Manchester

Gary Neville puts his £200m development plans on hold

Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville
Image caption Ex Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville will revise their ideas

Gary Neville has put his £200m property development plans on hold following criticism from conservationists.

The former Manchester United star, 42, and ex-team-mate Ryan Giggs, 43, asked Manchester City Council to delay making a decision on whether to allow plans including two skyscrapers in the city.

They will now revise their ideas which were described by Historic England as a threat to "erase" the area's history.

However, Mr Neville insisted he believed in the "scale" of the plans.

Image copyright St Michael's
Image caption An artist's impression of how two bronze towers, called Number One St Michael's and Number Two St Michael's, would look in the city centre

The St Michael's development, near Manchester Town Hall, includes a 200-bed five-star hotel, 153 apartments, 135,000 sq ft of offices and a synagogue.

Retail and leisure space, including two sky bars/restaurants, is planned for the 31-storey Number One St Michael's skyscraper and a 21-storey office tower would be housed in Number Two St Michael's.

Life on Mars

However, the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub - said to be the inspiration for the pub in the BBC's Life On Mars programme - and Bootle Street's former police station would have to be bulldozed, drawing the ire of local conservationists.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Sir Ralph Abercromby pub (left) is thought to have inspired the BBC drama 'Life on Mars' while the Reform Synagogue (right) is also threatened

Speaking at a property conference in the French city of Cannes, Mr Neville said: "From our point of view there is no doubt that some of the suggestions, made to us during the consultation process, we need to listen to.

"We need to refine certain aspects of it and make changes to certain aspects.

"We still fundamentally believe in [the] scale [of the project], we still fundamentally believe in the buildings being tall in that zone.

"That is the absolute belief we have."

The former footballers say the scheme will create 1,500 jobs and Mr Neville stressed he wanted the development to be "perfect".

A council spokesman confirmed the footballers' representatives had requested their planning application be put on hold.

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