The Manchester city council has decided not to proceed with plans to build a new train depot, with a panel of experts rejecting plans to redevelop the area in order to build more stations.
The decision was made in a meeting of the planning and regeneration commission (PHRC) which had been convened to consider the regeneration of the area around Manchester city centre.
The PHRC’s report said it had “strong doubts” that the site for the new depot would be suitable for the job, while the council said it was “not clear” whether the new site would be capable of accommodating the current population density and the existing infrastructure.
Manchester city council says it has no plans to convert old railway station site to train station site in Manchester city Read moreThe committee also said it “does not agree with” the decision to build new stations in the vicinity of the old railway terminus.
The project, originally mooted in the early 2000s, would have included a high-rise station on the former site of the Manchester Central railway station and a pedestrian crossing between the existing station and the proposed new depot.
The council said the “high level of uncertainty” over the future of the site meant the project was “in the best interests of the local area”.
It said that the existing railway station was not suitable for its proposed station and “it would be inappropriate for the proposed station to be redeveloped in line with the current redevelopment plan”.
The council has already announced plans for a new railway station, but it is not yet clear whether the site of this new station will be developed in line the plans.
The report said the existing train station was “comparable” to the existing stations at Manchester Central, which is where it would have been built, but said it did not have sufficient data to evaluate whether it would be able to support an entirely new station.
It said the new station would not be “consistent with the site and layout of the existing Manchester Central station, and would not create a suitable site for a second station at the junction with Manchester Piccadilly”.
Manchester city centre: where is the future station?
(Video: BBC News)The council also said there were “no compelling reasons to retain the existing site” and “no viable alternative plans for development” for the site.
The committee concluded that the best option would be to redevelop part of the former railway station as a community leisure facility, with the remainder remaining on the site as a “transit centre”.
It recommended that the project be stopped for the time being and the “plan for the future” was put to the council for “conclusive consideration”.
A spokesperson for the PHRC said: “There is a significant number of issues that are being looked at for the development of Manchester’s transport network and we will continue to work closely with local community groups and stakeholders to find the best solutions to address these issues.”
The council will now have 30 days to decide whether to proceed, or whether to “re-open the planning application”.