Communities Secretary Hazel Blears chaired the first meeting of a regeneration taskforce set up to revitalise East Manchester yesterday.

The Regeneration of East Manchester Ministerial Group was set up in the wake of the Government’s decision not to go ahead with regional casinos.

Its aim is to help Manchester City Council and its partners identify and develop a range of regeneration alternatives to regional casino led regeneration for the benefit of East Manchester’.

The group includes the Secretaries of State from eight Government departments as well as the leader of Manchester City Council and chair of the North West Development Agency.

Blears said the group will deliver ‘long term sustainable regeneration in East Manchester and replicate an equivalent number of jobs as the regional casino would have delivered’.

It will aim to implement some of the conclusions reach in the Communities and Local Government Review of Alternative Approaches to regional casino-led regeneration published in February.

Specific projects that the group will consider include the development of Sportcity by unlocking development land as well as investigate the opportunity for transport capacity improvements.

Blears said: ‘This group will help Manchester City Council and its partners to drive forward new jobs, more skills and better transport for our communities. The Government is fully committed to continue the successful regeneration of Manchester well into the future.’