The developer claims streets and public space across the neighbourhood will immediately become cleaner and safer as on-street parking is removed and vehicle movements are reduced.
Development company Manchester Life has submitted plans for an urban mobility hub that claims to “tear up the business-as-usual” approach by prioritising streets for people over vehicles.
The application on behalf of Manchester City Council aims to support clean air and climate change priorities and the next phase of housing growth in the areas of Ancoats and New Islington.
From the end of 2023, the Ancoats Mobility Hub would operate as a shared facility to ensure Ancoats grows as a people-first neighbourhood that provides sustainable and shared mobility choices.
The company claims streets and public space across the neighbourhood will immediately become cleaner and safer as on-street parking is removed and vehicle movements across the area are reduced.
The hub will encourage the shift away from petrol and diesel cars and remove the need for private parking within future developments, enabling designers to focus on creating places for people to relax and enjoy.
“The hub is a UK first. Anyone who thinks this is ‘just another car park’ is massively missing the point”
Manchester Life explained that the hub aims to break the traditional link between residential leases and car parking leases, allowing residents to acquire and relinquish a right to a parking space as their circumstances change.
This flexibility ensures access to parking is not a barrier for residents to stay in the neighbourhood as their housing and mobility needs change, such as when starting a family.
The neighbourhood delivery depot will reduce the increase in vehicle movements caused by online ordering. It will receive local deliveries and parcels, which will then be collected by residents or taken to individual developments via small electric vans or cargo bikes.
“The hub is a UK first. Anyone who thinks this is ‘just another car park’ is massively missing the point,” said Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council. “The purpose of a car park is to park cars. The purpose of the hub is to help transform the neighbourhood over time, pioneering new ways of getting around and encouraging people to choose greener and healthier transport options. This is about thinking and acting differently.
“We have to recognise that many people who choose to live in the city centre require cars for their daily life and work. But we do want to be very deliberate in making sustainable transport changes easier and more attractive – encouraging the use of electric vehicles, cycles and other forms of active travel while supporting the transition away from petrol and diesel.”
Local resident and Cafe Cotton owner Chris Griffiths believes it is going to change the feel of the neighbourhood for the better and added: “The proposals have made me think of my carbon footprint as a resident and business owner. The hub would enable us to take two cars off the road. Imagine if other businesses could do the same? It will help us achieve our aim to be a carbon-neutral business.
“Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most critical developments in Ancoats, and I hope other neighbourhoods take it as a blueprint to do things better.”
Other community facilities include a commercial unit which will be prioritised for a community and cycle repair café adjacent to Ancoats Green, and 150 secure cycle parking spaces with changing facilities for public use. A team will manage the delivery hub, e-bikes, the car club and parking spaces will be managed via an app.
Forty per cent of the hub site area is car-free outdoor public space, with a new and well-lit walking and cycling link to connect the green into Ancoats to increase community usage and improve public safety.
“As a place maker and developer, it is critical that Manchester Life responds to the future needs of the neighbourhood,” said Marty Edelman, executive chairman of Manchester Life. “We took this approach when we formed Manchester Life in 2014, and the neighbourhood has since become an incredible community brought to life by its people and businesses.
“Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most critical developments in Ancoats, and I hope other neighbourhoods take it as a blueprint to do things better”
“As we think about the future needs of Ancoats, its road limitations, and overlay with the city’s climate response and transport priorities, the need for a mobility hub is clear. This is a bold project that will improve life on day one and set the future of Ancoats on a sustainable path.”
The hub would be located on land owned by the city council and currently occupied by low-rise warehouse units adjacent to Ancoats Green, which is the shortest and least disruptive route for vehicles to enter and leave the neighbourhood from Oldham Road.
The plans directly respond to Manchester City Council’s emerging Ancoats Public Realm Strategy, City Centre Transport Strategy, and the 2020 Poland Street Zone Neighbourhood Development Framework.
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