A £20m bid for Levelling Up funding to jump start the transformation of Wythenshawe town centre has been submitted to the government by Manchester City Council.
It would enable the creation of a culture hub, food hall, new civic square and improved public realm and employment space – as well as helping to fund the decarbonisation of some town centre buildings.
The bid takes priority elements of a long-term vision which the Council is currently developing to ensure a Wythenshawe town centre fit for the future, complementing existing retail uses to create a multi-functional and sustainable place to live, work and go out.
If successful, it would represent a leap forward for the regeneration of the town centre and help support the creation of hundreds of jobs - and thousands of new homes, including affordable homes, on nearby Council-owned brownfield land.
Councillor Gavin White, Executive Member for Housing and Development, said: “This is a highly competitive bid which can act as the springboard for the transformation of Wythenshawe town centre.
“It’s a confident place with huge potential. Securing this funding would accelerate the change we aspire to see and help unlock wider opportunities for the people of Wythenshawe.”
The Council recently announced an agreement to buy the existing 1970s shopping centre and multi-storey car park from previous owners St Modwen in order to support the regeneration of the area.
Wythenshawe, a ‘garden city’ with plentiful green spaces has a proud community, a strong property market and is well-placed to benefit from its incredibly well-connected location, served by Metrolink and close to the motorway, airport and the planned nearby HS2 airport station. The town centre regeneration will complement both the redevelopment of Wythenshawe Hospital Campus - set to generate thousands of jobs and spearhead Manchester’s growing biomedical science sector - and Manchester Airport’s current investment programme.
Progress in the town centre is already evident with a new Lidl supermarket proposed for the former Gala Bingo site and the launch of the new monthly Grub street food market.
The main elements of the Levelling Up Fund bid are:
- Culture hub: Artist studios, performance space and a community cinema in the former Co-op department store
- Food Hall: A large, flexible events space championing local produce by day and leading a new night-time economy through a food, drink, live music and street food offering by night.
- Employment spaces: New flexible employment accommodation ranging from co-working spaces through to a new enterprise centre with a focus on local start-up and small and medium-sized businesses and larger floorplate managed office space.
- New civic square and public realm: A large new focal point representing the new heart of the town centre and capable of hosting community events. Improved accessibility and the creation of small naturally- planted ‘sponge parks’ designed to increase biodiversity and help adapt to the impacts of climate change while reducing the risk of flooding.
- Decarbonisation: Sustainable retrofit of existing building to improve energy performance and reduce carbon emissions plus the installation of solar PV cells on rooftop spaces.