Manchester pushes back on Piccadilly HS2 design

The city council has insisted Gateway House will be demolished while pushing back on HS2’s plans to build two multi-storey car parks as part of an overhaul of Piccadilly railway station to accommodate the high-speed rail line.

Piccadilly Station and its surrounds are due to be comprehensively redeveloped as part of the £52bn project, with a strategic regeneration framework for the area to include a full overhaul of the railway station itself, close to 2.9m sq ft of office space, 261,000 sq ft of retail space, up to 5,000 apartments, and 250 hotel rooms.

Much of the development is to be to the north of the station, in areas designated as East Village, Piccadilly North, Piccadilly Central, and Piccadilly Heights.

However, city council and HS2 remain in disagreement over a series of key elements.

One of these is at Gateway House, otherwise known as the “Lazy S” building on Piccadilly Approach, which is owned by LaSalle Investment Management. The 1960s building was refurbished two years ago with aparthotel operator Staycity signing a 25-year lease, while ground-floor tenants include the Piccadilly Tap.

However, the council has insisted the building will need to be demolished to maximise development opportunities around the station and to properly connect an overhauled railway hub with the wider city centre.

In a formal response to HS2 and the Department for Transport, the city council said it will “seek agreement with HS2 that Gateway House will be removed as part of the station delivery”.

The city council has also pushed back against HS2’s plans for two multi-storey car parks next to the overhauled station. Responding, the council said: “The size, location and access of the proposed multi-storey car parks are not in accordance with the approved Piccadilly SRF and are not commensurate with the approach taken with other key city centre transport hubs, for example at London Euston”.

The council said that adding multi-storey car parks would not be in line with its ongoing transport strategy which is looking to minimise car trips into the city centre.

At Manchester Airport, a new station is being planned in Hale Barns, taking in a plot of land off J6 of the M56.

Delivery of this station would necessitate the demolition of the existing Marriott Hotel off the J6 roundabout while a large plot of farmland off Shay Lane and Roaring Gate Lane is also to be built on under HS2’s initial plans.

Here, the council has called for a “fully integrated station solution” and that the impact on “surrounding communities and environment is minimised and fully mitigated”.

HS2 needs “to be fair and consistent in their funding strategy” for the airport station, bringing it in line with other HS2 airport stations, said the council, adding: “A local funding contribution can only be considered in the context of a fair and consistent approach”.

The key bone of contention, not mentioned in the council’s response, remains the integration between Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2.

HS2’s preference for an overground station remains but city leaders including Mayor Andy Burnham and council chief executive Joanne Roney have insisted an underground solution is the way forward, linking HS2 to the local rail network, Metrolink, and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The Government has also announced a review into the high-speed rail line looking into the benefits and impacts of HS2; its affordability and efficiency; its deliverability; and its scope and phasing, particularly in relationship to Northern Powerhouse Rail.

This will be delivered in the autumn.

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“The council said that adding multi-storey car parks would not be in line with its ongoing transport strategy which is looking to minimise car trips into the city centre.”

If only this strategy was replicated at other nearby sites… *ahem* Central Retail Park.

By Active Travel Trev

East Village? There never was a Village there and there never will be. Piccadilly this, Piccadilly that. Piccadilly is in London don’t you know? I suppose it is right that PLACES with no ownership, no history and no identity: articifical fantasy communities, fantasy villages, fantasy neighborhoods can only be given fantasy names, can they not?

By James Yates

And while you are at it: build a rail tunnel to link with the Victoria – Salford Central line, and reopen the Woodhead Tunnel Link to Barnsley, South Humberside and, last but not least, Sheffield S.Yorks and N. Notts. Get your shovels out! Where’s the money to come from, I hear you scream? Sell regional government bonds 30 years maturity at one per cent interest. They’ll sell like hot cross buns.

By James Yates

Why quote the project cost at £52bn when HS2 themselves have already admitted it will be at least £85bn. The govt are clearly looking for an excuse to cancel, and rightly so!

By Anonymous

HS3 please. 2 hrs to London is fine and I much rather be travelling to Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield via quicker journeys on better trains.


I quite like the Lazy S now that it has been cleaned up. On the basis they are knocking down at least one multi storey car park, I don’t see what the problem is.


Funnily enough, I don’t like the sound of all the plans for demolition, especially as the whole area has not too long since been redeveloped.

By Warren Hughes

Disagree about gateway House. Regardless of refurbishment it’s a claustrophobic bottleneck and bad first impression for Manchester. Needs demolishing.

By Anonymous

Why do we have an obsession with terminal stations in the UK? The HS station needs to be in a north-south tunnel underneath the present station to allow maximum operational efficiency and the best rail access from all directions. Go and look at many European cities with modern rail infrastructures. Brussels, Berlin, F’furt, Antwerp…. To name just a few.

By Maurice Hopper

I’d hold on a bit…..will HS2 get cancelled?? Perhaps not. There is a school of thought that this ‘Review’ is only about winning votes in the next General Election for those Tory seats where HS2 goes through. They dont want it. Put it under Review, win their votes…then build it. Sounds like a Boris trick to me. Alternatively let Manchester and Leeds fight each other by offering one, not both lines….divide and……
Maurice, Paris is another city with high speed rail underground.

By Anonymous

Manchester City Council should be pushing for Victoria to be made into a “through” superstation as in Berlin, with all lines connecting at one point, getting rid of the terminal part of Piccadilly. Piccadilly faces southeast. The wrong way. Victoria is east-west, ideal for a NPR rail line, and bringing in HS2 on the same line from between Liverpool and Manchester, eliminating that over-long tunnel.

The airport already has a station with no need to build another. Then that ‘S’ shaped HS2 line through Cheshire countryside around Tatton, slowing down high-speed trains, can be eliminated,

Piccadilly can then be demolished leaving only the through platforms.

By John

‘HS2 needs “to be fair and consistent in their funding strategy”’

This said without a hint of irony by Manchester authorities, recipient of a gold plated, contorted dedicated tunelled line, and billions of additional transport spend, while Liverpool receives nothing.

I agree that HS2 need to be fair and consistent. That’s why the project needs to be cancelled entirely, disbanded and examined in a public inquiry.

By Jono

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