SkyscraperCity Forum banner

Open Space in Central Manchester

7172 Views 82 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  SleepyOne
A common complaint is the lack of high quality open space, particularly green open space in Manchester City Centre. Whilst the city does boast many well designed spaces there appears to be a general feeling that there is not nearly enough - especially given the dense and intensive way the city is developing.

The problem is exacerbated by the characteristically narrower streets in Manchester and the tightly packed central core. Added to this the extremely poor design solution afforded to Piccadilly Gardens and planning blunders such as the Arndale Centre extension which has grossly extended a much loathed shopping centre rather than persuing a streets-and-squares strategy.

Here is the council's response to the problem, prompted by a question posed by a member of the public on their website.......

I think we all agree that open space in a city is very important. The problem is that the tight grain of the City's historic street and development pattern coupled with high land values makes it impossible for the City Council to create new areas of open space in isolation.

However, particularly through our regeneration initiatives, we take every opportunity to add to open space provision in the City Centre and this has made a huge contribution to Manchester's renaissance.. The works in the City Centre Renewal Area, particularly Exchange Square and Cathedral Gardens, the Piccadilly Regeneration Initiative, Spinningfields, Great Northern and Castlefield have added considerably to open space provision in the City Centre. We will aim to ensure that future regeneration strategies at Southern Gateway and within the 'Arc of Opportunity' as part of Manchester: Knowledge Capital, make similar contributions.

In addition to this we have upgraded existing schemes and, through pedestrianisation, created areas such as St.Ann's Square, Albert Square, the Peace Gardens, Market St, King St, and Brazennose St. We also have a programme to upgrade existing green areas of the City Centre at Parsonage Gardens, Sackville Park and St. Johns Gardens. We take every opportunity to plant new street trees in the City Centre and attempt to accommodate them in new developments and to create walkways along our rivers and canals.

There are a number of large parks which are within easy walking/ travelling distance of the City Centre such as Hulme Park, Phillips Park, Alexandra Park, and Heaton Park, all of which provide quality resources for City Centre residents.

I think that the way we use the available space in our city is very important. We are attempting to reduce the amount of vehicles in the City Centre by encouraging modal shift to other forms of transport such as buses, walking, cycling and of course, Metrolink. If we are successful in these initiatives we should have a win/win outcome - a thriving, vibrant city but with more of our street space available for use as social space.

27 January 2005

What are people's ideas and aspirations in relation to this problem? Personally I would have liked the council, for once to take an intelligent, long term and strategic view and create a large edge-of-city-centre park like they have at Eastside in Birmingham. Unfortunately with projects like Eastgate set to send land values in Picc Basin skyrocketing and the failure of the council to undertake any kind of long term planning for the area, this opportunity may have passed us by forever. It would also be nice if they took more care with planning decisions which has meant our largest and most important piece of open space - Piccadilly Gardens is aflicted by the worst design solution in the city. Ill conceived and poorly excecuted. Clearly there is plenty of hard, careful work to be done.

So! Thoughts, ideas, opportunities please! We all want an uplifting, liveable city to be proud of. Urban design considerations and particularly the issue of quality open spaces urgently needs to be addressed if Manchester is to continue to attract people and prosper.
See less See more
81 - 83 of 83 Posts

At present one of the poorer quality streets in the city centre but what a lot of wasted space! Two lanes either side with a central reservation. Madness. Is there a sound reason why it cannot be reduced to one lane in each direction like Deansgate with an expanded tree-lined pavement area on each side?

There is also a rather nasty kink in the road outside the Portland Tower. I would like to see Portland Tower and the CIS building built out to re-establish the building line in line with the Brittania Hotel and the Princess Hotel. There are some brilliant buildings on Portland Street (and some terrible ones) but the street has plenty of potential and could be improved wholesale by sorting out the messy public realm.
See less See more
I may be repeating myself here sleepy but Portland Tower and the other one (CIS - dont know its name nowadays), as well of the Bank of England and Picc Plaza across the road, were placed where they are in anticipation of Portland Street becoming a six lane highway, hence the 'set back'.
You think its bad now...........!
I agree with you - it would be a bold but wise move to reduce the road size for the benefit of pedestrians.
See less See more
Irwell City Park

Further to Potato Man's post.

Project inches closer to unlocking Irwell City Park

Major plans to unlock the Irwell have reached an exciting phase as The Big Lottery Fund has granted funding for Salford in partnership with Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company, Manchester City Council and Trafford MBC £250,000 to develop a business plan in the second phase of the process.

The announcement follows an assessment from the Big Lottery Fund officers who visited the site in May and agreed that the project captured their imagination, with the potential to transform the waterway and its surroundings into a vibrant and attractive area.

Having submitted a joint bid for £25 million, the local authorities see the vision as an opportunity to restore the Irwell to the heart of the community by rejuvenating this major urban waterway and creating a continuous, walkable river frontage, with pleasant public spaces and a new landmark bridge.

The project is one of 23 UK initiatives that have been shortlisted. A committee of experts in the field of architecture, regeneration and the environment will make a decision on grants to be awarded in September 2007.

Councillor Jim Battle, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "This is a great example of co-operation between Manchester, Salford and Trafford. We are delighted that this exciting project to unlock the potential of the Irwell riverside has been shortlisted. Its regeneration will complement the internationally-significant development of Spinningfields and benefit residents of both cities."

Commenting on the announcement, Leader of Salford City Council, Cllr John Merry said: "The plans for Irwell City Park have immense cultural and historical value as well as massive economic potential. This is an extremely important project and a means of bringing the river back to the heart of the community."

Executive Councillor for Planning Property and Prosperity at Trafford MBC, Cllr Stephanie Poole added: "I'm delighted funding has been granted to develop the business plan for this exciting project. The Irwell City Park Project will create a fantastic Landmark for Greater Manchester that will encourage investment and add real value to our plans to continue to transform our waterfront and Trafford Park. It will allow businesses, residents and visitors alike to enjoy the waterway and its surrounding areas.

Chris Farrow, Chief Executive, Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company said: "The River Irwell is one of Central Salford’s most significant assets and its revitalisation is key to our regeneration framework for the area. For too long we have turned our back on the river and ignored its potential. This project is part of our vision to celebrate and enhance the city’s natural assets to bring economic prosperity and an improved environment for local communities."

Commenting on the shortlist process, George Fergusson PPRIBA, Living Landmarks committee member said: "It is a real challenge having to choose between so many varied and imaginative applications. It often felt like trying to judge between drums and violins, but there was an impressive level of agreement amongst a well-spread committee informed by a thorough assessment process."

Media contact
Roger Williams, tel: 0161 234 3275
See less See more
81 - 83 of 83 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.