Government plans for Manchester campus move forward with site purchase

Plans for Central Retail Park. Credit: Manchester City Council.
Plans for Central Retail Park. Credit: Manchester City Council. -Credit:Copyright Unknown

Plans for a Government digital campus in Manchester have taken a step forward with the purchase of a five-acre plot of land.

The Government Property Agency (GPA) has exchanged contracts to buy five acres of the former Central Retail Park in Ancoats, from Manchester City Council. It is hoped the site will host the Manchester Digital Campus, a new Government office complex that will bring together a number of Civil Service departments with a focus around digital skills.

Once complete, the digital hub will be home for around 7,000 civil servants.

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Cabinet Office Minister Alex Burghart said: “This latest expansion in Manchester not only represents our ongoing commitment to investing in digital excellence, but also signifies our dedication to contributing positively to the city’s vibrant community and economy.

“We are excited to create more modern and productive work environments in the heart of the city, where civil servants from across the North West can be inspired and take pride in delivering the best possible service to the taxpayer.”

The deal, which is conditional on the proposals getting planning permission, is expected to complete fully next year, with construction set to begin in 2026.

Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The new digital campus, set to be home to 7,000 digital jobs, represents a significant investment that will complement the wider regeneration story that has been unfolding in this part of our city centre for the past two decades. We have worked closely with the GPA to unlock the potential of the former retail site through this development, which will sit aside a new public green space delivered by the council - improving access to the existing Cotton Field Park.”