Work starts on Irwell bridge

The latest phase of the £72m Irwell River Park project will create a link between Spinningfields and English Cities Fund's redevelopment of the Chapel Street area.

The £1.8m footbridge will launch from the Leftbank restaurant, residential and riverside element of Spinningfields in Manchester, cross the River Irwell, before connecting to the Mark Addy pub on Stanley Street in Salford.

The bridge, which is the third of five new proposed connections across the Irwell, is expected to be completed in February 2012.

The bridge was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, lead developer Allied London, and Salford City Council.

Cllr John Merry, leader of Salford City Council, said: "This bridge is another step towards unlocking the untapped economic potential in this area. Salford Central is being transformed as we focus on bringing further jobs and opportunities to the city and region.

"This bridge improves our links to the award winning Spinningfields development and provides the platform to further develop much needed business and commercial space in New Bailey.

"It is also another step towards achieving our vision for Irwell River Park, as it further enhances Salford's historic waterways, which are currently being transformed thanks to the Salford City Council staff working on the Irwell River Park team. This work will further improve the links along the water, linking this development along a 3km stretch of the Irwell down to Media City UK at Salford Quays."

English Cities Fund, a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal & General and the Homes & Communities Agency, plans a £650m scheme delivering more than 2m sq ft of commercial space and residential and hotels.

Salford City Council submitted a compulsory purchase order to buy areas of land for the redevelopment of the Chapel Street area in February.

The council said Stanley Street will benefit from improvements including new lighting and paving, creating a new riverside routeway that will link across New Bailey Street, towards Chapel Wharf.

The council added that the New Bailey development will also establish an onward link to the revitalised Salford Central train station.

The Irwell River Park project is being led by Salford City Council, in partnership with Manchester City Council, Trafford Council and the North West Development Agency.

The council told Place the project still faces a shortfall of £27m for it to be fully realised after £45m was secured from the European Regional Development Fund, NWDA, HCA, Salford City Council, Manchester City Council, Trafford Council, and private sector partners.

Central Salford, an urban regeneration company, was previously leading the project but was wound up in March following withdrawal of funding from the NWDA and HCA.

The project aims to transform the 690-acre area running 8km along the course of the River Irwell, from Salford Quays through Ordsall and Castlefield, Chapel Wharf, off Chapel Street, and Manchester city centre onto The Meadows, in Broughton, and Salford University.

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