A UK First: What is Ancoats' NEW 'Mobility' Centre?

Some people are saying it's just a car park. Are they wrong?

By Ben Brown | Last updated 4 June 2021

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This week saw the submission of planning for a brand-new UK first over in Ancoats – a building called the Ancoats Mobility Hub. But what even is it?

Well, that’s actually a very good question, and something that councillors and planners have struggled to get across ever since it was announced a few months back. Even after reading about this place I’m still a little unsure as to what it is and its role in the city centre.

I’m going to give it a bloody good try though.

Plans for the site between Poland Street and Ancoats Green were brought up back in April as part of a series of projects from Manchester Life, the council and Great Places Housing Group.

The Mobility Hub aims to become a “shared facility that ensures Ancoats grows as a ‘people first’ neighbourhood, with on-street parking removed and vehicle movements through the area reduced.”

So here’s my understanding. It’s essentially a large building which will operate as a hub for vehicle deliveries (suppling the various buildings and venues of Ancoats), as well as a storage warehouse, and cycling hub which will allow people to hire e-bikes and even pick up shared electric cars for travel throughout the area.

Here’s a proposed map of what the building will look like inside…

The plan seems to be to completely pedestrianise most of Ancoats, significantly reducing access for vehicles to most areas, and thus the Mobility Hub allows those vehicles to drop off their goods and then be on their way.

In addition, there’s going to be a place where people can hire e-bikes to travel around the area, as well as a café so you can have a nice cup of tea and watch everything unfold.

Hoping to clear things up a little more, Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said: “The Hub is a UK first. Anyone who thinks this is ‘just another car park’ is massively missing the point.

“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.”

Marty Edelman, executive chairman of Manchester Life, adds: “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.”

For more information on the Mobility Hub head here:

Ancoats Mobility Hub