Atom Valley plan for thousands of jobs to take a major step forward

Date published: 06 July 2022

A once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the economy and create jobs in the north east of Greater Manchester is about to take a major step forward.

A Mayoral Development Zone (MDZ) is being proposed for parts of Bury, Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton and Oldham to boost growth and help to create a more balanced economy across the city region.

To be called Atom Valley, the MDZ will include a number of sites that will have the potential to accommodate around 1.6 million sq m of new employment space, generating around 20,000 quality jobs with 7,000 homes.

It is proposed that Atom Valley will be supported by significant investment in sustainable transport and other infrastructure to ensure that the new jobs are accessible to local residents.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Atom Valley will be the key to unlocking the huge economic potential of Greater Manchester as a world leader in research and innovation.

"The Mayoral Development Zone that we’re proposing will allow us to work better together with Bury, Rochdale and Oldham, national agencies and the private sector to accelerate our plans for the North of the conurbation, and support the kind of sustainable growth that will benefit our people and places.

“To really level up we need to be building an innovative, inclusive economy fit for the future – one that will provide good employment opportunities for people here and be recognised globally for its strengths.

"Atom Valley will be right at the heart of this vision, delivering the world-class infrastructure, the high-quality jobs, and the investment opportunities needed to make this the engine room of Greater Manchester’s next industrial revolution.”

The zone is focused on three sites: the Northern Gateway (which straddles Bury and Rochdale near the M66 and M62); Kingsway Business Park in Rochdale; and Stakehill in Rochdale and Oldham.

The three councils, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), are being asked to approve the creation of the MDZ and how it will be coordinated in the coming weeks.

Governance arrangements including the formation of a MDZ Board will be established to ensure the necessary infrastructure and investment is secured to realise the full potential and aspirations of the area.

Bury Council will be the first to consider the plans when its cabinet meets next Wednesday (July 13).

With a focus on areas of specialisation such as advanced manufacturing, machinery and materials, Atom Valley is set to be a HQ of innovation, research and collaboration, and a nationally significant inward investment location.

Creating an MDZ is seen as crucial in speeding up the process of levelling up, with the three councils and the GMCA able to put together business plans, work together and attract external funding.

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, leader of Oldham Council, said: “We are committed to ensuring plans for regeneration and housing in Oldham continue at pace.

“Atom Valley will increase access to exciting opportunities for our residents including well paid, sustainable jobs and will support the wider regeneration already taking place across the borough.

“We are delighted to be working with our neighbours to unlock investment and build on Oldham’s proud history as a town of innovation.”

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