Bernstein sets out EZ delivery method

A new commissioning body will be created to choose the development partners for Manchester's enterprise zone, including Airport City and the MediPark at Wythenshawe hospital.

The decision to appoint a new procurement body follows discussions between landowners Manchester Airport Group, University Hospital South Manchester Foundation Trust, Manchester City Council and the other nine local authorities in Greater Manchester.

In its July meeting, Greater Manchester Combined Authority agreed the principles of the new procurement panel and set out the terms for transferring land to the selected developers.

In a report presented to council leaders at the meeting, Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council and head of paid service at GMCA, recommended that 'collaboration arrangements between landowners should be brought back to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for agreement.'

The new commissioning body, led by MAG, will provide planning and development advice and act as a 'land enabling body', Bernstein said. It will co-ordinate phasing of development and set the objectives and milestones for the whole EZ area.

GMCA also agreed to appoint three council chief executives to the procurement panel: Bernstein will represent Manchester, while Oldham's Charlie Parker and Stockport's Eamonn Boylan will jointly represent the remaining nine authorities.

In May, CBRE was appointed to advise on the procurement process, which will be run through the Official Journal of the European Union and is scheduled to begin by the summer's end.

The Greater Manchester Enterprise Zone became operational in April 2012, covering 286 acres of south Manchester. A major mixed-use development is planned across a string of linked sites, chiefly Airport City and a medical business and research park at the hospital. EZ status carries special planning power and tax breaks as well as finance for superfast broadband.

In his report to GMCA, Bernstein wrote: "From a development perspective, it is unlikely that a single developer will undertake all activity across the zone given the diversity of development opportunities. We are therefore likely to see a number of partners, and potentially consortium bids, coming forward to progress development."

On returns to developers, Bernstein set out the terms of the likely deal. He added: "Returns at the development level will flow directly between the landowner and the developer and be proportionate to the development risk taken by each party."

The development partners will receive management fees and joint venture returns, which could rise if they reduce risk and increase land values by identifying end users.

As is usual in public authority development agreements, land ownership will remain with the procuring authorities. Developers will be offered long leasehold interests for the delivery of plots or phases of development.

Bernstein also called for speedy delivery through 'a governance system that engenders co-operation and facilitates rather than hinders or prevents development'.

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Is there not a danger that MAG will just take over here if they are running the commission as well as having interests in it?………..

By A Pilot

bang goes any meaningful development anywhere else in Manchester. Really, an EZ in South Manchester!? surely the area as a whole already benefits from the airport.

By Harry Prince

I agree with harry prince. total joke. this EZ is totally politically motivated by Bernstein. South Manchester is the wealthiest part of Manchester! Quite unbelievable. One area that does need support would be the partington area of trafford

By tdb

re: the above, disagree. This isn’t about the bohemian utopia of South Manchester a la Chorlton and West Didsbury; it’s about Wythenshawe, where places like Benchill are still some of the poorest in the city and probably the whole country – and that’s despite being next to the airport.

By Withy Tree

Wythenshawe will not magically improve just because Swiss executives jet into the airport, or a fat cat motors in from Hale to their new subsidised office building.

By William Prince

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