Ancoats 440-space car park plan approved despite pollution fears

Ancoats retail park Image copyright Google
Image caption The site was formerly home to stores including JD Sports and Toys R Us

Controversial plans to use a former retail park close to a school as a 440-space car park have been approved.

Manchester City Council wants to use the former Central Retail Park on Great Ancoats Street as a car park for two years while future plans are drawn up.

A petition of more than 11,000 signatures was submitted raising concerns about pollution in the area, which is close to homes and shops.

The plans were approved by seven councillors to three.

The council said the move would help generate income and also help relieve parking congestion in the area.

One Ancoats resident spoke at the meeting, describing herself as a "worried parent" of two boys.

She said: "I'm asking you if it's a good idea to put such a polluting hazard next to a primary school especially in 2019 when the world is crying out against fossil fuels."

Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons also voiced concerns.

"I'm voting against this based on the safety of children. It's outrageous," he said.

Councillor John Flanagan thanked the residents for "making a strong case".

"We're in an impossible position as a planning committee, we're tied by rules of planning," he said.

"We're in this situation where we feel that we're tied to approve this."

The council said the site would be used as a car park on an "interim basis", although the authority has not revealed a long-term plan for the land.

A spokesman said a car park would help "generate income" to meet the cost of buying the site and also help "alleviate parking problems in nearby residential neighbourhoods."

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