Plans for a new mobility hub in the Ancoats area of Manchester have been described as ‘tearing up business as usual’ by placing sustainable transport choices at the heart of the community and prioritising streets for people over vehicles.
From the end of 2023 the proposed Ancoats Mobility Hub would operate as a shared facility to ensure Ancoats grows as a 'people first' neighbourhood that prioritises streets for people over vehicles and provides sustainable and shared mobility choices.
The car-free residential hub would see an electric car share club, e-bike scheme, and 150 secure visitor cycle parking spaces with changing facilities to enable the community to switch to sustainable transport modes.
The last-mile delivery depot will see vehicles deliver to the Hub with small electric vehicles then completing the journey to residential developments. This is in response to the dramatic increase in online ordering – currently estimated to be 53 parcels per person per year.
Visitors and commuters will be allowed to use the Hub as on street parking is rationalised but once the Hub is fully occupied by planned housing developments, commuter space will reduce to 7%.
Manchester Life, established in 2014 as a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi United Group and Manchester City Council, say the plans support Manchester's clean air and zero-carbon by 2038 targets by reducing neighbourhood vehicle movements by 1200km per day and providing a market-leading 102 EV charge points, with capacity to convert all 408 parking spaces to EV as demand grows.
The partnership says the Hub will encourage the shift away from petrol and diesel cars and remove the need for private parking within future developments, enabling designers to focus on creating places for people to relax and enjoy. The Hub will also break the traditional link between residential leases and car parking leases, allowing residents to acquire and relinquish a right to a parking space as their circumstances change.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The Hub is a UK first. Anyone who thinks this is ‘just another car park’ is massively missing the point. The purpose of a car park is to park cars. The purpose of the Hub is to help transform the neighbourhood over time, pioneering new ways of getting around and encouraging people to choose greener and healthier transport options. This is about thinking and acting differently.
“We have to recognise that many people who choose to live in the city centre require cars for their daily life and work. But we do want to be very deliberate in making sustainable transport changes easier and more attractive – encouraging the use of electric vehicles, cycles and other forms of active travel while supporting the transition away from petrol and diesel.”
Marty Edelman, executive chairman of Manchester Life, said: “As a place maker and developer, it is critical that Manchester Life responds to the future needs of the neighbourhood. We took this approach when we formed Manchester Life in 2014, and the neighbourhood has since become an incredible community brought to life by its people and businesses.
“As we think about the future needs of Ancoats, its road limitations, and overlay with the city’s climate response and transport priorities, the need for a mobility hub is clear. This is a bold project that will improve life on day one and set the future of Ancoats on a sustainable path.”
Mike Wilton, chair of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership, said: "There is no quick fix for the climate emergency. Everyone needs to make choices about how they live day-to-day with climate change in mind. Travel and mobility within the city are priorities for change.
"We welcome the work to develop plans for the Ancoats Mobility Hub. It needs to enable and encourage people to make those low and zero-carbon travel choices. In particular, we welcome the enhanced provision to support cycling and the neighbourhood delivery depot. This type of facility, and more, will be needed for Manchester to play its fullest part in limiting the impacts of climate change, as set out the Manchester Climate Change Framework."