Ministerial group begins casino replacement talks

The first meeting took place today of the Regeneration of East Manchester Ministerial Group to help Manchester City Council and its partners "identify and develop a range of regeneration alternatives" to the regional casino-led regeneration of East Manchester.

The group, chaired by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, was established following the Government's decision not to proceed with a regional casino and includes the Secretaries of State from eight Government departments as well as Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, and Bryan Gray, chairman of the North West Development Agency.

Its aim is to develop a shared goal for the regeneration of East Manchester and replicate an equivalent number of jobs as the regional casino would have delivered, in line with the conclusions of the Communities & Local Government Review of Alternative Approaches to regional casino-led regeneration published on 26 February.

Blears said: "This group will help Manchester City Council and its partners to drive forward new jobs, more skills and better transport for our communities. The Government is fully committed to continue the successful regeneration of Manchester well into the future."

Specific projects that the group will consider and drive forward are

  • The development of Sportcity by unlocking development land and the potential for new jobs through new capital projects
  • The potential to transform rail capacity in Manchester and across the North by investigating the opportunity for capacity improvements
  • A study into the demand for higher and further education in Manchester
  • A Multi-Area Agreement to be signed this summer to boost jobs, transport, investment and housing through greater co-operation between Greater Manchester partners.

Membership of the group includes:

  • Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears
  • Culture Media and Sport Secretary, Andy Burnham
  • Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary, John Denham
  • Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly
  • Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell
  • Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Secretary, John Hutton
  • Health Secretary, Alan Johnson
  • Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council
  • Bryan Gray, chairman of the North West Development Agency

The group will report progress on the strategic package to the Cabinet.

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