Ancoats has often been referred to as the world’s first industrial suburb where large mills for the cotton industry were built, alongside other industrial buildings, housing, workhouses and community facilities. Built on a street grid planned in the late 18th century, Ancoats was a busy, cosmopolitan place until the early 20th century. Economic decline and depopulation after 1930 left Ancoats vacant, neglected and forgotten. The few industrial buildings which formed Ancoats’ character remain and are now protected by Listed status.

The Ancoats Urban Village Company (now part of New East Manchester Ltd) was established to promote Ancoats and facilitate its development as a mixed use area, making full use of its potential, both in terms of its architectural and historical heritage and its location adjacent to Manchester city centre.

A Public Realm Strategy was commissioned in 2001, and a Public Realm Implementation Plan  began in 2004. Since then several phases including the streetscape of most streets within Ancoats, changes to the Traffic Regulation Orders, two public squares and the integration of artworks, have been implemented or are underway today.

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