Factory Arts Centre

St John’s masterplan returns for final sign-off

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The proposed regeneration of a large part of Manchester city centre has reached a key stage, as two masterplans are set to receive final council endorsement, covering St John’s, the Factory, the Museum of Science & Industry, Upper and Lower Campfield Markets, and Water Street.

Manchester City Council’s executive will meet on Wednesday 11 January to consider the final version of a revised regeneration framework for St John’s, the 13-acre former ITV Granada site being redeveloped by Allied London and the council into a £1bn neighbourhood, which includes the £110m Factory arts centre.

While a first masterplan for St John’s was approved in 2014, last year it was extended along Liverpool Road, and absorbed the Museum of Science & Industry complex, Upper Campfield Market, Lower Campfield Market and Castlefield House.

The council is finalising lease terms with Allied London for the grade two-listed Campfield Markets. Plans for the buildings include event spaces, flexible work areas, and a food hall.

A report to the executive also includes details of the timeline and funding process for the £110m Factory, the arts centre proposed within St John’s and due to go before the council’s planning committee later this week.

The council has been asked to approve an increase in budget for the Factory of £4.45m, for land acquisitions and public realm costs associated with the Factory and wider site, funded by capital receipts.

The Factory is set to be largely Government funded, with a £78m grant in the process of being finalised by the Treasury. Manchester City Council will put in £30m, and is applying for a £7m grant from the Arts Council. Around £5m is being raised from charitable donations.

The venue is set to become the permanent home of the bi-annual Manchester International Festival, and a grant of £141,000 is being approved to MIF to bring forward revisions to its organisational structure.

MIF will lease the Factory for a period of 30 years on a peppercorn rent. An opening date of 2020 is being targeted.

Alongside the St John’s regeneration framework, the executive is considering updated proposals for a plot on Water Street, for use as “a natural extension to Castlefield and St John’s”.

The 4.6-acre plot is bounded by Water Street, Dawson Street, and River Medlock, and is largely owned by the council after it acquired the land from storage company Big Yellow. Big Yellow has retained a 0.8-acre slice of land for a storage facility, while the council has earmarked the rest for up to 900 homes, alongside 750 parking spaces to service the Factory and St John’s.

A development partner is being sought for the site, but given its location next to St John’s it could be likely that Allied London will deliver homes on the plot as part of a future expansion.

Water Street 5plus

5plus Architects advised the council on the Water Street regeneration framework

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More goodies to be showered on Manchester.

So much for Liverpool being the designated cultural capital of the north.

By Gillespie

There is no such thing as a ‘Designated Cultural Capital’, of the North or of anywhere else!

If the UK government wants to spend some money in the North-West, it makes much more sense for this to be in Manchester. Bigger, better connected, and less cultural assets (per head, at least) than Liverpool.

I say this as a proud scouser.

By Rooney

Not a reason to fire up Liverpool-Manchester rivalry..BOTH great places!

By Schwyz

But a drop in the ocean compared to the goodies showered on Liverpool. Liverpool can thank the government for virtually every single cultural attraction at Albert Dock. Also government largess is responsible for subsidising (to a far greater degree than anywhere but London) and recently bailing out NML.

By Ocean

Ha ha the monstrous Manchester skyline Liverpool will never has to worry about our ugly sister down the M62 .
Manchester reminds me of Blackfool without the waterfront .
Your should see what Liverpool is building this year.

By Livercool

@Gillepie Liverpool has once again just been crowned best place to visit and stay in 2017 along with the best port of call for as a cruise destination this really is no surprise to be honest and can see why RIBA decided to relocate here from London.
Capital Of Culture in Liverpool was the most successful one ever , you will never have what Liverpool has got, Ever.

By Shane

@Gillespie your reality is not Liverpool reality.

By Shane

New year, same old Liverpool-Manchester shite in the comments thread…

By Dennis Nails

Both cities are iconic. Both skylines are amazing, or will be. Stop this tripe and read the article on here about how the North West grew better than any other region recently. They are so close,what does it matter if Manchester gets a new concert hall or Liverpool a new art gallery? That is like someone in Essex, whinging because they have to go to Shoreditch to watch a play,or look at an exhibition.

By Elephant

What skyline? Manchester has a lot going for it… a skyline isn’t one of them!

By Rooney

Best skyline outside of London, no contest.


Rooney your point confirms what I just said. Stand on Chapel street Salford and then tell me Manchester doesn’t have a skyline and it is improving daily.

By Elephant

Manchester is not an iconic city that’s a fact !
It just looks like Sheffield/Leeds

By Shane

I think the concept of a ‘skyline’ only really applies to waterfront views. I’m not sure a half-baked image visible only from Chapel Street will ever make the postcards. Maybe if one day more is made of the Irwell.

Is this tall enough to add to a future skyline for Manchester anyway?

By Rooney

I refuse to turn this into a ball swinging exercise between Manchester and Liverpool.Cities are not only iconic because of what they look like,but by what they have achieved. In that respect Manchester exceeds everyone,including London.

By Elephant

Liverpool. A ppor man’s Leeds.

By Tabby

As a Liverpudlian I ask you to please ignore Shane and Rooney, Embarrassing.

By Prudence

I must of touched a nerve, the mancs are piling in en-masse.

From all the government documents I remember seeing previously, as part of the wider plans for the north, Liverpool was to at least be allowed a specialism in culture and tourism. That didn’t spell out much of a future for the city, but it was better than nothing.

I assume if half the office developments being planned for Manchester were suddenly relocated to the Liverpool City Region, to balance out the fact this strategy is obviously all hot air, Mancunians would be A-OK with this? No, didn’t think so!

As it is, (and as per usual) Manchester is in full grab grab grab mode, and sod any ideas of fairness or equitability.

By Gillespie

Don’t bring Leeds Town into this equation.

By Al Yates

Gillespie – ‘grab grab grab’ what on earth are you talking about? Manchester has been successful at generating demand for employment and delivering the developments. If government is offering a new cultural hub, why on earth would they turn out down and ‘offer’ it to Liverpool.

The point still stands that the city doesn’t have a skyline to speak of. Comparisons of Liverpool with Leeds are bizzare; I’d compare it more with Sheffield or Hull, if anywhere.

By Rooney

Manchester reminds me of Netto.

By Shane

Interesting, but many negative comments; Liverpool will never become a commuter town of Manchester; and if it ever becomes a backwater, then Manchester is finished too. Manchester needs Liverpool more than Liverpool needs Manchester.
Everyone would welcome more jobs (Manchester too) but let’s not forget the already 10,000 hi-tech Bio-science jobs announced this June for Liverpool; or the investment Bill Gates puts into LSTM; or that Liverpool remains the second wealth management city in the nation beating Leeds, Edinburgh, and errr Manchester (significantly)! Even ‘Manchesters’ Co-Op (sorry Rochdale) has its Financial Services based in Skelmersdale (not the Bank HQ); and M&S Financial at Chester, Alliance & Leicester in Bootle. Or the fact the Centre for Cites research puts Liverpool at the centre of the nation’s second science cluster, based upon aerospace, chemicals, bio life and medical sciences, and new vehicle research (JLR have announced major investment in electric vehicles); with Daresbury, Preston, Runcorn, and Warrington surrounding and sharing expertise. Liverpool has headed the entrepreneurial city list for the last two years ( http://www.growthinbusiness.co.uk ). This before we mention CV-Library’s research showing Liverpool’s job growth rate at 45%, or Liverpool Waters, the Knowledge Quarter, the 30 acre Paddington Health science park, the Cruise Terminal expansion, the fact Royal College of Physicians has chosen Liverpool ahead of Manchester and Leeds for its northern HQ, or that Liverpool already hosts several Japanese European headquarters. Also not mentioned is Liverpool’s food industry; not the classy restaurants and the dockside cafe; but an industry that vital to the nation. Five of the Europe’s top container shipping lines are based in Liverpool, one moving its HQ out of London. We all know about lie, lies and statistics; but Liverpool resident earnings overtook those of Manchester before 2010 and have maintained an annual increase. THIS is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t matter that thousands of jobs will be created in Tourism (yippee); and that means more hotels, restaurants, taxis, shops, and city events etc, etc (yippee), all those scientists, researchers, and hi-tech managers and employees will all need houses too.
One must know how a city works before one dismisses it. Wake up, Liverpool is a very different city than it was 5, or 20, or 50 years ago. Long may it succeed,……..and Manchester too, and Warrington, and Blackburn with its 4,000 holes.
Those who seem to want Liverpool to fail, think again, for if it were too; the entire northwest of England would suffer economically.

By Billy

Liverpool isn’t even in the six core cities, Manchester and Leeds are. Liverpool apartments are cheaper, hotels are cheaper and have lower occupancy rates. Fewer people apply to study in Liverpool too. Leeds is the financial capital of the North.

By Nick Price

There are 10 Core Cities, Liverpool being one of them along with all the other fine cities in that group.

By Man on bicycle

@Nick – your reality is not Liverpool’s reality
Leeds is a dump

By Shane

Actually you are wrong Liverpool is a core city, can we stop bashing each others cities it gets really boring https://www.corecities.com/

By Flan

Liverpool isn’t in the same league as Manchester.

But, as many smaller places compared to bigger places, its prettier and better to live – if you have a good job.

We should all welcome this Factory thing as welcome cash from central gov for ‘The North’. It will probably be a bit of a white elephant though.

Lets stop the petty squabbling.

By Rooney

Comments are now closed on this story.

By Paul Unger