Manchester continue with £33m Ancoats package

Work will begin this year on the revitalization of public spaces and infrastructure in the area, a set of works largely funded by Homes England.

A consultation process earlier this year found broad support for the plan to improve the area and build the much-talked-about Ancoats mobility hub hailed by the town as a UK first.

Ongoing projects, many led by the Manchester Life vehicle where MCC partners with Abu Dhabi United, offer 1,500 homes in the area, leading to calls for improved green spaces, as well as new hiking routes.

Housing body Homes England has committed £28.1m to the scheme, while £4.7m has been allocated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority through the Brownfield Housing Fund. MCC said “it is expected that a significantly improved environment will be in place by early 2026.”

According to MCC, it has also been estimated that the funding secured will result in an additional private investment of around £450m for the delivery of the 1,500 homes as well as additional privately funded works.

The fund will improve green spaces and roads around the This City Rodney Street development, which will provide 128 new homes with 30% to Manchester Living Rent.

This is part of the council’s wider housing target to deliver over 36,000 new homes by 2032, including 10,000 at Manchester Living Rent.

With regard to the wider development, Ancoats Green is intended to be the ‘green heart’ of the future district with new plantings and areas for recreation and rest, as well as clear walking routes to Jersey Street and the Rochdale.

The program will also protect existing green spaces and increase the number of trees planted in the area. The public realm strategy for Ancoats, approved by council in March, was developed by Civic Engineers and Planit-IE.

Licensed in July 2021, the mobility hub will provide electric vehicle charging points, local car and bike clubs, a bike centre, cafe and delivery center for the area, and will be located in a public square directly related to an improved Ancoats Green.

The city is hoping for a better reception for its Ancoats scheme than it received during Great Ancoats Street’s £9.1million improvement scheme in 2020, a scheme which has drawn heavy criticism.

The four key principles highlighting the strategy are:

  • Establish Ancoats Green as a green heart for the neighborhood: create a multifunctional space that fosters a sense of community.
  • Extend this greenness to streets and spaces: Create a cohesive network of streets and public spaces, using green streets to encourage active travel and incorporate green infrastructure.
  • Rebalancing movement towards active travel: establishing a new people-oriented road network, reducing the dominance of vehicles on the street, including measures to reduce rat running.
  • Showcasing the area’s industrial heritage and the character of the conservation area: a guiding design that captures, celebrates and complements the area’s industrial heritage, taking into account materials, surfaces and street furniture.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “As council seeks to improve our neighborhoods and foster positive development, it is essential that we look at the whole spectrum of what makes a community attractive and livable.

“The strategy in place for Ancoats is the realization of our ambitions to promote active travel, increase the amount of green space and have sustainable housing at the heart of our communities.“The historic layout of Ancoats, with its rigid streets lined with old mills, has in a way determined the development of the district. However, by putting people first and putting the needs of pedestrians at the heart of this plan, we hope it can set a benchmark for future development.

Sophie White, Head of Infrastructure Finance at Homes England, said: “We are committed to working with ambitious local authority partners who seek to meet their local housing needs through the delivery of key infrastructure.

“Our multi-million pound funding will enable Manchester City Council to provide much needed public realm and the innovative Ancoats Mobility Center to encourage the use of sustainable modes of travel.

“This investment will help unlock critical housing sites in Ancoats and help the Council achieve its wider housing goals.”

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