Beswick Community Campus

Masterplan to transform Beswick approved

David McCourt

Proposals for a 16-acre community campus in East Manchester were passed by the council on Wednesday.

The project, which aims to create new leisure, education and employment opportunities, was recently the subject of a six-week long consultation giving residents and other interested parties the chance to learn more about the plans and have their say.

The Beswick Project Masterplan is expected to create almost 200 jobs and attract an estimated 2,500 visitors a day to the area in Beswick and Openshaw West.

The draft masterplan aims to build on and continue the momentum established by recent investment in East Manchester, including the Beswick Library and East Manchester Academy, new housing developments and the City Football Academy – Manchester City's new youth development complex and first-team training facility, which opens in 2013.

The project is led by Manchester City Council and supported by Manchester City Football Club amongst other organisations.

Proposed elements include a new leisure centre with a public swimming pool and a multi-court space, which expected to be able to attract up to 600 people a day, and create around 25 full and part-time jobs.

Also planned is Connell Sixth Form College, a 600-place college for 16 to 19-year-olds to meet growing demand for sixth form places in the area and provide community-learning opportunities.

Funding for the college, which will be run by the Bright Futures Education Trust, has been approved by the government and will take students from September 2013 before moving to a purpose-built facility in September 2014.

A sports research institute is also planned providing a world-class research and diagnostic facility supporting high performing athletes across a range of sports.

Work carried out to date has highlighted that many academic, health and sports-related organisations based in the city see the benefits of such an institute. Manchester City, Sport England, and other professional sports bodies back the proposal.

Changes to the road layout, public realm and car parking infrastructure will join the different facilities into one 'campus' either side of Alan Turing Way, at the junction with Grey Mare Lane.

Cllr Jim Battle, deputy council leader, said: "These are exciting proposals from which the community will see real benefits. We look forward to sharing the details with residents and other interested parties."

Planning applications for the various elements of the project, such as the college and swimming pool, will be submitted before the end of this year.

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