Woodhouse Park residents are to host a meeting this week to discuss the impact of Manchester’s £800 million Airport City plans following a government announcement of a major investment in the project from a Chinese construction group.
Chancellor George Osborne announced, at the start of a five-day visit to promote economic ties between Britain and China, one of the largest ever British-Chinese joint ventures has won the contract to develop the project .
Working with the Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) will join Carillion PLC and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) as funding partners in a Joint Venture to build ‘Airport City’ which is promised to create 16,000 jobs.
But some concerned residents say the project will start with the building of a 9,000 space car park on green belt land, condemining the area to three years of disruption. A public meeting at the the Lifestyle Centre in Woodhouse Park on Thursday (October 17)has been organised to give residents their say.
The government says Airport City’ – one of the largest developments in Europe – will provide more than five million square feet of business space, including manufacturing, warehousing, offices, hotels, retail and leisure outlets across a 160 acre regeneration site and create over 16,000 jobs.
The project will be the largest UK development project since the London 2012 Olympic Games and is a key part of the government-backed Enterprise Zone launched in 2011 to attract international businesses to Manchester.
The Chancellor welcomed the investment at the launch of the Manchester-China Forum at Beijing Airport, the new business-led body set up to promote ties between Manchester and China. ‘Airport City’ will be part of Manchester Airport.
Mr Osborne said: “I am delighted to announce on the first day of my visit to China that joint British-Chinese partners have won the contract to develop Manchester’s Airport City.
“As an MP representing a nearby seat I welcome the new jobs and the opportunities for local businesses that Airport City will create. I am determined that Britain does not repeat the mistakes of past that saw investment and growth only concentrated in the City of London, important as it is; but instead make sure investment from places like China flows to all parts of country.
“Our economic plan is about securing a recovery for all parts of the country.”
But the scheme has not met with everyone’s approval. A small number of objectors to the outline planning application to Manchester City Council raised concerns about he environmental impact on the the area and the effect on local shopping centres.
Objectors also claim the consultation process has been inadequate and are sceptical about the numbers of new jobs the government have claimed the project will create.