A report detailing ‘once in a generation’ development proposals over the next decade in Wythenshawe will be heard by the Council’s executive, including new public square and housing.
The Council acquired the Wythenshawe Civic Centre last year and has since undertaken consultation with local people and businesses around the investment proposals for the area, which were broadly positively received.
The unique opportunity to redevelop the 1970s centre will create a net zero commercial community, new shops and public space alongside 1,500 new homes to be built on Council-owned land close to the Civic Centre. It is anticipated this will include a mix of tenures including affordable rent and shared ownership.
Respondents to the consultation welcomed that the development will celebrate the Garden City heritage of Wythenshawe through new high-quality public realm and greening, including a new public square as the focal point for the town centre, as well as a new play area, outdoor events space and food hub.
The investment will also create new opportunities to expand the retail offer and create more office space while providing opportunities for small businesses to locate and grow. The expectation will be to repurpose existing buildings where possible – and where buildings are salvageable, they will be reused, rather than demolished.
Part of the site’s multi-storey car park, vacant upper floors of the existing retail units and the current vacant buildings will be reused and given new purposes – such as flexible working spaces and art studios to foster a new creative community.
In particular, given the high-speed fibre broadband connection in the area, the site is ideally placed to support new tech businesses, creating both employment opportunities and training for local people to develop skills and take advantage of new jobs.
And in collaboration with HOME, a new cultural hub will allow local people to engage with creative opportunities and explore new skills in their own neighbourhood.
The creation of a new Mobility Hub will address the needs of car users and will assist and encourage other forms of sustainable active travel, such as walking and cycling using the principles of the 15-minute neighbourhood.
The development programme will also collaborate with TfGM on wider opportunities to connect active travel routes to the wider Wythenshawe area including connections to the Hospital and Airport, as well as improved routes to other parts of the city too.”
To deliver a new net-zero sustainable community, the completed development will include sustainable refurbishment of existing buildings, zero carbon new build along with on-site renewable energy generation and a new district heating system.
A number of amendments and assurances have been included in the final development framework following the public consultation. These include:
Assurance that the site will be known as Wythenshawe Civic as per the original name when constructed in the 1970s.
To acknowledge the importance of the TSB and Halifax branches and ensure space to retain both in the long-term planning for the centre.
Ensure the Forum Trust remains a key stakeholder – and support the ongoing operations and growth of the leisure centre, including extending the gym and swimming hall in the future.
Ensure adequate parking that is secure and accessible, along with investment in active travel options.
To develop a digital strategy that will support local people with training opportunities, such as a “pop up” digital inclusion garage.
A development partner will be procured later in 2023.
The Council is currently awaiting the outcome of a £20m Levelling Up bid submitted to the Government last year. More information will be released when a decision has been made on the bid.
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and development, said:
“It’s not an understatement to say that this is a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in Wythenshawe’s Civic Centre and create lasting change and benefits for these communities. Since the Council acquired the site last year, we have ensured that we have kept up momentum to bring forward development quickly, consulting with local people and submitting a £20m Levelling Up bid to Government.
“Through this development we have a chance to deliver an enviable focal point for Wythenshawe, attracting new business that will support employment growth – and expand the job opportunities into new sectors – alongside quality affordable housing, which will also attract new residents to the area.
“It’s important we keep up the impetus to deliver this scheme and we will be working to bring a development partner onto the project later this year who will help drive the development and bring this really exciting project to fruition.”