Ancoats Mobility Hub prioritises streets for people over vehicles
A planning application for an urban mobility hub in Ancoats has been submitted.
It is from Manchester Life Strategic Development Company, the master planning and coordination joint venture between Manchester City Council and Manchester Life.
The application is on behalf of Manchester City Council to support clean air and climate change priorities and the next phase of housing growth in Ancoats and New Islington.
From the end of 2023 the Ancoats Mobility Hub would operate as a shared facility to ensure Ancoats grows as a ‘people first’ neighbourhood that prioritises streets for people over vehicles and provides sustainable and shared mobility choices.
Streets and public space across the neighbourhood will immediately become cleaner and safer as on-street parking is removed and vehicle movements across the area reduced.
The Hub will encourage the shift away from petrol and diesel cars and remove the need for private parking within future developments, enabling designers to focus on creating places for people to relax and enjoy.
It will break the traditional link between residential leases and car parking leases, allowing residents to acquire and relinquish a right to a parking space as their circumstances change.
This flexibility ensures access to parking is not a barrier for residents to stay in the neighbourhood as their housing and mobility needs change, such as when starting a family.
The neighbourhood delivery depot will reduce the increase in vehicle movements caused by online ordering. It will receive local deliveries and parcels, which will then be collected by residents or taken to individual developments via small electric vans or cargo bikes.
Other community facilities include a commercial unit which will be prioritised for a community and cycle repair café adjacent to Ancoats Green, and 150 secure cycle parking spaces with changing facilities for public use. A team will manage the delivery hub, while e-bikes, the car club and parking spaces will be managed via an app.
Forty per cent of the Hub site area is car-free outdoor public space, with a new and well-lit walking and cycling link to connect the Green into Ancoats to increase community usage and improve public safety.
The Hub would be located on land owned by the city council and currently occupied by low-rise warehouse units next to Ancoats Green, which is the shortest and least disruptive route for vehicles to enter and leave the neighbourhood from Oldham Road.
The plans directly respond to Manchester City Council’s emerging Ancoats Public Realm Strategy, City Centre Transport Strategy, and the 2020 Poland Street Zone Neighbourhood Development Framework.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The Hub is a UK first. Anyone who thinks this is ‘just another car park’ is massively missing the point.
“The purpose of a car park is to park cars. The purpose of the Hub is to help transform the neighbourhood over time, pioneering new ways of getting around and encouraging people to choose greener and healthier transport options. This is about thinking and acting differently.”
He added: “We have to recognise that many people who choose to live in the city centre require cars for their daily life and work. But we do want to be very deliberate in making sustainable transport changes easier and more attractive – encouraging the use of electric vehicles, cycles and other forms of active travel while supporting the transition away from petrol and diesel.”
Marty Edelman, executive chairman of Manchester Life, said: “As a place maker and developer, it is critical that Manchester Life responds to the future needs of the neighbourhood. We took this approach when we formed Manchester Life in 2014, and the neighbourhood has since become an incredible community brought to life by its people and businesses.
“As we think about the future needs of Ancoats, its road limitations, and overlay with the city’s climate response and transport priorities, the need for a mobility hub is clear. This is a bold project that will improve life on day one and set the future of Ancoats on a sustainable path.”
Mike Wilton, chair of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership, said: “There is no quick fix for the climate emergency. Everyone needs to make choices about how they live day-to-day with climate change in mind. Travel and mobility within the city are priorities for change.
“We welcome the work to develop plans for the Ancoats Mobility Hub. It needs to enable and encourage people to make those low and zero-carbon travel choices. In particular, we welcome the enhanced provision to support cycling and the neighbourhood delivery depot.
“This type of facility, and more, will be needed for Manchester to play its fullest part in limiting the impacts of climate change, as set out the Manchester Climate Change Framework.”
Adam Brady, executive director at property developer HBD, said: “As an adjoining landowner, we’re really excited to see plans moving forward for the Ancoats Mobility Hub – it’s a brilliant concept to create well thought out, car-free communities and help us move toward a zero-carbon future.
“People want to be able to do their bit in tackling the climate crisis but aren’t yet able to give up their car completely – instead of being forced to either keep it or lose it, the hub will create a safer, greener neighbourhood for everyone to enjoy, while helping to change transport habits over the longer term.”
Local resident and Cafe Cotton owner, Chris Griffiths, said: “The Ancoats Mobility Hub proposals made me think of my carbon footprint as a resident and business owner.
“The Hub would enable us to take two cars off the road. Imagine if other businesses could do the same? It’s really going change the feel of our neighbourhood for the better. And it will help us achieve our aim to be a carbon-neutral business.”
Chris added: “We live in an amazing community, so it’s exciting to think we’re going to have a facility that will enable us to think about the transport choices we each make and how we can put people and the environment first. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most critical developments in Ancoats, and I hope other neighbourhoods take it as a blueprint to do things better.”