The funds will deliver a 'beautifully designed and safe urban oasis' - and other vital infrastructure for the mixed-use neighbourhood
The mixed-use Mayfield neighbourhood in Manchester has received a Government investment worth £23m to fund a park and other infrastructure and public realm works.
The funds mean the scheme, worth £1bn in total, will see the creation of a 6.5acre Mayfield Park and other projects "necessary for the delivery of one of the most significant and catalytic regeneration projects in the UK".
It will be the city centre's first new public park in a century, with the investment coming as part of the UK strategy to "build back better" from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Described as 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 banks of the River Medlock, which winds through the 24-acre site.
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 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.
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.”
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's hoped the entire project will create opportunities for more than 10,000 office, retail, leisure jobs, in addition to over 630 construction jobs, up to 2,500 supply chain roles and 25 apprenticeships annually.
Over the next decade, it is forecast to deliver over £7.4bn of GVA to the local economy.
The £23m 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 £54m 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.
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."