Independent review backs Manchester civil service campus plan
A recent independent review composed by a former publishing executive, has highlighted a North West scheme as an example of the sort of 21st century public service campus which could help relocate 15,000 civil servants out of London over the next five years.
Ian Smith’s review said plans for a civil service campus, (designed by Bennetts Associates) in the Mayfield area of Manchester near Piccadilly Station, could result in significant taxpayer savings if treated as a cross government asset. Mayfield aims to provide an additional 3,500 jobs for Manchester City Region and the North West. Mr Smith’s report and recommendations, which include provision of relocation funding to support schemes like Mayfield, were published alongside the Budget and have been accepted by Government.
He said: “My recommendations should help realise the Mayfield project as they will improve the incentives for Departments to relocate outside of London and strengthen regional influence over Departments’ location decisions.” In his report, Mr Smith said the campus was too large for any one single department so should be viewed as a strategic asset for the whole civil service. It is estimated that 2,500 civil servants would be relocated from the south with a further 2,500 moving to the campus from existing accommodation within the M60 ring.
The findings were welcomed by Regional Minister Phil Woolas. Mr Woolas said: “The Smith report acknowledges the benefits of clusters for civil service relocation, which is good news not just for Manchester and the Mayfield proposals but for the region as a whole. I am currently working closely with Liverpool City Region to put together a proposition which I hope will be similarly attractive to Whitehall based departments and would welcome similar ideas from other areas of the North West.”