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High Speed 2: Bennetts reveals 'urban strategy' for Manchester's Piccadilly station

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Bennetts Associates has drawn up proposals to overhaul 60 ha of land around Manchester’s Piccadilly Station - should High Speed 2 (HS2) go ahead

Billed as a ‘distinctive new urban quarter’, the practice’s plans for the huge tract of land surrounding the potential terminus for the London to Manchester rail link include more than 60,000m² of office space, around 1,300 new homes, several hotels and a new city park.

The so-called Mayfield strategic regeneration framework, which sits alongside proposals to overhaul the existing station (pictured), builds on Bennetts Associates’ earlier ‘Whitehall of the North West’ blueprint prepared for the same area on behalf of the Labour government (see below).

Those plans were shelved following the general election in 2010 and ‘a reduction in the scope for a significant relocation of Government
Departments outside of London and the South East’.

According to a report which is to be debated by Manchester City Council’s executive next week (11 September), the size and location of the earmarked plot ‘presents a major opportunity to create a scale and grain of development that is not possible in other areas of the city centre.’

The document continues: ‘The location of the site next to a major transport interchange, the scale of the public realm proposed by the park, and the importance of creating a vibrant urban destination all suggest that Mayfield can take larger building forms and potentially greater height in order to signpost both the scheme itself, and also the city centre gateway to national and airport-linked rail.’

Previous story (AJ 06.05.2009)

Bennetts win ‘Whitehall of the North West’ project

Bennetts Associates has landed the prize project of drawing up plans for the new ‘Whitehall of the North West’, in Manchester.

The practice has already come up with initial ideas for the civil service campus next to Piccadilly Station which could eventually house up to 5,000 staff as part of a drive to move government jobs out of London.

Currently going through feasibility studies, the 70,000m² development is being hailed as a ‘super-green’ office project and has been set the target of achieving  BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and a rating of ‘A’ on the Energy Performance Certificate.

Practice director Julian Lipscombe said: ‘The scheme will place Government at cutting edge of workplace design and sustainability.

‘We want to capture of the campus concept with a cluster of buildings.’

Lipscombe said there were also proposals to link the development, known as the Mayfield campus, with the station - possibly by high-level bridges.

He added: ‘This is a very significant piece of central Manchester, on old railway land right next to the station. But it is cut off by some major roads and the viaduct and one of the biggest challenges will be ensuring the connectivity.’

The Government hopes to move the first civil servants on to the campus in 2014.

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