The UK Government is to invest £23 million in Mayfield – the progressive, mixed-use urban neighbourhood being created in the heart of Manchester and anchored by the city centre’s first new public park in 100 years.
The investment – part of UK’s strategy to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic – will fund the creation of the 6.5-acre Mayfield Park and other infrastructure and public realm works necessary for the delivery of one of the most significant and catalytic regeneration projects in the UK.
A beautifully-designed and safe urban oasis, Mayfield Park will be a transformative and sustainable public amenity for the people of Greater Manchester, created along the rejuvenated banks of the River Medlock which winds through the 24-acre site next to Piccadilly Station.
Providing much needed city centre green space, the park will also enable the delivery of the first phase of commercial development at Mayfield, which includes 320,000 sq ft of world class commercial space across two spectacular buildings.
The £1.4bn regeneration of Mayfield is transforming a previously derelict part of Manchester’s industrial heritage into a distinctive and imaginative mixed-use neighbourhood. Over the next 10 years Mayfield will provide 1,500 homes, 1.6m sq ft of market-leading commercial space and restaurants, bars, cafés, shops, cultural spaces and a hotel.
It is envisaged Mayfield will create opportunities for more than 10,000 office, retail, leisure jobs, in addition to over 630 FTE construction jobs, up to 2,500 supply chain roles and 25 apprenticeships annually. Over the next decade the project is forecast to deliver over £7.4bn of GVA to the local economy.
The plans are being delivered by the public-private Mayfield Partnership, a joint venture of regeneration specialist U+I Plc and Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and developer LCR.
The £23 million investment is being made from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which is backing “shovel ready” projects that will help to drive economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It is part of a wider £54 million of Government investment in major building projects across Greater Manchester, following a bid from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The projects have all been chosen for their ability to provide an immediate kick-start to the creation of new jobs in Greater Manchester’s growth sectors.
In addition to the park and enabling works the investment will support the creation of between four and 6km of roads, cycleways and walkways across Mayfield, which will facilitate the first phase of commercial development and support Greater Manchester’s active travel strategy.
James Heather, development director at U+I, said: “This investment recognises the catalytic economic and social contribution that Mayfield will make to the heart of one of the UK’s most progressive, competitive and open-minded cities.
“We’ve always believed that the public park will be among the most important things we deliver at Mayfield. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into focus just how important accessible public spaces are to our collective wellbeing and Mayfield Park will become a place of significant mental health benefits, reduced stress, improved activity and fitness levels – while fulfilling Manchester's need for more green and pedestrianised areas.
“Mayfield is without doubt one of the most significant and best-connected strategic regeneration opportunities in the UK – a place of spectacular architecture and new jobs, growth and open space. We are thrilled that the Government shares our belief in the many benefits - economic, social and lifestyle - that it will deliver to the people of Manchester.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The truly transformative potential of the Mayfield project should not be underestimated - and this funding will not just unlock the opportunity to bring forward the new city park, but in reality paves the way for the entire Mayfield project to be delivered over the next decade - which is without doubt one of the best connected sites in the region, directly adjacent to Piccadilly Train Station.
"To provide a new green space in the city centre at the scale proposed is a once in a generation opportunity to bring life back to an underused part of the city centre, and create a real destination of choice. In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to consider the Mayfield site as a 24-acre new urban landscape, providing a green environment that accommodates significant buildings planned for the site - rather than the traditional idea of green space sitting adjacent to new development. This is the sort of ambition we should be pitching for when we consider how we use urban space differently in the future to develop new green spaces for the benefit of our communities.
"This investment is particularly welcome at a time when Manchester is focused on economic recovery following the pandemic. The Mayfield project illustrates a city determined to continue to grow and be successful for our residents, while generating significant employment opportunities."
Mike Mellor, Head of Commercial Services for TfGM, said: “The Mayfield development will deliver a fantastic mix of new homes, offices and leisure destinations for thousands of people in the heart of the city centre, so this decision is great news for Manchester.
“This funding announcement will ensure that all the benefits associated with this ambitious scheme will be delivered earlier and support wider economic regeneration. Mayfield and its park will breathe new life into the area, and given its sustainable transport links – right next to Piccadilly station and Metrolink – it is easy to access for people both arriving in the city and travelling from around Greater Manchester. That makes it an ideal spot for businesses and leisure destinations to locate themselves.”
Peter Hawthorne, CEO at LCR, said: “There has never been a more critical time to drive development opportunities across the UK’s towns and cities, and this funding decision is an important milestone in the delivery of the most significant regeneration project of its kind in the North West.
“We are committed to transforming this long disused site into a truly diverse and inclusive urban neighbourhood that can be enjoyed by all, doing so in a way that chimes with the ambitions of the City of Manchester."
The Mayfield Partnerships plans for the first phase of development were granted unanimous planning approval by Manchester City Council in February 2020 and work will begin on site in the last quarter of 2020.
Alongside the Mayfield Park, the first phase of Mayfield includes two new commercial buildings designed to appeal to a range of occupiers, from scale-ups and innovation companies to larger occupiers.
The Poulton, will provide 75,900 sq ft of commercial space and feature a double-height, flexible ground floor that will be open to the public throughout the day and evening for uses that could include wellbeing activities, leisure and co-working. It is complemented by The Republic, a 13-storey, 244,000 sq ft flagship office development that includes larger floorplates and landscaped roof terraces.
A 581-space multi-storey car park, equipped with electric vehicle charging points, will be created at the south of site.
The park, new commercial spaces and car park will sit alongside a range of historic buildings, including the landmark former station on Fairfield Street, which are being retained and redeveloped as part of the wider regeneration plans. The vast depot building has already been transformed into a new cultural venue, Depot Mayfield, which contributed to bringing 330,000 visitors to Mayfield in 2019, after more than 30 years of decline.
Studio Egret West is the overall masterplanner for Mayfield, landscape architect for Mayfield Park and has also designed the multi-storey car park. Bennetts Associates is designing The Poulton and Morris + Company The Republic.