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Planning application for University threatens tower

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November 19 2004

John McAslan and Partners’ proposals for the redevelopment of a large site on Oxford Road for the University of Manchester should go to planning committee at the end of this year. The £25 million student centre will include conferencing facilites, a refectory, teaching facilites and a School of Nursing. The scheme is one of four new developments that are the outcome of the university’s merger with UMIST. The development forms a key part of the masterplan drawn up by Terry Farrell which proposes replacing the Maths Tower with a new block that generates more activity at street level.

The proposals include plans to demolish the Maths Tower block, a significant feature on the city’s skyline. The Maths building (1967-1968) by Scherrer and Hicks has an unusual fan–shaped plan. If planning approval is granted demolition may take place in Spring next year. A campaign to defend the building has been intiated. Tom Jeffries of Manchester School of Architecture said that the building should not be demolished. “It is an inventive, distinctive, powerful piece of work and it has a heroic presence on Oxford Road,” said Jeffries. An application for spot-listing has been made to the DCMS. However, spot listing was not supported by the Twentieth Century Society.

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