Retail injection for city centre

Around 800,000 sq ft of new city centre retail and more tall buildings are among proposals in Manchester's core strategy, due to be adopted in the coming weeks.

The planning blueprint for the next 15 years is aimed, the council said, at 'cementing Manchester as one of the world's leading cities.'

The plan inevitably confirms the role of Eastlands, Central Park and Airport City as vital to economic development.

The council said: "A focus for visitors, the city centre will expand its commercial strengths through around 75,000 sq m of new retail space, incorporating a variety of high-quality accommodation types and sizes, for mixed retail, leisure, entertainment and tourism use."

While no specific sites for this retail increase are identified in the core strategy, the council's expectation is that a number of opportunities will emerge during the lifetime of the plan – particularly opportunities to expand the current core retail area, but also other locations within the city centre where appropriate.

There is also scope for 'a future of tall buildings that contribute positively to the city centre and that add to the distinctive character of the Manchester skyline'.

Commercial development is planned for fringe areas around the core such as Hulme and Ancoats, Castlefield, the Oxford Road Corridor and Piccadilly.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Manchester has not been immune from the effects of the recession and investment in the city is vital to make sure our growing number of residents continue to enjoy an improving quality of life. Each aspect of this strategy allows us to look ahead and plan how the city will continue to thrive in the coming years."

In the residential sector, the city centre and its environs to the north and east will be the focus for new home building, with an estimated 60,000 new homes scheduled to be built over the next 15 years.

Leese added: "We want to encourage a shift back to old fashioned neighbourhoods where entire families can live their lives. The key is sustainability – making sure that each area fully caters for the needs of residents and that affordable housing is available, so that people in different circumstances can all find a home."

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