Downturn drives Ballymore and Inacity to halt construction work and apply to convert site back into car park

It has not been a good year for Wayne Mellor, chairman of multimillion-pound property developer Inacity.

First there was the community service Mellor was ordered to do in September, following his stone-throwing assault on the home of his former lover's boyfriend.

Now one of his firm's key projects has fallen victim to the credit crunch, as plans to build Europe's tallest residential building in the centre of Manchester have been put aside in favour of a car park.

Work was halted on the Piccadilly Tower earlier this year after £8m had already been spent laying the foundations for the 58-storey structure. The development was due to include a 220-room hotel and 430 apartments, but plans were stymied by the property slump and global economic downturn.

Developers Ballymore and Inacity, which were behind the scheme, have now asked the city council for permission to transform the building site back into a car park.

Mellor, 52, told the Manchester Evening News that the project had been “temporarily” postponed until the global economy recovers.

“We decided to put the project on ice because we also intend to build 430 apartments, and we realise that the purchasers for these are just not around at the moment,” he told the newspaper.

“Furthermore, the project is going to cost £130m and it would be incredibly difficult to fund this as the lenders also know that there are just not going to be any customers for the apartments.”

However, Mellor added that when the recession has ended, he firmly believes the Piccadilly Tower project will play an “essential role in enhancing the region's prosperity”.

In September, Building reported that Mellor was given a 12-month community and supervision order, ordered to pay £378 in compensation and attend anger management classes after he pleaded guilty to throwing rocks at the home of a lawyer who had started dating his former lover.