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Manchester arts centre The Factory recommended for planning approval

Plans look set to be approved for a major new arts centre and cultural hub in Manchester.

City council planning officers have recommended the 130,000 sq ft project, dubbed The Factory, for approval when councillors meet next week.

Plans were submitted in November 2016 for the £110m scheme, which has been designed by Dutch architects OMA. The Factory is OMA’s first public project in the UK.

The building would have a capacity of 7,000 people and sit on the site of the current Starlight Theatre on Water Street in Manchester city centre.

Anticipated for completion in 2019, it is intended to serve as the permanent home for the Manchester International Festival, which is currently spread across a number of venues in the city.

The government committed £78m to the project in 2014’s Autumn Statement, with Manchester City Council contributing the remaining funds.

The Factory will also receive further goverment funding of £9m per year from 2018/19.

It will form part of the St John’s development on the site of the former Granada TV Studios, which is being developed by Allied London in partnership with the city council.

Other parts of the St John’s masterplan to go through the planning process include a 51-storey building at St John’s Place, which was given the green light in October last year.

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