Go-ahead for Manchester complex

MANCHESTER Ship Canal Company is to develop a 1 million sq ft shopping and leisure complex at Dumplington, near Manchester, after receiving planning permission from the Environment Secretary, Michael Howard, yesterday.

Shares in the company jumped pounds 3.50 to pounds 20 on the news, which Robert Hough, MSC chairman, described as a great boost for the North-west.

He said work was scheduled to begin on the project in two years' time and the giant complex would take a further two years to complete. Three thousand jobs would be created during construction and a further 6,000 once the centre opened.

The 300-acre site, bounded by Trafford Park, the M63 motorway and the ship canal, is valued at just pounds 15m in MSC's books, but Mr Hough said that it had been revalued with notional planning permission at pounds 50m in November 1990.

The company is to seek a partner for the development, as well as a large retailer to act as an anchor tenant for the complex.

In granting planning permission, Mr Howard accepted the conclusions of an inspector who carried out a reopened public inquiry last June. The original inquiry was held in 1987.