Preparation starts on Eastlands land

Remediation work on a 17 acre site originally intended for a regional casino in east Manchester has got underway.

Urban regeneration company New East Manchester said remediation specialists Buckingham Group Contracting is undertaking site preparation on the land located next to Manchester City FC's City of Manchester stadium.

Work includes capping disused mine shafts from the former Bradford colliery and is expected to take seven months to complete.

The project has been funded by the Homes & Communities Agency, which contributed £2.74m, Manchester City Council, £1.37m, the Northwest European Regional Development Fund, £3.59m, and North West Development Agency, £450,000.

NEM said the scheme will make the land ready for future development and builds on other investment by the four funding partners to support the continued development of Eastlands' sporting, leisure and economic infrastructure. Construction is well underway on the new national indoor BMX centre, being carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine, and a network of new pedestrian and cycle links to the surrounding area.

The NWDA added that the plot is key for future private-sector led investment.

Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester, said: "This is a crucial step towards bringing this strategically important piece of land back into use. When the right developer is found we want to be in a position to be ready to move quickly and deliver a scheme that will make Eastlands a leading international leisure and sporting destination. Not only do we want to create a scheme that will attract significant visitors to east Manchester and bring economic benefits to the whole North West region, but we also remain committed to creating employment opportunities for local people."

The Eastlands destination was originally built to host the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Facilities include the original stadium, now home to MCFC, Manchester Regional Arena, National Squash Centre, Tennis Centre, English Institute of Sport, and the Manchester Velodrome.

Construction of the £24m national indoor BMX centre is expected to be complete in 2011.

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