th 2013.

Brilliant Anonymous. You've done what I asked Jonathan to do earlier today. Very succinct. Maybe you're a planner or even a Manchester planner!!

AnonymousMay 14th 2013.

Thanks Ian. I am neither though.

JoanMay 15th 2013.

Anonymous. You are the most sensible anonymous I've read all week, and I've read a good few. Thank you for your clarity. Just one elaboration: can I just highlight the importance of 'own' in your number1 point? As an analogy: when I pay a window cleaner I pay him to clean my windows. I don't pay him to clean my neighbours' windows, even if they're tons dirtier. I don't recall being criticised for that. I'm sure developers can be criticised on many grounds, but I don't understand how they can be criticised for wanting to develop sites they own rather than sites they don't own.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Thanks Joan. And I fully agree with your point.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Basically that is anon at least the public bit. But this >'During the design process, the developer and their appointed consultants will liaise with the Council and other bodies to ensure that the proposed development conforms with local and national planning policy and other statutory regulations (such as building regs etc).< is in private and is open clearly to discussion between the parties:Developer architect and planners and policy makers. The intervention of other parties in terms of the law and guidelines points up the cost of opposition to the developer. Planning applications of this sort are expensive. We got 20% knocked of the height of Origin a symbolic win.

DavidMay 14th 2013.

Certainly no complaints about the three buildings between Century House and the Victorian on the corner going! It is a shame Century House may go as it's a pretty building, although it's obviously not listed for a reason. Plus the square has the potential to be an really exciting Grade A city centre development, especially given that 3 St Peter's Square and the Odeon are also going high-rise. It's not ideal but on balance (and if they get it right) I wouldn't mind Century House making way. 3stpeterssquare.co.uk/home.php… www.thebusinessdesk.com/…/451166-hines-confirms-office-plan-for-odeon-site.html…

LbsbongersMay 14th 2013.

Century House is mostly vacant, I have been inside its a bit grotty.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

Then they need to revamp it. And developers need to be 'encouraged' (at least) to consult with the public more transparently, before some lobbyists attempt to get changes in planning law. I'm meeting a wonderful woman next week called Jess Steele who is fighting hard for such parliamentary changes and who lead the campaign that won the Hastings Pier CPO. Too many aspect of the Planning laws clearly seem inadequate, from common sense judgements. My opinion. Now I better make the dedication to try and understand the planning laws, the flaws and why they do not work in many cases. Heavy! Are there some lawyers on here who specialize in such things and have strong opinions?

Geoffrey EntwistleMay 15th 2013.

I forwarded this article to the 20th Century Society who informed me they are aware of the issue and will be opposing its demolition.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

Good. Where else do MOSLEY Street Ventures Limited, principally owned by Fred and Peter Done own in the City? Does anyone know? How could they be 'encouraged' to focus on different sites they possess? I am quite sure they own ample amounts of other land surely?

TimMay 15th 2013.

Very good point made by anon earlier- it is entirely down to the owners of the building, the developers, and planning law as to what happens on this site. Not liking the look of a building is not a justification in law for not building it, if the council make a decision on this site outside current law they will be taken to court, beaten, and saddled with a hefty legal bill. As for the development, as long as it opens up Peters Square I don't care- that square has been a cramped, ill used and shoddy mess for decades. Century House is, as the article correctly states, nice but dull- the sort of building most ranters probably haven't noticed until it was due to be demolished.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Let's just knock all the boring old stuff down, shall we? Then we can have a centre more reminiscent of Reading or Slough or Croydon. Lovely.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

I take it you've never been to Reading, Slough or Croydon. If you were going to knock everything boring down there would be very little left.

wolfiestokeMay 15th 2013.

What would this City do without Ian Christie?? Once again he is leading the way in telling us all about planning law and, more importantly, explaining how people power can defeat the money driven thinking of developers. Well done Ian. On just one small point, I disagree with him: Fred and Peter Done would actually MAKE MORE money out of his more aesthetic and classier scheme than the cheapskate glitz proposed by Simpson. It`s about taking a longer term view. The person who built the now demolished rubbish that used to be next door to this site in the 1970`s would have made a better long term return if they had built something that would have lasted longer. Fred Done is certainly not an unaesthertic person and he must surely understand that, in the long term his family wealth will be preserved by investing in something that would have the gracvitas and class of the facade of Century House.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Other compromises would be Compromises: Agree. Low class indeed. Knock down the ugly buildings next to Century House, as they are going anyway to make this design. No-one will miss them and them going would not have sparked this debate and uproar. Scale back the development... make it taller, whatever! But keep Century House. No one is complaining about the miserable buildings are going like Manpower and next door! So if these developers own all of this, make a compromise and demolish less! Just think in 1970s and 1980s (or whenever these were built) people probably saw these irrelevant places as an architectural success. Just saying... fads.

Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

Great idea & compromise. Keep Century House or its facade. Knock down ManPower and the ugly building next door as no-one will miss them. 48-42 the 1886 Bank is staying anyways, and then a taller building could be between Century House and this old Bank. Just revise the plans. Go higher and keep both older Buildings. They'll make beautiful contrasts to modern architecture, as would be found in New York for example. i43.tinypic.com/2wdq6vq.jpg…

Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

For a lot of spare change, they could probably buy an area of space in urgent need of redevelopment in the City for the cost of the demolition. I think the law seems inadequate. Similarly if they read these posts I hope they consider seriously these opinions and take a responsible look at what could be possible elsewhere. £80 million is an incredible amount of money in this recession. The building would be fine elsewhere. Even keeping the facade with a tower rising above the old external walls would be better (e.g. like other buildings in the city, e.g. Merchant House Whitworth Street). Is the word compromise in anyone's dialogue these days? Where does corporate responsibility and listening to the people ever come into play? e.g. Look at yet another mess, the BBC Carpark. Land owners/ developers have all the powers and it seems revolting. RESPECT a city and involve its people (e.g. LRFS CPO fail). That goes for the council and of-course those with ownership. Naive, maybe, but things should be better than this. Find another way!

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Why knock down a beautiful building and replace it with something that looks more at home in East Berlin, this is shocking bad taste.

Poster BoyMay 15th 2013.

Some people need to stick to the knitting...or counselling, or hypnotherapy or psychotherapy,or something, anything, else...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

Thanks, knitting sounds great. I use my name and not a pseudonym. I work with disenfranchised people struggling everyday in private (which is hard at the moment due to the recession), voluntary work and I do many other things. Caring about a city and listening to people who feel disenfranchised in regards to their city is also a concern of mine as is finding a better way. People are all over facebook criticising this, same on twitter. There are many things Mancunians are feeling disempowered about in this city. You can quip, but I can deal with haters. Tell us about what you do and why you are feeling so defensive?

Poster BoyMay 15th 2013.

Read and learn. Please engage your brain occasionally before your fingers. Your postings on ManCon and SkyscaperCity read like the inane ramblings of an idealistic, naïve and self-disenfranchised sixth former, railing against the enemies of ‘big business’ and ‘bureaucracy’. A self inflicted flagellation of faux hysteria. In a word. Embarrassing. Your targets are completely misdirected, be it your vendetta against the owner of London Road Fire Station or the proposed redevelopment of Century House and adjacent buildings, or Manchester City Council. You clearly have no understanding (or no wish to acknowledge) the workings of the democratic process, of business or specifics like the planning system. Before spouting any more of this unintelligent nonsense, go and get an education in the subject areas which are clearly of interest to you. Then at least, you might be able to propound a valid and cogent argument at sometime in the future. Example. Read, carefully, the post of Ian Christie above. Read again. You could of course get properly involved. Stand for election, join the Civic Society, the Twentieth Century Society etc etc etc Or just stick to the knitting… Please.

Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

LNGCats, I know exactly who you are. How many times have you called me these things? While you've been trying to character assinate me, I've been working with the Trust for LRFS to get events up and running! I may be naive as you say, but while I am working with someone who loved the LRFS and wrote a book about it, seeking media and local support from venues, all you can do is type bile. Was it you I got the threatening phones calls when I started this all up? But I know you'll do your usual reply "I don't know what you are talking about". You seem to have done a lot of research into me and I really seem to get under your skin. While I meet lobbyists and work with people, you can call me what you want. I really don't care! As for your comment "Your targets are completely misdirected, be it your vendetta against the owner of London Road Fire Station" get real. Ask Manchester and when this campaign I am only a SMALL part of now get momentum, we'll see how many people share that opinion.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

PS: someone set up this poll about the situation www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php…

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

If this were London, Prince Charles would be writing letters!!! (How come he only seems to care about bad architecture in London though?)

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

If this gets built, then the prospect of getting other stalled projects will be diminished. If the office requirements of the City are met to some degree by this new build, then there will be less demand for other office developments on derelict plots. Who will finance the office proportion of the stalled Origin site, Odeon Site on Oxford Rd, BBC site, Granada site, NOMA, Mayfield, Axis and opposite on Whitworth Street, Fishdock, MMU site, Pomona, Boddingtons, First Street, Ancoats, Station Aproach, Piccadilly Tower, completion of Spinningfields or in Salford-Middlewood Locks,Greengate, Chapel Street, the whole of the Salford banks of the Irwell etc. etc.? These all have large office blocks as part of their master plan. Not to mention the many vacant plots further out of the City! The office requirements are being met by knocking down and rebuilding ever bigger buildings on already developed plots around the city. If developments such as this are approved, it is less likely that these sites will ever be developed as it will reduce their viability.

Deborah WatsonMay 15th 2013.

reference for the planning application seems to be 102357/CC/2013/C2 rather than the one noted above

Adam PrinceMay 15th 2013.

I love Manchester Confidential! The articles are exceptional and really great for the city with admirable journalism. But my flatmates and friends have told me, keep off of these online debates! I agree, I am wasting too much time on here... a) because it's fascinating, b) because it is so addictive! I'm going to chill out for a while online and not comment (some might say hooray)! I also (with a few exceptions) have learnt a lot, been wrong and kindly appreciated people telling me I'm off point. Sometimes I don't know a lot, but know that people are passionate about this great city and rightly so. I just know there are better ways for all of us to move forward and I want to say how much I respect the forum of the total freedom of speech. But I've got lot's to do, want to work hard with the LRFS Trust and makes things happen & I'll get the Trust to update occasionally on the LRFS Stories. But it is time to keep my voice, out of it, as it is one of many (just for this one cause). I do not want to make a rod for my own back or damage the image of the Friends of LRFS Trust I helped to start, because it's such an important cause for the city, and people who really care, want to restore their faith and I do not want to do them a disservice with my loose tongue. It is too important for me to not mess the cause up or its reputation. There are many causes, and I encourage people, keep on believing. Stand up. Be counted. Make changes. Demand better. Be true. Do not believe the word cannot. I hope your ventures are great, wish you happiness and contentedness and I hope we all make a Manchester we are proud of. I hope this recession picks up for us all and especially the talented people who do not get enough time to shine amongst you. So shutting down my account, my commenting and so over and out! Hiatus and more time to do things I need to do beyond my internet addiction! Best wishes all and all you wonderful Manchester people who want to make a difference, keep on keeping on!

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

Get rid of fine building WHY ! ? ! ? Lets put a tacky looking sixities ugly block in its place that will need replacing in 15-20 years Manchester you're mad

CinnaMay 16th 2013.

Just another excuse not to visit Manchester. As someone born and bred in Manchester it wrenches my guts to see what is happening to the city centre. I suppose it all started with the Piccadilly development back in the 60's, and has become worse ever since. The whole city centre is now no more than a tawdry, run down, shadow of it's former self. As long as people like this are allowed to get away with vandalism like this it will continue on it's downward spiral.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 21st 2013.

Well said. Its a dirty, grubby slab of concrete with no colour or pride in itself. I used to love a day out in Manchester but I won't go now. Hate the place that I grew up and worked in.

Charlie HulmeMay 17th 2013.

I wonder if those bronze lanterns at the door of Century House and the other bronze items are by the Bromsgrove Guild? Their representative Ernest Pickford was based in Manchester in the 30s.

proud mancMay 18th 2013.

I cannot believe what I have just read. How on earth can this once-proud city let this architecturally sound and historic building be demolished at the hands of a replacement 'modernistic' monstrosity. There should be as much publicity as can be mustered to put pressure on the elected Councillors and the officers/staff in the Planning Department to STOP this going ahead.

AnonymousMay 18th 2013.

Can anyone familiar with the process and criteria of getting buildings offer an explanation why this building isn't listed. This would seem to be relevant to the debate.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ian ChristieMay 19th 2013.

I think you’ll find everything you need at: www.english-heritage.org.uk/…/listing-faqs…

PavraoMay 20th 2013.

Come on...that's such a good looking building, why is it being demolished. Ridiculous idea this. someone wants a new building, there's enough space around the city to do it. I'm not interested in the design of the new building, nothing can match an existing building with some classic design. Please don't allow the destruction of this existing building. Jonathan don't allow this to happen and the City will present you a coat of arms

AnonymousMay 21st 2013.

Why oh! why are these so called " architects " allowed to get way with destroying quality buildings to replace them with garbage that will not last half the time of the one destroyed? No wonder Manchester's in a mess, with no cohesive plan. Send our herritage to the bottom of the canal why don't you. If the building is unsafe then so be it but it looks sturdy. Do we really need another office block/ shopping mall? I hate to say it but Liverpool is leaving us standing.

Ian ChristieMay 21st 2013.

Century House: I’m currently drafting a submission to the Planning Department showing how it would be easy both to keep Century House and have a new office block on this site. I’ll post it here next weekend inviting people to sign up to it if they wish. Keep a look out and tell your friends!

Dave MartinMay 21st 2013.

The trouble with Manchester is that there is no local democracy due to the totalitarian dominance of Labour (not helped by the first past the post voting system), so we have no influence over what happens to our city. You're all wasting your time moaning, submitting planning objections etc.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 21st 2013.

Barking up the wrong tree. Local government have little real power. Your gripe is best aimed at all those in Westminster where power and resources continues to be hoarded to the detriment of both local democracy and general well being. The Scots have got the right idea....

AnonymousMay 23rd 2013.

I was trying to explain British politics to a young Chinese man the other week. It was very difficult for him to grasp until I got to the local condition - a one party state - that he copuld grasp.

culture vultureMay 24th 2013.

Iam Simpson getting his dirty greedy hands involved in this again. tons of sites available in Manchester where cone could build such a uninteristing building at this, just down city road forexample there is a half build building by Mancunian Way left partly built as a shell for aobut 3 years. Couldn't they knock that down and build this shite there instead of knocking down another piece of our heritage? But then than would involved MCC using their brains for once and Pat Karney and his cronies probably wouldn't get their back handers to direct them to anotherr site. I hate Manchester planners !!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 24th 2013.

Yawn. Have you read nothing of the rants that preceded yours?

Mark.May 25th 2013.

Looks great, get it built.

Ian ChristieMay 27th 2013.

Action you can take to Save Century House! I’ve written a letter to the City Council planners objecting to the demolition of Century House and showing how the site could be developed perfectly well –in fact better – without getting rid of it. If you think you might like to put your name to this letter it please email me at ianchristie2@btinternet.com asking for a copy. Many thanks. And please tell your friends!

AnonymousJune 12th 2013.

Why the need for more office and shop space? Just look at the empty offices and shops in the prestigious King Street,Deansgate, Piccadilly, Arndale centre etc. If the Done brothers have spare cash why don't they regenerate the old London fire station!! Or will the City Council receive more rate s and Council Tax? This is architectural vandalism. Maybe they could give their cash to the MOSI How about demolishing the Town Hall, Manchester Museum, Art Gallery, Midland Hotel,all old buildings! Please no more square bland glass buildings. Manchester City Council are carrying on where the Luftwaffe left off. Ernie Davies

Pin BallFebruary 17th 2015.

Ian Simpson is to Manchester now what Herbert Manzoni was to Birmingham in the 1950s and 1960s. At least with the latter, a lot of his horrid concrete legacy has been erased from Birmingham city centre and the city council has even decided it doesn't need any skyscrapers anymore to compete with London and other UK cities (which is why - even though it was one of the first cities outside London to announce tall tower schemes long before 9/11 shot all proposals down in flames, it has backed down and isn't going to be building any now, as all the proposals are cancelled or held indefinitely). Unlike here in Manchester, of course, where the architects are so shamelessly phallocentric - and so eager to turn the second city skyline into MANChattan [©] - that they will not rest until they have systematically reduced the entirety of the city centre to soullessly ugly, generic, boxy steel and glass monstrosities over 40 storeys high defiling every single square inch and remaining green space that they can get their opportunistic hands on. Ian Simpson is indeed the new antichrist. Long may he reign - he and the city council truly deserve one another. And so Manchester now continues to become as bloated and overbuilt as London. The Victorian city centre is now practically dead.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Looks good to me. *shrugs* I think you need to take a chill pill dear.

GimboidFebruary 17th 2015.

Drunk, drugged or deluded? Any guesses?

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Agreed. Turning into Crapchester, Birmingham mark 2. No building of merit has been built in the city centre for the past 20 years but many have gone. I'll bet my left testicle that this period of rede omens will be viewed with same amount of astonishment of the civic vandalism of the 50's and 60's. Utterly depressing.

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Redevelopment.

Shit BiscuitFebruary 17th 2015.

"The Victorian city centre is now practically dead." Apart from the dozens upon dozens of Victorian buildings that remain in fine condition and active use. Yet another pointless uninformed ranter who is more interested in their own hyperbole than reasoned debate, and adds nothing of value to the discussion. Great. This is why the public don't get listened to.

Pin BallFebruary 17th 2015.

Oh god, not that f**king cliched phrase again - "take a chill pill" - the stock cop-out phrase people use when they have no inspiration nor anything constructive to add to the argument. Like a red rag to a bull that one is. No pal, you're obviously an Ian Simpson cohort or disciple and I therefore claim my five hundred pounds. Maybe you don't even live in Manchester - to see what the state of the current modern 'architecture' is like courtesy of this overrated egotistical buffoon. Please man, get real and look around you - and wise up. Have you seen that building up there?? Is there any intrinsic originality about it at all? Maybe you like the awful state of Piccadilly Gardens and that Berlin Wall and think that too is state of the art.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

Take a chill pill. Life's not that bad. The sun will rise tomorrow, I promise.

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2015.

And for the record, yes I've seen it. And I think it looks good. Better than his efforts at First Street. Not as good as the Beetham Tower or Urbis. x

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