Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester agree plan to build developments around six major stations

Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester have announced a “landmark” new partnership to drive regeneration schemes at six of the city’s biggest train stations.

The agreement, the first of its kind between the pair, aims to bring land, infrastructure and investment together to build new commercial developments and housing.

Manchester is currently the fastest growing metropolitan area in the UK with a populations which is set to hit three million in the next decade, with the City of Manchester accounting for more than a third of this growth.

Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester Piccadilly, one of the six stations included in the agreement

The two organisations said they will work with HS2, local authorities, private investors and developers on new schemes, which will also include station upgrades and new public realm.

They will include proposals at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road, Deansgate, Salford Central and Salford Crescent, which are all major stations located in the urban core of Greater Manchester.

Network Rail group property director Robin Dobson said the deal was a “landmark moment for Manchester and Salford”.

“The partnership will leverage our combined resources and skills to unlock commercial regeneration opportunities surrounding stations and support infrastructure upgrades. 

“We look forward to working closely with both local authorities and key stakeholders to accelerate development delivery of homes, workspace, leisure and community benefits, which over the coming decade will provide a positive impact for the region.”

Transport for Greater Manchester head of rail Simon Elliot added: “As two of the most significant landowners in Manchester, it makes sense for our organisations to work together. 

“We are looking to combine our efforts to deliver more infrastructure and transportation value, whilst delivering homes that benefit local communities as well.”

Over the next months, the two organisations will draw up a plan for five shared goals.

These will be the creation of an integrated transport system to reduce reliance on cars, maximising development around stations, a placemaking strategy to make each station a destination, prioritising net zero and improving accessibility.

Manchester has been locked in talks with the government this year over how to build the city’s HS2 station, which will link with the high speed line’s route to Crewe.

Current proposals would see a six-platform surface station at Manchester Piccadilly costing around £7bn, although the city’s mayor Andy Burnham has called for a more expensive £12bn underground station.

Burnham has argued his plan would make it easier to travel between Liverpool and Leeds and would not require a viaduct running through prime city centre development land.

The calls have been backed by influential regional business leaders the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, along with London mayor Sadiq Khan and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.