Manchester Arena negotiates on Victoria revamp

MANCHESTER Arena’s management feared changes to Victoria Station could leave gig-goers covered in diesel exhaust.

Network Rail has applied to construct a new £20m train shed roof at the station as part of the £560m Northern Hub plans to improve rail services in the North.

The work involves the restoration of the grade II-listed station buildings but there will also be changes to the pedestrian access to the arena, which is owned by Development Securities and operated by SMG.

A council document reveals how the arena’s management was “concerned that the current pedestrian routes through the site would be adversely affected.”

According to the report, they believe the inclusion of an elevated walkway within the new arrangement, “would mean that many visitors to the arena would have to pass over, and possibly wait in queues above, platforms one and two and experience potentially very poor air quality as a result of exhaust emissions from diesel-powered trains waiting at the platforms”.

The arena also said: “The closure of the link from Trinity Way and the multi-storey car park to the mezzanine bridge would result in a much longer, more convoluted and busier route for some disabled users.”

The council’s report said there had been on-going discussions between the owners, managers and operators of the arena and Network Rail which had led to “broad agreement” on other matters such as potential problems as a result of construction work, but a conclusion of “commercial arrangements” was still required.

“If these commercial arrangements cannot be concluded, the scheme could not be progressed in its current form,” said the report. Council officers have recommended the planning committee approves the scheme when they meet on December 20.

A spokesman for Development Securities said: “It has been important for us to input into this process given that the proposed works impact upon the arena. Both the existing access and servicing to the arena would be affected by the proposed plans and we have consulted Network Rail on these issues.

“We are now confident that the redevelopment plans suitably address our concerns although they remain to be finalised legally.”

The proposals were approved by the city’s planning committee on December 20.