1 May, 2009
Manchester is looking to create its own Whitehall of the Northwest in a new civil service campus alongside Piccadilly Station.
Key Government departments have agreed to fund a feasibility study into the scheme which would bring together civil servants from across Greater Manchester – and attract jobs from London.
Sir Richard Leese, Beverley Hughes MP & Colin Sinclair
In total, more than 5,000 civil servants could be based on the Mayfield campus by 2014 as part of the Civil Service in the English Regions initiative.
Regional Minister Beverley Hughes said: “This is potentially very significant news for Manchester and for the Northwest. The Government is committed to moving civil service jobs away from London and the development of the site alongside Piccadilly Station presents a real opportunity for the city to seize the initiative.
“This also opens up the possibility of regenerating an important part of the city centre. I know plans are well advanced for Piccadilly Gate and this is a natural extension of that exciting project.”
Government Office for the Northwest, the Highways Agency and the Training and Development Agency are already due to move into Piccadilly Gate, close to Mayfield, next year (2010). The Training and Development Agency is bringing more than 300 jobs from London.
The new proposal would expand this into a campus containing 700,000 sq ft of office space, accommodating civil servants currently in leased offices across Greater Manchester. It also fits with the Government’s plans, announced in the Budget, to increase its target on relocating posts out of London to 24,000 by 2010
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is now widely recognised as a place where organisations from all sectors want to locate themselves and where they can capture maximum efficiencies and access to a highly skilled workforce. This is an important part of how the City maximises its contribution to regional and national government and to provide employment opportunities to an ever increasing travel to work area. We are delighted with the announcement today, particularly at a time when good news is in short supply. Manchester City Council and its partners will play a full and constructive role in working with Government to ensure this initiative is bought to fruition as quickly as possible.”
Colin Sinclair, Chief Executive of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “The decision by Government departments to fund a feasibility study for locating its major new hub in Manchester is great news for the city region, potentially creating thousands of jobs at a critical time. Taken alongside the Training and Development Agency (TDA), NICE and PHSO’s recent moves here and the launch of the Civil Justice Centre in Manchester, it is clear that the city region is successfully developing as the location of choice for public sector relocations.
“With further Government operations expected to move out of London in the next two years, MIDAS continues to work hard for our city region local authority partners to secure further inward investment of this type. Our city region offers the largest catchment area of top quality employees outside of London, with excellent transport links to the capital and the rest of the country. This latest investment represents the next important step towards Manchester confirming our place as a top ten European business location.”
Ian Watmore, who is championing the Civil Service in the Northwest initiative, said: “The Northwest already has the largest number of civil servants outside London, and is a major deliverer of national priorities. This further reinforces other regions importance to the Civil Service and the country as a whole.”
The new development would be built to the highest environmental standards and will further enhance Manchester City Council’s efforts to regenerate the area around Piccadilly Station.
The campus would be at the heart of a new mixed use quarter, including high quality streets and spaces within a parkland setting. It is right by the station with excellent transport links to London and the rest of the country
Next steps will include canvassing government tenants for the campus and preparing a master plan for the wider Piccadilly Station area, extending to the inner ring road to the south, Aytoun Street to the north and Whitworth Street to the west.