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The Northern Gateway

Source: PSE Oct/Nov 2018

The Northern Gateway will be one of the largest residential-led regeneration schemes in the UK when the project hits the ground in the coming months, explains Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council.

Rightly lauded in the same regeneration echelons as Hulme in the early 90s and east Manchester before and after the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the Gateway represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for transformational change for the area stretching northwards from the city centre.

The £1bn pioneering investment programme, a joint venture with developer Far East Consortium, will connect seven new and emerging neighbourhoods through high-quality and extensive green spaces.

At 155 hectares in size, the Gateway has the potential to deliver 15,000 new homes in the next 15 to 20 years and will include at least 3,000 affordable homes – helping Manchester people meet their housing aspirations through high-quality homes that residents can afford, in attractive neighbourhoods they want to live in.

Indeed, the first phase will include 110 social homes in Collyhurst – an area that has consistently missed out on essential government funding over the last decade.

Currently an underused area, the Gateway will stretch from Angel Meadow through to Collyhurst with the intention of attracting a wide range of biodiversity, while celebrating the existing architectural features of the Irk Valley, including Manchester’s Victorian railway arches.

This ambitious green space is characterised by the Irk River and surrounded by mature and semi-wild green areas auspiciously close to the city centre. The river itself will be opened up, ensuring the blue artery running through the Gateway area becomes a key feature.

The neighbourhoods themselves will have a distinct character, separating each from the other while remaining connected, and support the major residential investment. New services including primary care and school provision will complement new shops, cafés and restaurants.

The Northern Gateway will extend the residential opportunities north from the city centre, creating a cluster of well-designed and distinct sustainable neighbourhoods whilst opening up a range of new retail and family-friendly leisure destinations in the north of the city.

The hope is that the Northern Gateway not only plants the seeds for fantastic liveable neighbourhoods, but also become family-friendly destinations in their own right, attracting people from across the city and further afield to north Manchester.

Vital to this project will be the alignment of great transport with the major housing investment.

Being part of the Greater Manchester group of local authorities gives us the ability to plan transport investment across the conurbation, which will ensure the Northern Gateway will be truly connected to the city region.

But central to its success is the community. The joint venture partnership is not interested in parachuting a regeneration programme of this magnitude into an area without understanding what the people who will live there – and already live there – want from their communities. It’s important that local people are involved and are excited by these plans.

Big regeneration shouldn’t just be about unit numbers and shiny new buildings, but about the people who will live in them and use them daily. Humans should be at the heart of regeneration, and Manchester people will be involved throughout.

A major consultation exercise is currently underway, which includes a number of local drop-in events and an online questionnaire to gather as much information and evidence as possible before work starts in earnest.

This project represents what an outward-looking, modern global city should be: inclusive, sustainable and attractive. The Northern Gateway also sees a real step-change in how regeneration projects interact with our residents.

At its heart, the Gateway project represents the scale of housing investment that is desperately needed in the city to meet population growth projections and the associated demand for high-quality housing.

But above and beyond this, the Northern Gateway is about being ambitious. The Northern Gateway can change the way urban planning is thought about and the way residents interact with the city they live in.


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