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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
65m boost for 'Little Italy'
Ancoats is a rundown area but was the world's first industrial suburb
A 65m plan to transform a rundown area of Manchester into a World Heritage Site is to be unveiled.

Developers are planning to preserve cotton mills in the city's Ancoats area - which is known as "Little Italy" because of the numbers of Italian immigrants who lived and worked there.

International property firm ING Real Estate want to repeat the success of a similar scheme at Liverpool's Albert Dock.

Work on restoring the Grade Two-listed Georgian and Victorian buildings as part of the Royal Mills project began this week.

The company plans to restore four of the most important spinning mills - from an era when Ancoats was the epicentre of the global cotton industry - during a three-year renovation programme at the Royal Mills complex.

Place in history

ING said the restoration would be sensitive and added the area - the first in Greater Manchester to be shortlisted for nomination as a World Heritage site - had immense historical significance.

Industrial archaeologist Steve Little, who is advising ING, said: "Royal Mills is one of the most important spinning mills in Manchester.

"Sadly, the significance of its place in history has not been recognised in recent years until now.

"But new life will be breathed into the buildings, creating a modern-day version of the vibrant and internationally-recognised community which lived there a century ago."

The project is being supported by the North West Development Agency, New East Manchester Ltd and Manchester City Council.

Ian Pearce, chief executive at ING Real Estate, said the development would "create a thriving and sustainable community in a truly mixed development, which will appeal to residents, visitors and businesses alike."

The regeneration Games?
28 Jul 03  |  Manchester
14m plan for deprived area
22 Jan 03  |  England
400m regeneration of rundown areas
06 Nov 02  |  England
Choppy ride for Little Italy
05 Apr 02  |  England

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