MIPIM 2015 NOMA Angel Square aerial

Manchester sets out city centre strategy to 2018

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

A strategic plan for the next three years of development in Manchester city centre is to be discussed at the city council’s executive meeting on Wednesday, before being put out to public consultation.

The vision for the city centre until 2018 looks to build on the successes of the previous 2009/12 strategy, with a goal for the city centre to be “a place to invest, to work, to live, to shop, to enjoy, that brings people together and a place that is easy to travel to for leisure or employment, and to get around once there”.

According to the draft strategy, “the vision is of Manchester as a world class city as competitive as the best international cities across the globe.”

The strategy looks to root Manchester’s position as the main economic hub in the region, and help rebalance the economic dominance of London and the South East through major investment, to support growth of the city and the city region.

The document celebrates achievements since 2009, including the completion of the first phase of the NOMA development, the delivery of HOME, and the refurbishment of the Town Hall complex and enhancement of Central Library and St Peter’s Square.

The strategic plan goes on to outline the position and priorities for each of the city centre neighbourhoods, and the key infrastructure investments which are critical to the success of the city centre.

The neighbourhoods are:

  • NOMA
  • St Johns (former ITV site)
  • Spinningfields
  • First Street
  • The Corridor Manchester
  • Aytoun Campus
  • Central Business District
  • Piccadilly
  • Mayfield
  • Medieval Quarter
  • Great Jackson Street
  • Salford Central and Greengate
  • Water Street
  • Irwell River Park
  • Retail Core
  • Castlefield
  • Northern Quarter
  • Chinatown
  • The Village

Key infrastructure investments will focus on:

  • Transport
  • Digital development
  • Waterways

According to the council, the population of the city centre has trebled in the last decade to almost 25,000 people, and more than 140,000 people work in the city centre, with further increases expected over the next five years.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The city centre is the beating heart of Manchester’s economy, and so it requires a considered strategy that provides the framework to support our objectives. To do this we must be ambitious and position ourselves as a global city to attract major national and international investment – securing long-term growth and employment.

“Of course, the other side of this strategy is ensuring that the thousands of people who live in the city centre are provided for with attractive neighbourhoods and good quality, sustainable housing and open public spaces – with the infrastructure in place to make travel into and across the city centre as easy as possible.”

Click here to view the full draft strategy

Your Comments

These strategies are not worth the paper they’re written on being so broad-brush as to be practically meaningless, at least as far as most ordinary people are concerned. Place making has always been secondary to making money in Manchester, rather than being seen as the foundation of prosperity as is the case for the sort of international cities Manchester would wish to compete with.

By Paper exercise

Couldn’t agree more about place making being excessively trumped by short term profit in Manchester – surprised its been so accepted for so long.

“These strategies”, however, can be useful in shifting the emphasis of development, and I would hope the development of this one will reflect an acknowledgement of the “quantity over quality” approach that has, frankly, run rampant in and around the city centre in the last 10 years or so. I think the battle of the city becoming overall ugly has already been lost; let’s try not make it any worse

By mancboi

The strategy seems to acknowledge the need for more public space and for opening up rivers and canals as ‘lungs’ for the city. It begins by talking about the need for a place to be distinctive; hopefully enhancing the sense of place is coming more to the fore.

By Paul Blackburn

Paper exercise and mancboi are correct in their assumptions., and in a way it may be a good thing – look at the famous 1945 Plan – thank God that was never realised. Manchester’s ‘regeneration’ has been in disastrous short bold spurts, since the late 50’s and this will be too, un co ordinated and uncomplimentary in both design and execution like so much of recent times. Public Consultation is laughable – until you break the mind set of the folk who gush over this sort of thing, and make them realise it’s Emperor’s New Clothes time again, nothing will change for the better. Development and proper regeneration is like delicate surgery – re connecting nerves and fibres delicately and allowing the body the recover, respond and re- map itself. Wholesale broad brush zoning ( a totally un British concept that has never worked in the culture of urbanisation in the UK) is simple resulting in a Frankenstein’s monster not a life enhancing/saving operation. No matter, it will all end up in the hands of the city councils favourite Dictators and chosen closed shop architects de jour . Anyone know how much we paid EDAW for the post ’96 dog’s breakfast ‘masterplan’. Manchester wasn’t built on master plans but individuals with vision, and accretion over time that gives the character and palimpsest of a true settlement of worth. That can’t be bought or achieved overnight like this in another ‘great spurt’!

By Jeremiah

As the saying goes “you cant polish a turd” so wanting to make Manchester into a world class city is going to take a lot more than what is written in a strategy! The walk from Piccadilly station to the gardens is the main brunt, its embarrassing and not the best introduction to Manchester. And as for open spaces, they need to stop putting buildings on green areas – Spinningfields has now turned into a souless wind tunnel thanks to the new buildings

By MancWatcher

Subscribe to our newsletter