A colourful future for Manchester’s city centre economy? Manchester Pride, cancelled this year.
August Bank Holiday weekend is usually Manchester Pride weekend. Approaching 25,000 revellers and thousands more camp-followers party the summer nights away, stimulating the night-time economy in a way only serious fun seekers can.
Last weekend was rather quieter: Pride was cancelled and the city centre was, and remains, fairly peaceful. Just a fraction of the 5.6 million transport journeys Greater Manchester normally sees each day are being undertaken.
Now council officials have released an early indication of the new narrative — their word — which will guide economic recovery for the city. It puts clusters of new property development at its heart.
“The longer term vision is for creating the conditions for high quality investment and development and the development of an inclusive and resilient economy,” a report to councillors said. “This will include upscaling digital skills and tackling digital isolation… and includes proposals for major infrastructure improvement, including digital and low carbon infrastructure.”
The plan will incorporate transformational schemes and key projects under these areas, which will form part of Manchester’s submission to the government’s autumn spending review.
“The narrative and projects will form a strong proposition to government, providing a clear plan for the city to come out of recession as powerfully and as quickly as we can,” with a focus on opportunities in the city centre, the Oxford Road Corridor, North Manchester and Airport City.
Details are revealed in a report by the City Council’s newly appointed Strategic Director (Growth & Development) Louise Wyman to Manchester City Council’s economic scrutiny committee.
The plan is still in its early stages. The ‘narrative’ will be Wyman’s agenda-setting project. Wyman, who began work for the city council in June, is well-connected in central government and will be well-placed to make a case to ministers.
The deadline for submissions to chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review is 24 September.