Arena lined up as Manchester updates Eastlands masterplan
Manchester City Council’s executive will this week consider a proposal to refresh the regeneration framework for Eastlands, with officials citing a need for major development at the Etihad campus along with more commercial development and affordable housing in other areas.
The ERF covers the area from Great Ancoats Street up to and beyond the Etihad campus and was refreshed as recently as 2017. However, the council said that such has been the pace of change and increased interest in the area, with 15 years of employment growth set to be delivered in half that expected timeframe, a further update is required. Manchester’s executive meets on Wednesday to consider the report.
The most notable item included is that the potential for a 20,000-plus capacity indoor arena to be developed at the Etihad campus. The report states that “international investors and operators see Manchester as one of the few cities in Europe with the ability to successfully host more than one large arena”.
These investors, it said, are evaluating locations and developing business case proposals head of revealing detailed proposals later this year – a development that could bring with it hotel and further leisure uses.
As well as cashing on the concert market, the development of such a flexible indoor space would give the city more weight in bidding for a range of sporting events, which would sit well with the long-term plan to get sporting governing bodies to locate at the campus – the Rugby Football League’s move being a case in point.
The report also outlines how the city is continuing to work with Manchester Metropolitan University and other partners to develop the Manchester Institute for Sport, a higher education institution that would be the main element of a sports-tech cluster the council hopes to see flourish in the area. Up to 1,000 student bed spaces could be developed close to the Institute, the report said.
With Ancoats developments such as Express Building and Stubbs Mills proving successful, the city is also keen to set a policy context where planning will support the development of commercial development heading eastwards: New Islington and Holt Town are described as being places where new opportunities for commercial floorspace should be explored, along with Ancoats itself: the Central Retail Park site on Great Ancoats Street is described as “the most significant development opportunity”.
The report also describes MXM, a development of up to 200,000 sq ft of flexible workspace being advanced by General Projects in the Pollard Street area.
In terms of housing, the ambition to take further the joint working with the Abu Dhabi United Group is obvious and the area represents a clear opportunity to bring forward a high volume of the affordable homes that Manchester requires. Riverpark Road, Beswick, New Islington and Miles Platting are all mapped out as areas prime for the development of new affordable housing.
The boundary of the framework area remains the same, with two additions: the 19.7-acre Riverpark Trading Estate, formerly Manchester Abattoir, a site in single ownership where an outline consent has recently lapsed, and the Eccleshall Street site, bound by Ashton New Road, the Ashton Canal, Clayton Lane and Crabtree Lane – the council has significant ownerships here and is adding the area into the Clayton Housing Affordability Zone.