Framework for Manchester’s Oxford Road area due in autumn

A new masterplan, setting a strategic development framework for an area covering 595 acres around Oxford Road, south of Manchester city centre, will be published in the next few months.

The plan was commissioned by the new Oxford Road Partnership, made up of Manchester City Council, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, with support from the North West Development Agency.

Professor Alan Gilbert, president and vice chancellor of the University of Manchester, has been appointed chairman of the board and it is anticipated that a chief executive will be in post by the start of 2008.

A range of consultants were used to draft specific aspects of the framework, along with Manchester City Council and its partners. The masterplan will be published in the autumn, following consultation.

A spokeswoman for the Oxford Road Partnership said: "The area covered by the framework stretches from St Peter's Square in the north to Whitworth Park in the south and takes in areas bounded by Cambridge Street to the west and Upper Brook Street to the east. In the city centre the framework will incorporate the plans for Ask Development's Central Spine off Whitworth Street West and the Southern Gateway.

"The framework has been partly prompted by the huge investment programmes currently being undertaken by the universities and the hospital trust and a need for these programmes to connect and deliver maximum value for the city as a whole. Work undertaken by Manchester City Council last year also revealed that this part of the city is the most significant in terms of future economic growth."

The framework will also address a range of related issues – transport, environment, culture, retail and linkage to surrounding areas of deprivation – that are seen as vital to the future of the area.

The merged University of Manchester has already embarked on a massive restructuring of its estate. Investment in new buildings is well underway including the large three-pronged Alan Turing Building designed by architects Sheppard Robson on Upper Brook Street, named after the mathematician and founder of computer science, and which houses the School of Mathematics, the Photon Sciences Institute and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

Further upheaval in the area will be caused when the large BBC offices on Oxford Road are vacated in the next two years as part of the relocation of five departments to Peel Holding's Media City UK at Salford Quays.

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