Green space planned for Ancoats' Central Retail Park development

Manchester City Council has revamped its plans for the former shopping destination.

By Emma Davidson | 13 December 2022

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Back in 2019, Ancoats residents rallied together to express their disappointment upon hearing that the Central Retail Park site – which once housed Toys R Us – was set to be transformed into another car park.

After staging protests and putting forward a petition that gained over 12,000 signatures, it was this week announced that the council is now proposing a ‘green space’ as part of its plan for the site. 

Located on Great Ancoats Street, the development was snapped up by the council back in 2019 for a price in the region of £37m. 

Since, there has been much debate as to what should be done with the space, with local skateboarders repurposing the space into a makeshift skate park as it has lain empty.

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In 2020, the council proposed that the Central Retail Park development would be a commercial-led development featuring 1m sq ft of offices, including a 30-storey tower. 

This has now changed to also include several buildings and an area of green space dubbed the ‘Garden’, aimed at “creating a vibrant destination for employees and visitors alike”, the council said. 

It will focus on the delivery of high-quality architecture and urban design, as well as new and improved links and permeability for pedestrian and cycle routes, according to the report.

Subject to the approval of the updated Central Retail Park and the completion of the scheme, the site could generate up to 8,000 jobs.

Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig teased an update on Central Retail Park when speaking to Subplot last week.

Image / council documents

She said: “The former Central Retail Park is a key site and one of the final pieces of the puzzle in the long-term regeneration story of New Islington, which has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the city.

“For decades the site has created a physical barrier between Great Ancoats Street and the growing community around New Islington Marina. Developing this site will create a new public link through to the existing Cotton Field Park behind and create a green space at the heart of the low-carbon commercial district.”

An eight-week consultation on plans for the site will begin in early 2023.