At the centre of the Enterprise Zone is Manchester Airport, the busiest in the UK outside of London and the only true international gateway to the whole of the north of England. Passenger traffic at Manchester is projected to double by 2030, from 20 million today to 40 million. Such increased activity generates significant ancillary employment growth, not only in passenger related services but in a wide range of logistics associated with air freight.
The increasing connectivity of the airport to the UK, European and international destinations significantly adds to the attractiveness of adjacent locations for businesses whose personnel and customers depend on convenient air travel. The transport infrastructure support required for these increased travel volumes will also serve to generate employment opportunities in surrounding locations within that catchment area. Increased airside activity supports and serves increased landside development and, in a virtuous circle, such new landside development generates increased activity for airside carriers.
Airport City draws on the successful experience of a number of existing or emerging global and European airport cities. The relevant examples include Barcelona, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam Schipol, and the proposals for the new Berlin airport; all of which offer rich precedents from which to draw and for Manchester to interpret in its own unique fashion. Airport City consists of a number of parcels to the north of the airport terminals. Not all the potentially available sites in this general area are included within the Enterprise Zone – priority has been given to the sites where development can be anticipated in a reasonably short period of time and where planning and infrastructure risks are minimal.
The essential concept for Airport City is of a high-quality business destination, an advanced manufacturing district and a location for hotels and other support services for Manchester Airport. At the centre of the district is a major transport hub served by Metrolink and rail and by numerous local and regional bus services. All the employment areas are within easy and weather-moderated walking distance of the hub and of the airport terminals, while a new “green bridge” will facilitate movement across the M56 spur. Airport City is a high-value, high-intensity district with a strong identity and presence, easily accessible and highly visible it will form the core of the Enterprise Zone. It is designed to attract national and international enterprises that can take advantage of the location in the heart of the North West and of the UK and the international connectivity provided by the airport.
World logistics hub consists primarily of a large land parcel to the south of the airport terminal. Sites in this area provide uniquely convenient logistics facilities with varying degrees of direct access to the airport apron and cargo handling areas. It is conceived as a logistics district offering a full range of air-to-road transfer, assembly and processing activities. A highly functional zone offering efficient goods handling, storage and mode change, World Logistics hub will have carefully specified design and layout requirements, most important among them being access to the M56 and the Airport’s cargo handling facilities.
The University hospital of South Manchester (UHSM) is at the centre of a number of initiatives that can take advantage of sites for the creation of a medical and related services complex as well as general business activity. UHSM is a world-class research hospital and the centre of clinical excellence. It is supported academically by the University of Manchester and is fundamentally driven by three core elements: clinical research and education. MediPark will be an internationally significant health and biotech commercial enterprise directly linked to UHSM and the leading edge research and innovation of the Manchester Academic Health Services Centre.
The opportunity has been recognised jointly by UHSM, Manchester City Council and Manchester Airports Group to build upon the well-established concentration of health research, learning and clinical expertise. Manchester MediPark will create a catalyst for growth within the Manchester City Region, which has the ability to make a significant contribution to the UK’s science and innovation agenda. Land to the immediate south of the hospital site is available for the development of the first phase of MediPark and to the immediate north is the Roundthorn Industrial Estate, which offers a number of parcels included within the Enterprise Zone and there is a near-term opportunity to create new business floor space on the site, principally in the hospital and medical ancillary support services sector.
Rowlands Way is the retail, office and community heart of Wythenshawe district that is situated to the north of the core of Airport City. The successful development of the Airport City and MediPark concepts will greatly expand the current local role of this district centre as it supports and takes advantage of the economic energy generated by these two core initiatives. Rowlands Way is conveniently located and has the ability and capacity to provide a range of employment space for many of the secondary office and support services generated by the wider Airport City concept, from offices and commercial activity to assembly, food processing and other airport support services.
The generally increasing level of activity anticipated in the Enterprise Zone will also act as a stimulus to the retails and restaurant activity in the town centre. Both existing underutilised buildings and several sites for new development are available to absorb this new demand. The Metrolink extension will reinforce the area’s importance as a district centre and provide important connections both south to the airport and north to the City Centre.
Atlas Business Park is located to the north east of the airport on the site of the former Ferranti factory and is part developed as a business park. With further land available and planning permission already in place on the site there is therefore a near-term opportunity to realise Enterprise Zone benefits from bringing forward and delivering consented works on the site. Offices are geared to occupation by businesses requiring ready access to local and regional markets and the airport.
Further development of this site with uses complementary to the presence of the airport, Airport City and MediPark will strengthen the corridor of successful business parks, which include Concorde and Ringway parks. One further small site, owned by Emerson Properties makes up the Enterprise Zone area. The site and buildings sit on Thorley Lane, adjacent to the Etrop Court Hotel and in close proximity to land designated to support Airport City.