Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

City Ready to Launch Pounds 1bn Bid to Bring World to Our Doorstep

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

City Ready to Launch Pounds 1bn Bid to Bring World to Our Doorstep

Article excerpt

GREATER Manchester is launching an extraordinary Pounds 1bn bid to host Britain's biggest-ever public event.

We can reveal council bosses want to hold the World's Fair - a vast global exhibition also known as Expo - here in 2025, on land around Ashton Moss in Tameside.

If their bid comes off it could end up being the most-visited event hosted in this country, eclipsing the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and the London Olympics.

Expo is a huge six-month showcase of the best technology, manufacturing, and culture from across the world - while also raising the profile of the host city.

Recent hosts have included Shanghai in China and Milan, Italy, which held the festival last summer.

The half-year extravaganza would draw an estimated 20m visitors to Greater Manchester from across the globe, estimate council insiders, while creating tens of thousands of jobs, permanently upgrading surrounding transport links and adding billions to the local economy.

By comparison, around 10m people bought tickets to events at the London Olympics, while 10m also attended the five-month Festival of Britain in 1951.

Greater Manchester's combined authority of ten councils has been secretly working up the ambitious proposals for around a year in the hope of being chosen to host the UK's bid.

It is asking for around Pounds 1bn for the event - some of it new cash and some in fast-tracked infrastructure investment - to be included in the government's December Budget. The event is likely to cost more than that in total, but the proposals are at a very early stage and private sector cash and sponsorship would also be needed.

The combined authority's plan would see former industrial land around Tameside's Ashton Moss transformed into a gigantic events space from spring 2025.

Further details of the exact site are unclear, but it is understood the proposals were discussed in private by council leaders last Friday. Other sites were also considered but - partly due to the amount of space required and its location near existing transport networks - Ashton Moss was selected as the preferred location.

The Bureau International Des Expositions (BIE), an inter-governmental body in charge of assessing and overseeing the fairs, describes Expo as an event where 'extraordinary exhibitions, diplomatic encounters, business meetings, public debates and live shows take place at the same time. …

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