£1.1bn scheme to transform swathe of Manchester city centre to get under way next year

Mayfield scheme
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A £1.1bn scheme which will transform a large swathe of Manchester and create a new park looks set to get off the ground early next year.

Developer U+I has spent months working on the plans to redevelop the area around the former Mayfield Station which sits in the shadow of Piccadilly Railway Station.

Former station

And it has emerged that a public consultation on the scheme will be launched early in the new year with a planning application for the first phase of the scheme likely in the summer.

The project is expected to take ten years to complete and will include homes, offices, restaurants and hotels.

And the centrepiece of the project will be a brand new park sitting alongside the River Medlock. The new park would be the city’s first new green space in a century.

The first planning application will be for £250m worth of public works including the new park.

The developers are determined to create a new area which will become a key destination.

James Heather, who is leading the project, said: “We want this to become an area that people will come to Manchester to visit.

“We want to create a key destination that people feel that they can use and is part of the community. In order to do that we need to be bold and we need to set new benchmarks.

“We have an opportunity here to create something really special and add to the city. Great buildings and developments are not just about design and architecture they are also about the people who use them.”

Mayfield designs

The firm was chosen by landowners London and Continental Railways, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester to breathe new life into the 24-acre site.

As well as creating over 10,000 jobs, the new site will deliver a new 6.5 acre public park within the city centre, new commercial, retail and hotel accommodation, as well as over 1,350 homes and community uses.

This week U+I announced that it is setting up an independent challenge committee to drive greater transparency and accountability across its £9.5bn portfolio of projects.

The announcement comes after a six-month-long consultation organised by the company, and backed by Minister for Local Government Rishi Sunak MP, on the challenges faced by PPP.

The consultation included Homes England, Berkeley Group, Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, the NHS, TfL. London Community Foundation and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and included round table sessions in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Chief executive Matthew Weiner said: “We do not have all the answers, but we hope that our partners will recognise this commitment and back us in our endeavour to create regeneration projects that are truly collaborative and ultimately better for the places in which they are delivered.

“These convictions have to be grounded in purpose, however. And that purpose, for U+I, will always be about social impact and improving people’s lives.

“This is not to lay claim to angelic status. It is simply to affirm, again, that we believe financial objectives and social objectives must always walk hand in hand. Our profit must have purpose.”