Strangeways Manchester p.Google Earth

The regeneration project covers more than 320 acres. Credit: Google Earth

Wait for Strangeways prison relocation goes on

Manchester and Salford might have to wait for additional devolved powers if they are to realise their ambition of moving the facility to unlock the maligned area’s regeneration, according to city leaders. 

HMP Manchester, previously known as Strangeways Prison, sits at the heart of a 320-acre regeneration programme from the two city councils. The local authorities want to move the prison and thus enable the transformation of the Strangeways and Cambridge areas. They are currently working with a project team led by Avison Young to develop a 10-year masterplan for the area, which is set to go out to consultation this summer.

But all that could be for nothing if the Ministry of Justice refuses to relocate the prison. Manchester City Council has made repeated requests to the Ministry of Justice to move the prison, but with no success thus far.

Speaking to Place North West, Leader Cllr Bev Craig said the city had made its case for the relocation but that it has limited control beyond that, even armed with a trailblazer devolution deal. 

“All we can do is make our case. The decision [the MoJ] will need to make is where to relocate it to,” she said.

“Devolution has got us to a point when it comes to single settlement but what we are not talking about is the entirety of the public sector. It gives us food for thought for next wave of devolution.” 

Eamonn Boylan, chief executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said the MoJ’s outlook is holding any potential relocation back. 

“The only thing the MoJ is interested in is numbers,” he said. “Nobody is thinking about place. It is difficult to have a sensible conversation [with them]. 

“We have got to continue to push hard to make certain we are getting proper devolved decision making.” 

Despite the lack of MoJ response, Manchester City Council and Salford City Council are pushing forward with their vision. The city councils are engaging with local businesses in the area as part of an audit that Craig says will “help guide the thinking around the principles for development and investment for the area.”

As part of the process, a letter has been sent to businesses in the regeneration area encouraging them to get involved with the regeneration process.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, reflecting on the Strangeways and Cambridge SRF, added that the two local authorities are “committed to getting this right for local businesses and residents”.

He continued: “We’re keen to get a better understanding of these businesses, what their future plans are and current challenges they may face. Following this initial engagement, the findings will then be reported back to the property and regeneration committee, before further public consultation in the future.”

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

That’s a huge area to redevelop but god knows it needs doing. The prison is like a gnarly old tooth, it’s been there forever and will be difficult to remove. But not impossible.

By Ronnie Diggs

The Devo deal has nothing at all to do with the Prison Service, so it’s not clear why GMCA thinks MoJ should care what they think.
Based on the cost of replacing Barlinnie in Glasgow, £4-500 million because MCC wants to free up the site for more flats isn’t going to be a priority for the current or any incoming government.
Complaints about the fitness for purpose of the current prison haven’t got anywhere for years, and arguably the location is more sustainable than putting a new one in a field in the middle of nowhere.

By Norman Stanley Fletcher

Given the crisis in prisons and expectations of running out of spaces by Spring this year i think relocation of this is a pipe dream. Any new prisons will need to add capacity. London has prisons in the center of residential areas, i dont see why this should be a major barrier to regeneration. Manchester is also still not short of space to regenerate, many many scruffy city center sites and those on the periphery that can be the focus for the next 15+years.

By J

it is a historical building. There is no chance of it relocating

By Ronny

They should move it to Barrow on Furness.

By Anonymous

There are plenty of waste lands around Gr. Manchester worth a mickle. Sell the land Strangeways is on and use that money to buy up that waste land and still have money left to build two prisons. But if somebody in London says no that means no. Locals are permitted to vote for city councils because they are powerless. Not a real democracy at all, is it?

By Anonymous

Relocate the prison to Gatley golf course, that would get the nimby’s in a froth.

By Anonymous

Strangeways jail should have been closed dawn decades ago, The MoJ has had many opportunities to find land , The old Burtonwood camp for example.

By Anonymous

Redevelopment, council double talking for pulling down Grade two listed Victorian Architecture (the tower) to build more overpriced concrete and glass buy to let apartment blocks/future Airbnbs, that will sit half empty or half built instead of building affordable housing and other necessary amenities, if they flatten all the counterfeit alley shops on bury new road, plenty of room for redevelopment there without pulling down Strangeways.

By Remember Tommy Ducks

Get the prison moved, demolish the whole industrial site north of the city centre and rebuild it as an extension to the city centre with tens of thousands of homes in skyscrapers, as well as a giant park, offices and all the other amenities a modern city centre needs!


They want to renovate/regenerate the prison, not redevelop it. At least that’s what I’m told. Would make a unique and fantastic hotel/green/event space

By Anonymous

Yeah because a rancid old Victorian prison is just the high quality beautiful architecture that belongs in a city centre. Not. Get rid of the rat infested pile of bricks along with the much of the rest of the rest of the area. There are some gems in the vicinity alright worth saving and keep the tower if there’s anything to be done with it. The rest should be used as landfill and hardcore for new development.

By Anonymous

‘The next wave of devolution’. Yes that…and lots of it.

By Anonymous

If you hated Victorian architecture, you’re in the wrong city and possible the wrong country. Strangeways Prison could offer a fantastic selling point of the city. Shame they demolished the Boddingtons Factory, the combo could have made a legendary stag/hen party designation.

By Anonymous

There’s Victorian architecture and a clapped out old prison. This is the latter. There is plenty of good Victorian architecture in the city and this isn’t it . You need to discriminate and in this case the council is right. Remove and rebuild.

By Anonymous

Yes anonymous we should use a prime location for redevelopment as a hen/stag do site Jesus wept

By Anonymous

Nah think I’ll stick with the history buffs on this one. Keep the prison building, warts n all approach. I’ll take Manchester’s raw character any day.

Isn’t the area named after the prison?

By Anonymous

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below