Oxford Road

Development wave planned for Manchester City South

Major new sites will be brought to market to stimulate growth across 600 acres of Manchester's main university district under plans by a new agency.

Surplus land and buildings in London Road, Aytoun Street, Hathersage Road and Oxford Road will be identified and released for redevelopment according to the objectives outlined by the Manchester City South Partnership.

The Manchester City South Partnership is made up of Manchester City Council, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust and the North West Development Agency.

Other targets in the agency's 32-page framework include:

  • A Bus Rapid Transit System along Oxford Road as part of Greater Manchester's proposed Transport Innovation Fund expenditure
  • Investment in modern and innovative design of public space
  • Improving the accessibility of Oxford Road Station
  • To increase the number of spin-out companies from the University of Manchester to 350 from the current 100
  • Manchester Metropolitan University will increase numbers of students from the most deprived postcode areas and non-traditional backgrounds

Property objectives are shared between residential and commercial, the report said: "…there is considerable scope for physical development within the area. Ensuring that this realises the greatest employment opportunities and economic growth for the wider area will require a strategic approach to providing residential and commercial development.

"Delivering high quality living accommodation in the area will attract employers, but equally providing employment will generate demand for homes."

The partnership will discourage sole residential development, preferring to see it as part of a mixed-use, commercial-led scheme, and includes family homes in its priorities. It will sit between developers and the council, vetting all future proposals for their potential to drive economic growth in the knowledge economy.

The report continued: "The Partnership will pursue an acquisition strategy to safeguard its objectives but will also provide a mechanism for guiding landowners and developers through planning processes."

Ask's Central Spine is already on site and the council-led, multi-owned Great Jackson Street plans have planning consent.

The next major site to be unlocked is likely to be that currently occupied by the BBC, which moves to Media City in late 2010. The report said this "presents an opportunity to radically improve connections to the east and between the university campuses. Incorporating land at Charles Street to the north and marrying adjacent ownerships would provide more than a million sq ft for future development. A strong strategic case and clear development brief are required to maximise the economy and employment potential of this site."

The 600-acre City South area generates an estimated turnover of £3.2bn annually: £500m in health, £900m in education, £272m in creative and media and £1.53bn in other sectors. The framework aims to create 34,000 new jobs in the area by 2015.

The partnership is chaired by Professor Alan Gilbert, president and vice chancellor of the University of Manchester.

To download a copy of the report go to the Resource Library.

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