Refreshed plans for Ancoats including New Islington to be taken to the public

Draft development frameworks for Central Retail Park and the Poland Street area of Ancoats will be presented to the Council’s executive (Weds, 12 February). 

The two separate frameworks for the city centre neighbourhoods will then be subject to public consultation in the coming months. 

Central Retail Park

The Council acquired the key site in 2017 to ensure appropriate development to create a gateway to the burgeoning Ancoats regeneration area. 

The framework going to the Council’s executive meeting aspires to make Central Retail Park the city’s first zero-carbon business district. 

The proposals envisage a high quality, commercial-led mixed-use development with the highest regard to sustainability to meet the zero carbon ambitions for the city.  

The development would create a formal link between Great Ancoats Street and New Islington for the first time via a public space - Cotton Field Square - to complement the existing Cotton Field Park to the north of the site. 

Forming one of the city’s most significant public spaces, the ambition would be to link New Islington using around 150  trees that will create defined areas for a range of leisure uses. 

New fully accessible entrances will unite Central Retail Park with the surrounding neighbourhoods and the city centre. And the heritage characteristics of the area - such as the canal - will be celebrated as part of the final development masterplan.

Increased office and workspace accommodation will support the continued regeneration of the Ancoats neighbourhoods and help meet growing demand in this part of the city, alongside quality housing across a range of types and tenures. 

The Executive committee will be asked to approve the appointment of a development and funding partner to agree the final scope of the scheme, ahead of public consultation.

The initial cost of purchasing the site in 2017 will be recouped through the development of the city centre site, with potential to deliver further returns. 

The next phase of Ancoats - the Back of Ancoats Area 

Currently, the Poland Street area of Ancoats (“the back of Ancoats”) is characterised by low level commercial and industrial accommodation. The ambition is to match the success of the “front of Ancoats” area that has become a globally recognised programme of regeneration. 

The draft framework being considered by the executive committee will put forward proposals to create high-quality public space and green areas around new housing and office space, to bring forward a mixed-use area unique to the Ancoats neighbourhood. 

Sites to accommodate affordable housing are currently being identified to increase investment in housing across a range of tenures in close proximity to the city centre, which will also contribute to the city’s commitment to sustainability through communities that have a reduced carbon footprint. 

The proposals will be subject to public consultation, including drop in events for local people. Details to be confirmed in the coming weeks. 

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Ancoats, including New Islington, should be considered in the top ranks of urban regeneration anywhere today. Central Retail Park and the wider Ancoats area represent the next crucial step in the neighbourhoods’ journey. 

“The former commercial units at Central Retail Park have for too long acted as a physical barrier on Great Ancoats Street, creating an impasse for the emerging community of New Islington to seamlessly interact with the city centre. 

“Crucially, Central Retail Park will be a marker for the city’s carbon ambitions and the aim to create the city’s first zero carbon district will be an expectation for developments in the future, aligned with the Zero Carbon Action Plan.”

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “Affordable housing is an important issue for our residents, which is why as a council we have made a commitment to ensuring all Manchester residents can access safe, secure and decent housing that is affordable for them. 
“The regeneration of Ancoats has been hugely successful over the last two decades. This next phase of regeneration gives us an opportunity to deliver affordable homes in a city centre setting, along with high quality public areas and green spaces to create neighbourhoods people want to live in. 
“New housing in the city must also meet the sustainability challenge head-on if we are serious about meeting our zero-carbon ambitions by 2038, and these two development areas will be an exemplar for future development in the city.”

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