Manchester City Council completed the acquisition of Wythenshawe town centre from St.Modwen marking the beginning of a major regeneration programme for the site.
The aim of the redevelopment work will be to create a large new focal point for the local community in a new civic square that celebrates Wythenshawe’s roots as a garden city, developing open areas for planting, trees and boulevard-style public realm.
The ambitious vision includes a new cultural hub, food hall and workspace – as well as helping to fund decarbonisation investment in the existing building, while creating hundreds of new jobs.
Thousands of new homes will also be built, including a significant number of affordable homes, on nearby Council-owned brownfield land.
The City Council will undertake a consultation with local people and businesses in the autumn to share proposals and get invaluable feedback from the communities who use the centre every day.
A £20m Levelling Up bid was submitted to Government in August that would jumpstart the transformation and help realise the long-term vision for Wythenshawe Town Centre.
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.
Progress in the town centre is already evident with a new Lidl supermarket proposed for the former Gala Bingo site and the launch of a new monthly Grub street food market.
The long lease for the town centre will now transfer from St.Modwen to the City Council and the town centre will be managed by Savills.
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and development, said:
“It’s encouraging to see the plans for Wythenshawe town centre move on at pace. We know it’s the heart of the local community and our ambition is to transform the centre and realise its massive potential for our residents who rely on it daily.
“Central to the proposals will be to create a new green, attractive public square and invest in things that will make the town centre an exciting place to visit, shop and access services – and will create hundreds of new jobs.
“We will begin consultation with local residents and businesses soon about our proposals – including thousands of new homes – and we hope as many people as possible will take part. Your views will be invaluable and we’re looking forward to sharing more details soon.”