Transport continued to dominate discussions during the second day of MIPIM in Cannes, as Jon Lamonte, chief executive of Transport for Greater Manchester, outlined his vision for a ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’ network.
While Wednesday also saw Chancellor George Osborne commit £60m in his Budget to developing a high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds, known as HS3, Lamonte took to the Manchester stand to promote the web of rail links between the Northern cities of Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
Speaking to Place North West, Lamonte said: “We need better links from Liverpool across the whole of the North. The high-speed line from Manchester to Leeds, is just the first part, but then we need to go further. It won’t all be high-speed rail because of the close geography, but it will be improved.”
On the Manchester stand, Lamonte laid out Manchester’s Piccadilly station as “the heart of Northern Powerhouse Rail network”.
Manchester City Council and TfGM have been working on large-scale plans for the area around Piccadilly station for a number of years, to capitalise on the eventual arrival of HS2. The strategic regeneration framework designed by Bennetts Associates Architects for the 150-acre site was approved in September 2013.
Lamonte said: “Piccadilly is arguably the best connected real estate in the UK, and with the delivery of HS2 would present a once in a century opportunity.”
Lamonte said that while there was a Government commitment to turn Piccadilly station into “a multi-modal transport hub”, detailed plans were yet to be defined, and the level of financial backing the project could expect from the Government was unconfirmed.
The first phase of the framework to come forward is Mayfield, a 20-acre site next to the train station. A list of six potential development partners has been drawn up, made up of Argent, Ask Real Estate with Patrizia, Goodman, Muse Developments, U+I Group, formerly known as Development Securities, and Urban & Civic. The preferred developer will be selected in July 2016.
Later phases outlined by Lamonte, and included in the strategic framework, was 14m sq ft of mixed-use space at Piccadilly Central, and homes around East Village, with a new public park connecting Mayfield and a remediated Medlock.