East Manchester chief Smith announces multi-million plans

Michael Hunt

Chief executive Eddie Smith of urban regeneration company New East Manchester has today announced the area will see major projects starting during 2009 despite the downturn in the national economy.

Work on the £31.5m East Manchester Academy was sited as one of the major projects to get underway as well as an extension to Greater Manchester's Metrolink tram system.

Smith said: "The Academy will be a centre of excellence for everything relating to the built environment, ranging from city and community planning, development design and construction, to the supply of services such as transport, building services, energy, ICT, maintenance and environmental services. It will also provide a new District Library for the whole community of the wider east Manchester area.

"Construction work will also start this year on extending Greater Manchester's Metrolink tram system, including investment of more than £200m on two new lines through east Manchester, linking key sites including Sportcity with Manchester Piccadilly.

"One of the new east Manchester lines will follow the Oldham-Rochdale rail line and will bring trams to the state-of-the-art station already built at Central Park by spring 2011, extending to Oldham Mumps by autumn 2011 and to Rochdale by spring 2012. The other line will run from Manchester Piccadilly to Droylsden in Tameside via Sportcity. It is planned to open in spring 2012.

"Exciting developments at Sportcity are also on the cards, with proposals being announced in spring/summer 2009 for development of the site originally intended for the regional casino as well as for the wider area. The scale of the development planned is anticipated to be very significant, with investment of hundreds of millions of pounds, bringing the potential for thousands of new jobs."

Smith also highlighted the following schemes:

  • The new £16m Greggs North West head quarters and bakery in Openshaw is expected to be fully operational by March, reinforcing the security of 300 east Manchester jobs
  • Work on the new £40m Openshaw district centre, with a Morrisons supermarket, shops, offices and a new health and fitness centre will also be starting in early summer, expecting to create 750 new jobs
  • Manchester Settlement's new £2.2m community centre and the new Roundhouse also should open nearby this year

"These are just some of the developments starting or progressing during 2009, which demonstrate that regeneration in east Manchester continues despite the challenges of the world's economic problems," Smith added.

"In addition to supporting and promoting new developments, the New East Manchester team will continue to work with local people to help improve their employment prospects and earning potential and with local businesses to help them survive the economic downturn and thrive in the longer term."

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