A large concern for Manchester, in particular, was the possible collapse of the Northern Powerhouse project initially announced by former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP. Ambiguity has clouded the project since David Cameron stood down in June and handed the reigns to new Prime Minister, Theresa May. May was seen to be lukewarm about the project and there were fears the prosperity of the Northern regions had fallen down the list of national priorities.
Thankfully for Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, the region has managed to plough on successfully. Here we look at what to expect from the final weeks of the year for Manchester and the surrounding areas.
In good economic news for the region, transport bosses recently confirmed the route via which the new HS2 rail service will connect Crewe and Manchester as part of the second phase of the project, including a stop at Manchester Airport. Other proposals include linking the West Midlands, Leeds and Liverpool into the larger network at some point in the future.
According to the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, the western leg of HS2 will continue north from Crewe to Manchester Airport, and from Manchester Airport on to Manchester city centre, where a new HS2 station will be built next to Manchester Piccadilly.
The HS2 project is predicted to attract millions, if not billions, of pounds of investment to the region and make it even more of a business hotspot, with Manchester Airport linking the region by air in the same way as the rail network links the major Northern cities together.
Further to this, The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester has received planning permission and listed building consent to build its new £6.2m special exhibition gallery. The new gallery will be built in the basement of the museum’s Grade I-listed 1830 Warehouse - the world’s first railway warehouse - and underneath the arches of the 1830 viaduct, part of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway. The building of the new gallery will allow the museum to carry out conservation work on these unique heritage buildings, making careful repairs and revealing the original brick arches.
These projects highlight the exciting investment opportunities being advanced across the city that will see business and tourism opportunities growing significantly.
There have been extremely positive signs from the Greater Manchester councils as well, such as the plan for a huge house building project across Salford which has been announced. The masterplan to continue Salford’s phenomenal growth includes plans for 35,000 new homes and nearly a million square meters of office and industrial space over the next 20 years. Town hall representatives say the city’s rapid expansion means they need thousands more homes and huge new swathes of business space to cope with demand. That is equivalent to 1,745 houses and flats, 415,000 square meters of office space and 500,000 square meters of industrial space will be built in Salford every year for the next two decades.
Manchester certainly has shone a light for the rest of the country as it takes the lead in the Northern Powerhouse project and, with off-plan development continuing apace, the construction boom shows no sign of slowing.
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