27 February, 2008 – Hazel Blears announces new regeneration drive for Manchester
Manchester's regeneration has been given a multi-million pound boost today alongside the creation of a new ministerial group to support city leaders in bidding for further projects, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said.
Hazel Blears announced that English Partnerships have earmarked around £10m to accelerate the delivery of Sportcity, the largest concentration of sporting venues in Europe.
The money will be used for site preparation, in order to unlock the huge potential for leisure, commercial and sporting activity and create new jobs.
Ideas that have been put forward for the site include a new BMX centre, and extreme sports centre including a snowboarders half-pipe, scuba pool, abseiling and climbing walls as well as a sky-diving simulator and white-water rafting course.
The development of Sportcity is expected to create 1,600 new jobs and will be a key part of East Manchester’s wider regeneration drive.
The Government is supporting the extension the New East Manchester Urban Regeneration Company to 2014, who will invite proposals for the new Sportcity site, and spearhead a series of local regeneration projects, creating a total of 4,000 jobs.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England will also conduct a study into the demand for higher and further education in Manchester.
The Government is also working with councils in Greater Manchester on their plans for a Multi-Area Agreement to be signed this summer to boost jobs, transport, investment and housing through greater co-operation.
The ministerial group will be chaired by Ms Blears, and will bring representatives from Manchester City Council together with ministers from the Department of Health, the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. It will support Manchester city leaders as they progress longer-term projects, including:
- An application for the Transport Innovation Fund, to increase capacity of public transport, and reduce congestion in the city.
- A new Transport Hub to provide increased rail links across the North West, subject to a Network Rail study.
- Refurbishment of the former Sharp building to house computer gaming company Redvision, and a hub for new games and media businesses.
- Three new skills academies: on skills, facilities management and digital media.
Today’s announcement follows publication of a general review of the alternatives to casino-led regeneration, the review concludes that measuring the impact of a regional casino on local job creation is highly problematic – as is measuring the effect on inward investment and any other knock-on benefits.
The relatively high pay of casino jobs, for example, can attract commuters from outside the area, which would mean that local people do not necessarily benefit, but would still bear the brunt of any risks faced.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said: "This £10m boost for Sportcity will unlock huge sporting potential in East Manchester and attract visitors from across the UK, and beyond. It’s another piece of the jigsaw in Manchester’s regeneration success story, and can help to create new jobs.
"The new ministerial group will also ensure that success continues well into the future by giving the Government’s support to city leaders as they drive forward new jobs, more skills and better transport for our communities."
Both the Government and Manchester City Council have made huge strides in regeneration of the city since 1997:
- In the 4 years after hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002, the city attracted around £2 billion of private sector investment that created 45,000 jobs.
- Transport links have also seen considerable improvement. £27m was spent modernising Manchester Piccadilly station, with a further £60m invested by NetworkRail between 2003-05 and recently approvals have been given for four new schemes totalling over £301m, including extending the Manchester Metrolink system to Oldham, Rochdale and Chorlton.
- Manchester has benefited from significant public sector relocations including the Training and Development Agency, the Standards Board for England, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the BBC location in Salford.
Source: Dept. for Communities and Local Government press release, via GNN.gov.uk