5 October 2016
City of Trees has a plan to transform 330 hectares of green space, located on the edge of Manchester city centre to create City Forest Park
With plans to regenerate the entire site, which is the same scale as New York’s Central Park, City Forest Park will benefit local communities as well as bringing widespread social, environmental and economic impact.
The site borders three local authority areas; Salford, Bury and Bolton and is connected by river, road and cycleway to Manchester city centre.
City Forest Park has been shaped by its industrial past; for centuries it was the site of coal mining, chemical works and manufacturing with the coal–fired Agecroft power station once dominating the skyline.
Following industrial decline of the area, stages of regeneration have taken place. Under the banner of LIVIA (Lower Irwell Valley Integrated Action) it received a boost from the Government-funded ‘Newlands’ programme in 2007, through the Forestry Commission, which helped to create a series of interlinking path networks, and plant thousands of trees.
City of Trees wants to build on this previous investment as the site is under utilised but has incredible potential. It is the largest public green space in Manchester and already has 250,000 trees.
Added to this it has a varied habitat, consisting of woodland, meadow heath and wetland and is home to more than 300 species of wildlife.
Tony Hothersall from City of Trees said: “With the right investment, we will be able to realise City Forest Park’s full potential and give the region the inspiring green space and culture hub it deserves and needs.
“We can transform the landscape by planting thousands of trees, bring woodland back into use and creating wildflower meadows. Added to this we aspire to invest in new paths, cycle ways and picnic areas, signage and way-markers to ensure that it is visitor friendly site for communities to use and make their own.”
City Forest Park connects the city to green space. It will in turn have huge environmental benefits encouraging wildlife and boosting biodiversity. The planting of trees captures carbon and creates sustainable drainage systems to improve water quality, reduce flooding and manage increased rainfall.
City Forest Park also has the potential to stage events and the team at City of Trees will be working with regional arts organisations to invite them to create a calendar of events there. This could be everything from pop-up markets, to theatre performances to picnics or cycle rides.
Architect BDP has drawn up artist’s impressions of how the site could look with phased investment.
Tony Hothersall from City of Trees said: “Nothing exists on this scale in Greater Manchester and we need to act now in order to create our City Forest Park for the future, truly cementing us at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.
“Make an investment today and realise the vision for Greater Manchester’s City Forest Park.”