Plans unveiled to revitalise rundown Cornbrook

A JOINT venture between Manchester City Council and Peel Group is planning a major scheme off Chester Road in the area near the old Pomona Docks.

Manchester Ship Canal Developments (MSCD) – 51% owned by Peel and 49% by the council’s Manchester Mortgage Corporation – said the new area could create 1,750 jobs during construction and once it is finished.

The work would cover 5.6 acres between Chester Road and the Bridgewater Canal around the Cornbrook Metrolink station which straddles the Manchester and Trafford boundary.

It does not include Pomona Docks, the last part of the former Manchester Docks to be regenerated, but according to council papers MSCD sees the Cornbrook plan as a catalyst for further waterside residential schemes on the old docks.

A strategic regeneration framework suggests apartments, offices, retail, hotels and community facilities of a higher density and scale than elsewhere, “to mark the gateway to the city centre”.

But it cautions that development may be difficult because land ownership is fragmented and the area is divided by a railway viaduct. There is also likely to be a “high level” of ground contamination due to the presence of breakers’ yards, and access to the Cornbrook Metrolink station is “hostile, intimidating and potentially unsafe”.

A report prepared for the council’s executive said: “The retail offer would include specialist local independent retailers and modest food-led convenience, in a range of accommodation from purpose built units to ‘pods’ inserted within railway arches. The public realm could accommodate temporary events which would help to establish a destination at weekends and evenings throughout the year.”

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