City gives green light to Co-operative’s Northern Gateway plans

July 09, 2009

A vision which will transform a key area of Manchester’s city centre has taken an important step closer with the green light from the City Council for ambitious plans from The Co-operative Group.

The Group’s regeneration framework for its landmark 20-acre site close to Victoria Station, is designed to unlock the area’s social and commercial potential – and make Manchester an international leader in sustainable development.

Following a month-long public consultation period, the City Council has endorsed the Group’s plans, the first stage of which will be an anchor building for the Group’s new head office, due to open in 2012, setting new standards in environmental performance.



Other features of the scheme, which encompasses office, residential and commercial development, include:

  • The potential to provide up to 15,000 jobs.
  • An integrated energy system aiming to provide 100 per cent of development’s heat and power needs from renewable sources.
  • 4.5 acres of public open space.
  • Heavy emphasis on green transport with the aim of making cycling, walking and public transport the preferred options.
  • Careful integration of the site’s historic features, which include listed buildings and the remains of the historic Arkwright’s Mill.
  • A sustainable drainage system ensuring water is stored and recycled as needed.

The Co-operative Group, which has worked closely with Manchester City Council to produce a consultation document for the scheme, has welcomed the decision and will now start on marketing the scheme.

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group has already emphasised the Group’s commitment to “bringing high standards and high values to the task of unlocking the site’s social, commercial and sustainable potential”. “Working in partnership with Manchester City Council, we can transform this important area into a new and instantly recognisable quarter that will attract new business, retail and residential users as well as greatly enhancing the public space which leads into the city centre,” he said.
      
The 20-acre site will complement other developments emerging in the area known as City Centre North, between Manchester’s Northern Quarter and Salford.

The development of the Co-op complex represents one of the most exciting regeneration opportunities in the region and will deliver social, economic and environmental benefits on a scale rarely experienced

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: " We want to celebrate the contribution the Co-operative Movement has made to this city and to see an even more successful Co-operative Group based here. This site is a key piece in the jigsaw of our plans for the northern part of the city centre. It will act as a catalyst for further investment over the next decade.

“The development of the Co-op complex represents one of the most exciting regeneration opportunities in the region and will deliver social, economic and environmental benefits on a scale rarely experienced. These plans will reconnect this area with the core of the city centre and surrounding communities, delivering real benefits including a very significant number of jobs."

The decision has delighted Lynda Shillaw , Managing Director of The Co-operative Estates and her masterplan team, which is being led by Director of Investment and Property Strategy, David Pringle, with support from Head of Planning, Ruairidh Jackson.