Manchester City Council has announced that work on Ancoats Green is now underway to create a much-improved city centre park. The park is part of the closing chapter of the regeneration of Ancoats that began more than 20 years ago and will act as a new focal point for the area.
The project is part of a wider public realm investment in Ancoats that will celebrate the industrial and manufacturing heritage of this part of the city centre. The funds are provided through Homes England and Greater Manchester Combined Authority to create the necessary infrastructure within which 1,500 new homes will be brought forward.
The project will include new walking and cycling routes to encourage active travel through the neighbourhood, significant new planting – including new wildflower areas and wetland planting – and a diverse array of trees.
Community is central to the investment. The high quality multi-functional green space will provide amenities for existing and future generations, including new play areas with accessible equipment, open grassed areas, generous footpaths and space for hosting small events.
As a nod to the history of the site, once central to the flint glass works district of Ancoats, the entrances to the space will include design features that reference its industrial past.
The Green will also create a seamless route from the Council’s This City affordable housing scheme on Rodney Street (One Ancoats Green) from north Manchester through to the new Mobility Hub and city centre beyond.
Ancoats’ green transformation will include:
- 1380m2 of new planting
- 3650m2 of wildflowers
- 290m2 wetland planting
- 76% net increase in trees – any trees removed (either due to disease or those with a limited life span) will be replaced 2:1
- A wide variety of trees will also be chosen to add colour and interest through different seasons
- Highly sustainable design – at least 30% of new surfaces will be made from reclaimed materials to create a permeable drainage system
Granite paving stones removed from Albert Square (as part of the ongoing Our Town Hall project) will be lovingly reused at Ancoats Green, celebrating the city’s story and reducing the carbon footprint of the development.
Supporting wildlife has also been a key consideration and so increasing biodiversity to encourage new species to the Green through planting of native and fruit trees – including an avenue of cherry trees – as well as the wildflower and wetland areas.
The majority of the existing trees will be retained and any that do need to be removed due to age or disease will be replaced 2:1.
Homes England has committed £28.1m to the overall project – along with the Mobility Hub – which, combined with the £4.7m allocated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority through the Brownfield Housing Fund, brings the total budget to £32.7m.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Bev Craig, said: “Ancoats and New Islington – and Miles Platting to the north – are proving incredibly popular places to live and it’s not surprising as a city centre location close to jobs, services and entertainment, alongside excellent transport links.
“We also know that more and more people are choosing to have families in the city centre and we have an opportunity through this investment to create a new green heart for Ancoats with open grassed spaces and new play park that will allow the community grow and knit around it.
“This is part of a long-standing and long-term commitment that we have to make Manchester a greener, more attractive and cleaner place to live. We are committed to creating more high-quality green spaces for residents and visitors and this project is echoed by green investment across our city – including throughout or Victoria North programme, as well as the former Central Retail Park and our new Mayfield Park.
“Ancoats Green will be the focal point that this neighbourhood needs, becoming the lynchpin of the ongoing development in the area – and the final chapter on the regeneration of Ancoats over the last two decades.”
Ross Miller-Green, Senior Manager – Infrastructure Grants Project Management at Homes England, said:
“It is great to see that work has started on the Ancoats Green project. Homes England has allocated over £28m towards the regeneration of the back of Ancoats, creating the UK’s first ever mobility hub and transforming Ancoats into the green heart of the community. The development of Ancoats Green will provide an exemplary community asset and set the tone for the high quality and sustainable Ancoats neighbourhood that will follow.”
Anna Marohn, Principal Landscape Architect at Planit, says:
“The re-greening of Manchester is a hugely important project for Manchester City Council and Planit are proud to be part of the team. Ancoats Green is another major step towards creating a blend of urban vibrance and the tranquility of the natural world.
“This new development will form the beating green heart of this area, connecting existing and future communities. Engaging with the local community early in the design process was important to ensure that we’ll deliver a park that works for them and is fully inclusive and accessible. The final play area will benefit from accessible roundabouts, slides, and trampolines.”
Richard Line, Director of Virtual Planit, adds:
“It’s hard for people to get a feel for the Ancoats Green enhancements ahead of it being built. Our CGIs have really helped the Ancoats community and Council to visualise the changes – bringing to life how beautiful the landscaped park will be and creating a sense of excitement around the new equipment their children can play on.”