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MMU plans go ahead despite funding cuts

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is pushing ahead with plans to build the John McAslan + Partners-designed Birley Fields campus in Hulme, despite losing funding from the North West Development Agency (NWDA)

The NWDA, which announced £52 million of spending cuts last week (see below), was contributing £8.5 million to the project’s £120 million cost.

A MMU spokeswoman said: ‘In light of the overall figure, this is a very small amount. As it’s very early days it’s hard to say what the impact will be, but perhaps we’ll look at making small changes to things like the fixtures and fittings.’

When completed the 12ha campus will serve 6,000 students and will complement a second new campus that is being planned at All Saints.

Previous story (29.07.10)

Funding axed on North West projects

Regional development agency funding cut in a bid to lose £52 million from local budget Architecture projects in the North West of England have had their regional development agency (RDA) funding slashed.

The North West Development Agency (NWDA) plans to cut funding for more than 100 projects across the region, in an attempt to cut £52 million from its budget.

Among the projects affected is Haworth Tompkins’ £28 million new-build Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, which will lose around £2.4 million.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, who has been charged with culling the agency’s funding programme, said: ‘The Everyman project is particularly disappointing for us as it was a legacy of the Capital of Culture.’

He continued: ‘It is like a lot of projects which are having to seek alternative funding sources - it’s not going to be easy.’

A spokesperson for Everyman backer Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust said: ‘We are working in a very positive spirit with our other partners and stakeholders - including Arts Council England, Liverpool Vision, The Mersey Partnership and Liverpool City Council - to make sure that this does not affect the momentum or the quality of the redevelopment.’

Meanwhile, Proctor and Matthews’ £225 million Natural Vision project for Chester Zoo has been cut. The project dubbed, ‘the Eden of the North’ was expecting £40 million.

Simon Mann, development director for Chester Zoo, said: ‘The zoo has explored various different income streams and this work will continue.’

Other projects set to suffer include: URBIS’ National Football Museum in Manchester; RTKL’s Talbot Gateway in Blackpool; Carey Jones’ Church Wharf in Bolton; and OMI Architects’ All Souls Church restoration in Bolton.

A spokesperson for OMI Architects said: ‘NWDA provided just a small portion of our [£4.5 million] funding.’


Last month Yorkshire Forward became the first RDA to announce which projects were losing funding - a 100-strong list that included deferred payments for Bauman Lyons Architects’ Tower Works in Holbeck, Leeds.

Postscript

Preston Vision searches for funding

Board members at Preston Vision are attempting to secure alternative funding in a bid to maintain the regeneration body following cuts, it has been revealed.

The agency will lose all its funding by the end of the financial year as a result of the North West Regional Development Agency’s (NWDA) budget cuts.

Preston Vision is one of 30 agencies across the region which will be affected by the moves.

The NWDA has also axed plans to fund more than 100 projects in a bid to slash £52 million of its annual budget.

The cost -cutting measures will see the NWDA stop its £425,000 funding to Preston Vision for its annual budget, which has enabled the agency to work on projects such as the Tithebarn shopping centre.

Agency board members are now searching for alternative sources of funding from March. They are in talks with Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

Chair Malcolm McVicar, also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: ‘Preston Vision is the link between the public and private sector. Without the organisation, it is difficult to see how programmes such as the creation of the central business district - a home to grade A office space designed to attract scores of new companies - will still happen. That sort of development is absolutely essential to the future of this great city and its residents.”

He added: ‘Preston has in recent years been in the top 10 nationwide cities for private sector job creation, with 17,100 jobs created in the 10 years up to 2008. However, if the city is to continue to fulfil its potential, the initiatives currently being co-ordinated by Preston Vision are absolutely essential.’

The cuts come as the government prepares to abolish the nine RDAs, replacing them with local enterprise partnerships.

 

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