Heron House 5plus
A revamped Heron House is to go before the GMCA this Friday

GMCA to rubber-stamp film school

Funding for the International Screen School Manchester and a Cyber Innovation Hub to be developed at Heron House are among the key items to go before the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s meeting on Friday.

A report from Sir Richard Leese, who holds the portfolio for business and the economy, details four schemes which were last week recommended for GMCA approval by the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership. The report asks that both business cases are approved, the process of grant applications progressed and a main contractor appointed to build ISSM.

The funding comes from the third round of the Local Growth Fund allocation, which committed £130m to Greater Manchester projects. Along with £40m for transport and £50m for skills transfer, this included £5m for cyber security and £20m for two key science projects – the University of Manchester’s Pankhurst Centre and ISSM, which was unveiled in February with film director Danny Boyle as frontman.

The £35m film school is to be constructed at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Oxford Road campus, with the university as lead partner. The 50,000 sq ft facility will house studios, labs, teaching space and business incubation units and is due to be operational by mid-2021. MMU is seeking £14.9m from the Single Pot, which the Growth Fund is part of, and will contribute £20m itself.

Manchester City Council is asking for £5m to develop 12,000 sq ft at Heron House on Albert Square as a Cyber Innovation Hub. This is the product of discussions with government that have taken place as to Manchester’s role in the £1.9bn National Cyber Security strategy.

The GMCA report states that the region’s resilience to cyber security attacks will be enhanced by developing a hub that will house testing space and be used by public sector partners and start-up businesses in the sector, along with providing a base for agencies based in London to become established in the North.

The 96,000 sq ft building is owned by the council, and managed by Bruntwood. Earlier this year, a planning application for a refurbishment project led by 5plus was submitted.

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