Manchester City Council

Cautious Optimism

Speak this morning at the CityCo ( City Centre Management Company ) annual review, a look back at how the city centre has performed over the past year, and a look forward to the prospects over the next twelve months. Co-incidentally the Council's Economy, Employment and Skills is taking a report this morning on city centre regeneration, a follow up to a presentation they had last month on economic development more generally across the city. That presentation talked about the potential to create 75,000 jobs in the city by 2015, but to get an idea of just how important the city centre is, 57,000 of those jobs are expected to be in it. This morning's review was opened by Rowena Burns, the chair of the CityCo board, and both she and I pursued a similar theme - times are tough but, in Manchester at least, there are grounds for cautious optimism.

Last year, in a year dominated by public sector expenditure cuts, and in which nationally the economy achieved at best sluggish growth, Manchester survived remarkably well. A record year for the Arndale Centre, good hotel occupancy rates with on many occasions no room at the inn, city centre residential accommodation fully occupied, great events like the third Manchester International Festival, are just a few indicators of a city centre that was doing a lot better than just surviving. Looking forward, the National Graphene institute and other developments at and around our universities, a start on site for the new cinema/gallery/theatre/cafe at 1st Street, the next phase of development at NOMA - the Co-op's major scheme in the north of the city centre, and the restart of the St.Peter's Square design competition are just a small sample of things not just being thought about but happening,that continue to drive the city centre forwards, and that gives us a real prospect of being able to create those 57,000 jobs. For those who want to know more, I suggest you download this morning's report in city centre regeneration from the City Council's web-site.


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There are 6 responses to “Cautious Optimism”

  1. Adam Quimby Says:

    Manchester Victoria station improvements are absolutely essential in my view. The roof is poor and looks dangerous. When you walk through you get the feeling it will collapse imminently. People coming in from that station often seem to be the poor relation to the relative luxury of Manchester Piccadilly. Concessions such as WH Smith, Coffee Republic, hot dog stand and the empty Snack bar are all ugly blights offering expensive products. The fencing protecting commuters from the Metrolink is ugly and ramshackle. One improvement is the opening of new toilets which give for the first time in my five years using them the ability to use a sitting toilet without having to get a key code or go up to McDonald’s. The coffee shop and bar smell and look unclean. There are also empty shops which could be used for the freestanding concessions. Entry and exit for me are the most dangerous issues at this station. Not so much for Platforms 3-6, but anyone alighting on Platform 1 and 2 are crammed through a tiny bottleneck which causes a crush at, for instance, 7.38am when busy trains deliver their commuters. There is a massive amount of wasted space in all parts of the station because of Northern Rail’s ticketing paranoia (why not have trains where a conductor can easily move up and down checking tickets at rush hour?). Platforms 3-6 are covered and the lighting is poor, it is always dark. That all said, it is still my favourite station. It should be a beautiful building but it has been dismally let down and I look forward to the materialisation of the much mooted funding.

  2. Mike Says:

    The city centre is dreadful if you are trying to get around on a bike. Too many one way streets, traffic lights that expect you to be travelling at 30mph and potholes that open up overnight.

    It is about time the city centre was redesigned to keep the motor vehicles out and welcome people in.

  3. Ste Says:

    Mike the traffic lights need not bother you , do what the majority of cyclists do and ignore them of just ride on the foot path

  4. Sat in traffic Says:

    Perhaps when complaining of the roads cyclists should take into account the fact that car users pay road tax which pays for the road repairs (partly). How ridiculaous to complain of a service you do not pay for...typical cyclist wants to own the roads

  5. Ride and drive Says:

    @sat in traffic.....and how presumptuous of you to assume that cyclists don't drive cars,and thus pay road tax!

  6. Jim Beau Says:

    What Winston Churchill had to say about "road tax"



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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