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21st February 2020

Manchester City Council review plans for city’s “first zero-carbon business district”

The plans will see Central Retail Park in Ancoats transformed into a business space
Manchester City Council review plans for city’s “first zero-carbon business district”
Photo: Manchester City council

Central Retail Park in Ancoats – former home to Toys ‘R’ Us, Mothercare, Argos and JD Sports – is set to be redeveloped into green business space, creating a bridge between the area and its’ neighbour New Islington.

Manchester City Council purchased the disused land in 2017 for £37 million and plan to transform the area into a “high quality, commercial-led mixed-use development with the highest regard to sustainability to meet the zero carbon ambitions for the city”.  The council believe that the development will allow them to recoup the cost of the initial investment and expect to see further returns after its completion.

The area will be fully accessible to all and aims to connect Central Retail Park with surrounding neighbourhoods and the city centre.  More workspaces and offices will be built as part of the development to meet the demand of the continuing regeneration of Ancoats.

Speaking on the development of the Central Retail Park, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The former commercial units at Central Retail Park have for too long acted as a physical barrier on Great Ancoats Street, creating an impasse for the emerging community of New Islington to seamlessly interact with the city centre.”

He added: “Crucially, Central Retail Park will be a marker for the city’s carbon ambitions and the aim to create the city’s first zero-carbon district will be an expectation for developments in the future, aligned with the Zero Carbon Action Plan.”

Alongside Central Retail Park, the council are also planning to expand the development of the “globally recognised” regeneration of Ancoats to the low level industrial and commercial accommodation at the ‘back of Ancoats’ to create a mixed-use area including green spaces, new housing and office space.  The new spaces reflect the council’s hope to increase investment in housing and workspaces closer to the city centre to develop more environmentally sustainable communities to continue the decline of the city’s carbon footprint.

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, hopes that the development opens an opportunity for affordable high-quality housing to be built in the city centre.  She said:

“The regeneration of Ancoats has been hugely successful over the last two decades. This next phase of regeneration gives us an opportunity to deliver affordable homes in a city centre setting, along with high-quality public areas and green spaces to create neighbourhoods people want to live in”.
She added: “New housing in the city must also meet the sustainability challenge head-on if we are serious about meeting our zero-carbon ambitions by 2038, and these two development areas will be an exemplar for future development in the city.”

Speaking generally on the changes taking place in Ancoats, Sir Richard Leese said:  “Ancoats, including New Islington, should be considered in the top ranks of urban regeneration anywhere today. Central Retail Park and the wider Ancoats area represent the next crucial step in the neighbourhoods’ journey.”

It is expected that a public consultation of the plans will begin in the next few weeks.

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