A funding package of more than £30m has been agreed by Manchester City Council for the revitalisation of the public realm in Ancoats and associated infrastructure.
Following a consultation held earlier this year broad support was found for the plan to enhance the area, which would include the construction of 1,500 new homes and improvements to green space as well as new walking routes and the innovative Ancoats Mobility Hub.
Homes England has committed £28.1m to this project which, combined with the £4.7m allocated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority through the Brownfield Housing Fund, brings the total budget to £32.7m.
Works will get under way this year and it is envisaged a greatly enhanced environment will be in place by early 2026.
The vision set out in the strategy for this area is to support the creation of a sustainable urban neighbourhood of 1,500 homes through the delivery of a public realm which supports life and celebrates place.
It seeks to create a connected network of streets and new spaces, enhancing and celebrating the area’s natural and built assets and extending a green character through the site.
It has also been estimated that the funding secured will lever in additional private investment of around £450m for the delivery of the 1,500 homes as well as additional privately funded works.
The fund will enhance green spaces and routes around the This City Rodney Street development, which will deliver 128 new homes with 30% at the Manchester Living Rent. This is part of the Council’s wider housing target to delivery more than 36,000 new homes by 2032, 10,000 of which will be at the Manchester Living Rent.
Looking at the wider development, Ancoats Green is set to be the “green heart” of the future neighbourhood with new planting and areas for recreation and rest, as well as offering clear walking routes to Jersey Street and the Rochdale Canal. The scheme will also protect existing green space as well as increase the number of trees planted in the area.
Active travel will also be at the forefront of this development with the Ancoats Mobility Hub – an innovative project designed to shift the emphasis of the public realm towards active travel and healthier lifestyles – and one which will be a catalyst for improving streets, approaches to parking, public open spaces and creating a truly sustainable neighbourhood right across this new residential community.
The Hub will provide EV charging points, local car and bike clubs, a cycle hub, café and delivery hub for the local area, and will sit within a public plaza that links directly with an enhanced Ancoats Green.
This vision is supported by four key principles which underline the strategy:
- Establishing Ancoats Green as a green heart to the neighbourhood: creating a multi-functional space that fosters a sense of community.
- Extend this green character to streets and spaces: Creating a coherent network of streets and public spaces, using green streets to encourage active travel and integrate green infrastructure.
- Rebalancing movement towards active travel: establishing a new people-focused street network, reducing the dominance of vehicles in the street, including measures to reduce rat running.
- Enhance the industrial heritage of the area and the character of the Conservation Area: guiding design that captures, celebrates and compliments the industrial heritage of the area, with consideration for materials, surfaces, and street furniture.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “As the Council looks to improve our neighbourhoods and drive positive development it is essential that we look at the whole picture on what makes an attractive and liveable community.
“The strategy in place for Ancoats is the realisation 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 bordered by old mill buildings have to some extent determined the way the area has developed. However, by putting people first, and placing the needs of pedestrians at the heart of this plan we hope that this can set a benchmark for future development.”
Sophie White, Homes England’s Director of Infrastructure Funding said: “We are committed to working with ambitious local authority partners seeking to meet their local housing needs through delivery of key infrastructure. Our multimillion-pound funding will allow Manchester City Council to deliver much needed public realm and the innovative Ancoats mobility hub to encourage the use of sustainable travel modes.
This investment will help to unlock critical housing sites in Ancoats and support the Council to achieve their wider housing targets.”