A progress report to the Council’s Executive, which meets on 7 March, charts the transformation of West Gorton over the last nine years and looks to its future including plans for a new community park
he once-blighted area has benefited from comprehensive regeneration – delivered by the Council working with key partners Homes England (formerly the Homes and Communities Agency), The Guinness Partnership Ltd and Keepmoat Homes – which has improved housing quality and choice, and enhanced the environment and community facilities since the programme was agreed back in 2009.
Progress since then includes:
- 144 Council homes were transferred to The Guinness Partnership for extensive improvement works to bring them up to modern standards
- 171 new social rented properties were built by the Council and another 41 new homes by The Guinness Partnership
- 440 obsolete properties, including two tower blocks, were demolished
- The Armitage Primary School was extended to provide new teaching and administrative facilities
- £10.6m was invested in redeveloping parts of the former Fujitsu complex to create a new 360,000 sq ft drama production hub, The Space Project, which opened in 2014, and is providing popular with TV production companies. A second phase of development was recently completed with scope for more.
- Keepmoat Homes are delivering up to 400 homes for market sale. To date, more than 190 have been bought and sold – approximately 80 per cent to first time buyers. Demand has consistently outstripped supply.
- A new purpose-built Community Hub, which includes the relocated West Gorton Medical Centre, a pharmacy and new shops, was built and opened in 2017.
This year will see work start on a new community park and open space improvements, paid for through more than 1.5 million Euros of European Commission funding. The project will be used to demonstrate the wider positive impacts high quality green space can have. Consultation with the community begins this month, with final designs for the park and open spaces due in autumn.
A new £1.43m 30-place nursery for two-year-olds with childcare and play scheme facilities plus space for community use is also in the pipeline, with planning consent obtained and construction works due to start in March 2018.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “West Gorton is almost unrecognisable from the neighbourhood it was a decade ago. Young families looking for affordable, decent homes in quality neighbourhoods – close to the city centre – are flocking to the area. The transformation here should be considered as one of the real success stories when it comes to neighbourhood regeneration.”