Guest blog by Hayley Fielden, Principal Planning Officer, Development Team Salford City Council

Embankment Greengate  supporting Salford's super-growth agenda

Salford’s City Council’s Development Team is tasked with maximising economic growth in the city.  As a team of doers, in a Council that delivers, we are busier than ever. Focused on delivering the homes, jobs, open spaces and infrastructure the city needs to thrive. 

Salford is on a huge growth trajectory.  This proud, historic city is changing rapidly, dramatically and positively. The business base continues to diversify and grow, new industries have been attracted, employment and population numbers are on the rise.   The economic indicators for the next twenty years and beyond are positive.  Salford has much to look forward to.  It’s Salford’s time!

This is in no small part as a result of Salford successfully attracting billions of pounds of investment in the last decade.  The Development Team are strong advocates of working in collaboration with a range of partners and Salford has a well deserved reputation as being open for business.
 
The fabulous Embankment Scheme and the associated regeneration partnerships across the wider Greengate area sum up, in my view, all that is good about Salford’s entrepreneurial spirit and creative, problem solving approach to regeneration.

Greengate is a place which has real tangible strengths; from its historic importance, heritage assets, connectivity and excellent location overlooking Manchester’s Cathedral and Retail Quarters.  Yet in spite of these positives, the area has until recent years been over-looked, under-used and functioned primarily as surface car parking.  Hardly a fitting use for the grand Old Exchange Railway Station, famous at one time for having the longest railway platform in the world!

Through numerous leaps of faith and bringing people together, the Council secured funding in 2007 to kick start the development programme in Greengate.  This resulted in the delivery of the new footbridge spanning the River Irwell and the fabulous Greengate Square.  It is around this new public realm which four major residential and commercial schemes, including Embankment, are progressing. 

As of Spring 2016, there are 3,422 residential units, 263 serviced apartments and 400,000 sq ft of commercial space either under construction or recently consented in and around Greengate.

This is a huge pipeline of development in such a geographically small area.  The physical form of Greengate will soon be unrecognisable, as the area becomes a new high density, urban neighbourhood.  Manchester’s skyline and perceived edge of the city will be transformed.
 
The partnerships we have nurtured and created in Greengate are in good shape to deliver the vision and huge growth coming forward in the area.  The relationships we have built mirror the types of partnership we have across other areas in the city.  Yet, somehow, in my view, there is just something that little bit extra special about Greengate.  Maybe it’s the location, maybe it’s because it is the birthplace of medieval Salford, maybe it’s the huge potential it offers just metres from some of the city centre’s finest cultural, retail and leisure assets. 

Probably though I find Greengate so special because it’s on the cusp of changing so dramatically.  Dramatic change always brings interesting questions for urbanists to consider... What economic, cultural and social activity will define Greengate in the future? Who will call it home? How do we maximise and protect the remaining heritage assets?  How will we deliver and manage the next phase of planned public realm - Greengate Park?  Who will use the Park and who will pay for it? 

Whilst there are some unknowns to be worked through, one thing is absolutely clear.   The Council, our partners and others across Salford, recognise that Greengate deserves a strong identity in this city and beyond.  There is a real commitment and desire to make the most of all Greengate offers.  

The Embankment scheme is a critical element of the new Greengate neighbourhood and as such it is incredibly rewarding to be involved with such a significant project. 

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