An application by Britannia Hotels to convert and extend the former London Road Fire Station into a new four-star hotel has been recommended for approval by Manchester City Council’s planning and highways committee.
The Grade II listed building has stood empty since Britannia vacated it nine years ago and has been the subject of an ongoing row between the council and its owner.
The building has been on English Heritage’s buildings at risk register since 1999 and the city council has long lobbied for its redevelopment, saying it has an “adverse impact” on the regeneration of the area and could “inhibit further investment”. Argent, developer of nearby Piccadilly Place, drew up a proposal in 2006 for the development of a mixed-use scheme at the site.
The proposals form part of the wider regeneration of the Piccadilly Gateway, The Corridor and the Mayfield regeneration areas of the city centre. The planning application includes the creation of 227 bedrooms, meeting rooms and conference spaces, bars, function rooms and restaurant facilities.
In January, the council’s executive agreed to commit £5.25m towards a compulsory purchase order, but Britannia has been fighting the move.
A report to the council’s planning and highways committee, due to be discussed at a meeting on Thursday, said the council would continue its efforts to encourage the applicant to implement the scheme for which permission is sought.
It added that it has entered into an agreement with Britannia that would enable it to step in and purchase the building if redevelopment is “unreasonably slow or not in accordance with the permission granted”.
The council announced in early August that it had made a compulsory purchase order for the building, which was constructed between 1904 and 1906 and served as the headquarters for Manchester’s Fire Brigade in the first half of the 20th Century.