George Osborne reveals Manchester 'Airport City' plans

George Osborne
Image caption Airport City will be located within the Manchester Enterprise Zone

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has unveiled plans for Manchester Airport's £659m business park which could create 13,000 jobs.

The Airport City scheme aims to offer high quality premises to entice international companies that would not previously have moved to the area.

Manchester City Council said the "innovative" scheme would boost the UK and local economy.

Airport City will be the focal point of the new Manchester Enterprise Zone.

'Global connectivity'

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has compiled the plans for the 150-acre "international business centre".

It would be sited north of the M56 and south of Wythenshawe in the enterprise zone.

This has been created by the government and will offer business rate discounts, simplified planning and access to super-fast broadband in order to boost economic growth.

Mr Osborne said the project was "good for Manchester, good for the North West and good for Britain".

"Although there are two dozen Enterprise Zones across the country, I think it's fair to say that this is actually one of the best developed, most advanced of any of the 24 schemes.

"Enterprise Zones in the past have been tried in areas where there is very limited economic growth and they've been used to kick start economic activity. And they've had a mixed record.

"What we wanted to do is go with something that was already working. And obviously, with the success of MAG and with this site where 20,000 people are employed, this is exactly what we wanted."

John Atkins, Airport City director for MAG, said it would be the first site of its kind in the UK and would follow successful European models.

He said: "Airport City will build upon the global connectivity of Manchester Airport and create an international business destination to compete with similar locations in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

"Our target market will be global businesses who are seeking highly connected locations and we must ensure we have a first class product in order to attract them here."


Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Airport City will provide an innovative and complementary offer to Greater Manchester's existing assets adding new capacity to the city's existing dynamic economy."

There will be two zones in the development - the first adjacent to the airport's existing railway station will focus on hotels, offering up to 2,500 beds, offices, retail sites and manufacturing premises.

The second zone will be adjacent to the existing cargo centre at junction six of the M56 and will feature freight and logistics facilities.

There are also plans for a central business district and a central park, featuring pavilions and an event space as well as retail outlets, coffee houses, bars and restaurants.

Subject to planning permission, MAG is hoping to start work on the first stage in the spring.

This will involve building roads and 1.85 million sq ft of new business space.

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