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Press Release - Monday 9th January 2023

TreesNotCars have been stirred by the recent news that the Strategic Regeneration Framework for the Former Central Retail Park includes some green space.


After reading through the framework, it highlights that the existing mature trees may not be retained and where possible, street trees and rain gardens will be provided. 


If the redevelopment has to remove existing trees and biodiversity, can the council pledge to replace and increase the number of trees on this site as a minimum?


We need radical ideas, and we need them now. We also need the council to listen to the results of the Family Survey and Future of site Survey conducted by TreesNotCars. We shared the results with Irene Robinson and Bev Craig after meeting with them in May 2022.


“87% of families who responded to our family survey say there’s an urgent need for locally equipped quality play space for children in Ancoats."


“99% say Central Retail Park should include significant green space”


Mayfield Park is great and often cited by councillors, but it’s already too busy without further residential development planned in the near future.


Last year was the hottest on record, and planning for a warmer future should be front and centre when building offices (that will use air conditioning) and creating a significant green public space.


While our suggestions below seem radical, they shouldn’t be. We believe the following should be seriously considered for this framework: 

  1. Play area for families

  2. Trees for urban canopy cover 

  3. Living walls and sky gardens for evapotranspiration

  4. Living movable moss walls (helping clean the air of the illegal levels of pollution generated on Great Ancoats Street)

  5. Some kind of water feature (this has been alluded to in the revised framework)


We worked with the Manchester School of Architecture students on an alternative design for the site whilst taking the council to court to block the plans for the 24/7 charging car park, and they used the data gathered in our local surveys and came up with great ideas. One of them being moveable moss walls.


The new design should prioritise making the area cooler, the air cleaner and being a place for families and residents to enjoy.


One of the TreesNotCars team, Julia, met with Irene Robinson, Labour Councillor for Ancoats & Beswick on Saturday 7th January. She agreed to meet with the TreesNotCars team, including the other ward councillors Majid Dar and Alan Good (Lib Dems).

When asked by Julia, Irene also confirmed that there is still an opportunity to tweak the design of the initial green space size proposed and its landscape/purpose during the consultation period.


We will be attending the consultations and broadcasting the message to locals that the future is warmer and the proposed plans need to be more radical for their future, their children and those who follow behind.


We cite the infamous Tony Wilson quote.

"This is Manchester; we do things differently here. Whether this is down to the musical drum that beats in Manchester’s heart, the latest architecture that adorns our streets, the passion that takes over the city during a football game or the need to be at the forefront of the science and technology industry, Manchester is never one to shy away from being nouveau"


Let’s not shy away from being nouveau with the latest architecture that will adorn the former Central Retail Park, and let's make it future-proof and something to be proud of that other cities will be inspired by.


For now, we will approach this with a healthy dose of scepticism because it’s not a park or “Garden” until it is.


Potential interest from the Government Property Agency

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