Manchester unveils long-term plan for city’s future

An ambitious city-wide plan to drive development in the city for the next 15 years has been drawn up by the council and will cement Manchester as one of the world’s leading cities.

The Core Strategy, which will be adopted by the city next month, has outlined an approach that will see a programme of regeneration transform neighbourhoods and encourage economic growth through to 2027.

The Regional Centre, including the city centre, Eastlands and Central Park, is recognised as a vital area to drive economic development in the city - with Manchester Airport as a secondary hub for growth and international connectivity.

A focus for visitors, the city centre will expand its commercial strengths through around 75,000sqm of new retail space, incorporating a variety of high-quality accommodation types and sizes, for mixed retail, leisure, entertainment and tourism use.

New public realm areas incorporating much of the city centre, including St Peter's Square and Victoria Street, will create safe pedestrian areas, boosting footfall and helping to encourage visitors through improved transport options and well supported tourism and cultural facilities.

Development of the central urban environment may also include a future of tall buildings that contribute positively to the city centre and that add to the distinctive character of the Manchester skyline.

City centre fringe areas, such as Hulme and Ancoats, have also been earmarked for commercial development, alongside Castlefield, the Oxford Road Corridor and Piccadilly - while residential development will continue to encourage city living.

East Manchester will continue to play a pivotal role in the economic future of the city, building on more than a decade of regeneration and providing an extension to city centre employment opportunities. Approximately 80 ha of employment land and 100 ha available leisure and commercial land represent a major opportunity to further consolidate Eastlands as a dominant attraction on the world map.

Manchester Airport is identified as a vital asset and the development of this location will act as a catalyst for job creation and investment opportunities to increase economic activity - as well as an important international transport hub for the wider region, which will also benefit from improved inward transport links, such as the proposed Metrolink extension.

Taking advantage of this key strategic location, Airport City will capture global business and investment opportunities that would otherwise locate elsewhere in the world. It is hoped that the new employment opportunities across the airport area will be of particular benefit to local communities in Wythenshawe.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Manchester has not been immune from the effects of the recession and investment in the city is vital to make sure our growing number of residents continue to enjoy an improving quality of life. Each aspect of this strategy allows us to look ahead and plan how the city will continue to thrive in the coming years."

Manchester's approach will have sustainability at its heart, from green and environmental issues to population and communities - encouraging healthy neighbourhoods in every respect and helping to consolidate Manchester's position as one of the country's greenest cities.

The city centre and its environs to the north and east will be the focus for new home building, as part of the strategy that looks to create sustainable, environmentally friendly neighbourhoods through a programme of residential development that will see an estimated 60,000 new homes built over the next 15 years.

As part of this vision, the strategy aims to revive local neighbourhoods with functional, accessible and thriving district centres - fully equipped with a range of amenities and facilities, including a range of key visitor services from retail and commercial to food and drink. Broadening the appeal of local town centres will also discourage car use, adding to the green credentials of the plan.

Improved housing, in both quality and quantity, is planned to encourage lifelong homes where families can live closely together and build attractive neighbourhoods able to support a range of socio-economic groups, from first-time buyers right through to meeting the needs of a growing elderly population.

Sir Richard added: "We want to encourage a shift back to old fashioned neighbourhoods where entire families can live their lives. The key is sustainability - making sure that each area fully caters for the needs of residents and that affordable housing is available, so that people in different circumstances can all find a home. "

Excellent transport services are the glue that binds each area together in this long term strategy. Connecting residents to jobs, accessing education and leisure facilities and linking each community to the next is vital in attracting a growing, stable population and support economic growth.

The strategy aims to make sure every job is accessible by public transport, by bike or by foot. Improving choice by developing alternatives to the car not only helps to meet the challenge of climate change by reducing carbon emissions, but also reduces congestion, air pollution and road accident casualties.

Sir Richard continued: "We envisage that the population in Manchester will grow substantially in the next fifteen years and this strategy will help the city remain an attractive and popular city, capable of growth, capable of attracting new business and investment and maintain our well-deserved reputation as a world-leading, forward thinking city."

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