£650 million plans to develop a major new business district at Manchester Airport were approved by Manchester City Council on Thursday 17 January, 2013 – and airport operator M.A.G is set to commence infrastructure works on the site, which is Government-designated Enterprise Zone, within weeks.
The Airport City Manchester development includes new offices, industrial units, hotels, retail and leisure facilities and is set create 11,400 jobs over the next ten to 15 years and will provide a major boost for local people, the region’s construction industry and local supply chains.
The first of its kind in the UK, it will compete with existing airport city and ‘aerotropolis’ projects, such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Copenhagen – attracting global businesses to the North West, creating a hub for multi-national businesses that require access to a major city and international markets, to move people and goods across the world. Airport City is also the focal point of the Enterprise Zone for Greater Manchester, which surrounds the UK’s third busiest airport, and includes areas around University Hospital South Manchester (UHSM) and Wythenshawe; one of the UK’s most socially economically deprived areas.
It will be one of the best connected employment sites in the region – with easy access to the passenger terminals and the transport interchange. A new spine road will provide easy access to the motorway network. Initial construction and enabling works for the creation of the new road will commence in March 2013. A new Metrolink extension through Wythenshawe is under construction and will link Airport City to Greater Manchester’s successful tram network by 2016. A new landscaped ‘green bridge’ will connect the new ‘mini-city’ to the Airport and its public transport interchange, making the site one of the most accessible in the region. Manchester Airport provides international air connections to over 200 destinations worldwide and its ground transport interchange offers extensive train, coach and bus services across the North.
M.A.G’s Airport City Director, John Atkins, said: “The planning approval is a major milestone, underlining the progress made in the last twelve months and enables us to progress to the delivery stage in 2013, driving forward opportunities to attract investment and create jobs.
“Manchester is already well-established as the global gateway for the North – Airport City will not only enhance this status, but also further the city’s ambition to become a major European and global business city, by bringing a world-class commercial product that is sustainable and innovative to the UK for the first time.”
A new 13 acre central park surrounded by a ‘downtown’ district of distinctive new buildings and high quality public areas, forms the centrepiece. Buildings will be approximately three to eight storeys in height, with the tallest buildings located furthest away from the residential area north of the site. New retail and amenities will occupy the ground floor of key buildings to create a ‘high street’, including: shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, crèches, health and medical centres and leisure facilities. The supporting amenities enable the development to be self-sustaining, generate footfall and will benefit residents in the surrounding areas. Hotels spread across the site will include new conference, event and catering space.
Airport City aims to attract inward investment and provide new employment opportunities for Wythenshawe residents. Jobs during the construction phases will be in addition to 11,400 permanent new jobs, ranging from higher-level/skilled occupations to intermediate/entry level roles. Initiatives such as the successful Airport Academy and M.A.G’s sponsorship of nearby Manchester Enterprise Academy – where it feeds into the curriculum to equip people with the required skills to access jobs at the Airport – will also be extended to Airport City. Employment, education and training programmes are underway to maximise the use of local labour and supply chains – aiming to ensure the people of Woodhouse Park, and throughout Wythenshawe, can access the jobs created as a result of Airport City.
The outline planning application for Airport City (North) was submitted to Manchester City Council in November 2012, following extensive public consultations in the local area by M.A.G, the parent company of Manchester Airport. The planning application was approved by the Planning and Highways Committee on 17 January 2013. The site is the northern component of Airport City, currently referred to as Airport City (North) and is also part of the Greater Manchester Enterprise Zone.
In November 2012, M.A.G was granted outline planning approval for the £100 million World Logistics Hub development – the southern part of the Enterprise Zone. This is an expansion of the Airport’s Freight terminal area and will create 1,800 jobs, providing 1.4 million square feet of logistics space and 36.6 acres of new landscaping and natural habitats.