UK Work on new £350million arena next to the Etihad could start in weeks last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Bosses they "can't wait to get started" with the operators of the existing arena now considering their options
Breaking News ! Work on a new indoor music and sports arena in east Manchester could begin in a matter of weeks it has been revealed after plans were given the green light today. Proposals for a "world class" 23,500 capacity venue next to the Etihad Stadium, which would become the biggest of its kind in the UK, were approved by the council's planning committee on Thursday afternoon. And pending final confirmation from national planning authorities, the company behind the project say they hope to begin work as early as November, creating 3,350 jobs during the three-year construction phase, at least 1,000 of which would go to local people. A further 1,000 jobs would be created once it opens, currently projected to be in 2023, the Oak View Group (OVG) said. However the operators of the existing Manchester Arena, recently renamed the AO Arena, said they believed the decision would have a "significantly adverse impact" on both their venue and the city centre and had put their own expansion and redevelopment plans "in jeopardy." They added they were now considering their options. How the inner bowl of the arena could look (Image: The Oak View Group (OVG)) OVG last year began carrying out feasibility studies into a new venue on a 4.4 hectare piece of land bordered by the Ashton Canal, Alan Turing Way and Joe Mercer Way on the Bradford side of the Etihad Campus, which is currently used as overspill car parking. They canvassed opinion of those living nearby and held over 50 community and public consultation events before plans were formally submitted just before lockdown in March. Reacting to today's decision Tim Leiweke, OVG’s co-founder and Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted that Manchester City Council has given our proposals the go-ahead, and we can’t wait to get started, bringing a £350million private investment, creating thousands of jobs, and delivering one of the world’s best arenas to this amazing city. “I want to say a huge thank you to the community for taking the time to listen to what we had to say and providing feedback that ensured this arena is of Manchester, for Manchester and by Manchester.” Read More Related Articles How to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest headlines from the M.E.N. Read More Related Articles Rishi Sunak has 'turned his back' on hospitality with his winter economy plan, says Sacha Lord The planning meeting, held via video conference today heard that the £350million injection was an “unprecedented private investment” in the city and that it had not been affected by the Covid-19 crisis and the current suspension of live events. And councillors representing the surrounding areas said they believed it was a much needed economic boost for the area. Ancoats and Beswick ward councillor Majid Dar said residents he had spoken to had "in general welcomed the investment” in the area and that he believed it would bring “significant benefits to the whole of East Manchester.” Miles Platting and Newton Heath councillor John Flanagan said: "East Manchester is one of the most deprived parts of the city. A local councillor said the plans were a 'beacon of light" for the area (Image: The Oak View Group (OVG)) "We still have some of the highest levels of unemployment, early deaths and so on. "This is a beacon of light to our area. A very big, tangible investment." ASM Global, who operate the Manchester Arena, had previously said they feared a rival venue could force them out of business and produced their own market analysis which they said demonstrated this. However OVG submitted analysis which they said showed the city could sustain two arenas and the meeting was told independent analysis commissioned by the council concurred with this. Council planning officer Dave Roscoe said: "The evidence that has been presented and the independent analysis we have done does suggest very clearly that two arenas could operate successfully within the area. "The market assessment is a proper planning consideration, it's been a major part of this planning application and that's why there's been such a focus on it today. "The applicant has produced a detailed assessment and the existing operator who has objected to the application has produced one that comes to a different conclusion.
.4 hectare site on the Etihad Campus is currently used as overspill car parking
(Image: STEVE ALLEN)
"That's why we have gone out and got the independent advice and that has told us that based on a relatively conservative growth forecast there is sufficient market share available for the existing arena to be retained and for the new arena to be developed." On the existing arena's concerns Coun Flanagan said: "I understand where they are coming from. "I would be nervous if I ran that business, and we have to bear that mind. "But I have an ambition for this city that we don’t just have the Manchester Arena and I think we can grow with two arenas.
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"This does not work if Manchester Arena goes out of business, I have looked at the documents and I don’t believe that will happen. "But it’s up to us to work with them and make sure we have two arenas not just one." Concerns were raised about parking and potential clashes with Manchester City matches. Council officers said OVG had agreed to fully fund a residents' parking scheme and that they only anticipated around 15-20 clashes with football matches a year, adding special measures such as staggered finishing times would be put in place on those days. Its unlikely a music event would start and end at the same time as a football match” Mr Roscoe said. Councillors voted to approve the plans, with eight votes in favour and just one abstention. Hapurhey councillor and town hall city centre spokesman Coun Pat Karney tweeted afterwards it was a "monumental and historic decision." Documents submitted ahead of the meeting revealed a request has been made to the secretary of state to 'call in' - essentially take over consideration of the application.
The new arena would have its own bars, retail concessions and lounges
(Image: The Oak View Group (OVG))
The application and notice of the council's decision will be now sent to the national planning policy unit and they will make a recommendation to the secretary of state as to whether it should be called in. However this is normally reserved for applications of national significance and an OVG insider said they believed such a move would be unlikely. The company say the new arena will be a "best-in-class sustainable venue, with renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low carbon technologies integral to the design." Illuminated by LED lights on its facade, and with removable seating in its bowl, they say it will be accompanied by its own "supporting retail and leisure offer" including bars, retail concessions, pop-up retail spaces, hospitality spaces and lounges.
The new arena will sit at the side of the Ashton Canal
(Image: STEVE ALLEN)
They have previously said they will be "aggressive" in trying to bring all the biggest events to the city such as tennis, Boxing, mixed martial arts (MMA), ice hockey and basketball, as well as big music tours. In March ASM announced their own plans to increase the capacity of the Manchester Arena to 24,000 as part of a big upgrade. They said in a statement after the meeting: "We are, of course, wholly disappointed in today’s decision, which we feel completely negates the concerns of both ourselves and many key city centre stakeholders. "These concerns are backed by compelling evidence that shows there is simply no market for a second major arena in Manchester. "This decision will have a significantly adverse impact for our existing arena, and the wider city centre businesses and attractions it supports. "Fundamental questions remain as to whether this is truly the right choice for Manchester, particularly in the current climate. "It also places plans to redevelop and transform Manchester Arena – currently submitted for approval and supported by over 7,000 in Greater Manchester – in jeopardy. "We are considering our position, and will review all options to ensure the future of Manchester Arena, and our city centre economy, is secured, despite the pressures posed by the approval of this application."