The official opening date of Manchester‘s New York-inspired ‘sky park’ at Castlefield Viaduct has now finally been confirmed.
After the National Trust announced its ambitious vision to create an urban green space in the heart of the city centre by tackling the challenge of “greening” the Grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct and celebrate the history of this well-known landmark, it has now been revealed that visitors will be able to enjoy the park from next weekend.
Construction company MC Construction, Twelve Architects, and four local partners have been working with gardening specialists and apprentices at the National Trust to create the new park – with thousands of plants, shrubs, and trees having been planted over the past five months.
Now, less than half a year after work began to transform the giant 330-metre steel viaduct into an elevated park, the finishing touches are being made.
The temporary urban park at Castlefield Viaduct will open to the public on Saturday 30 July.
The park will be or the next 12 months, with green spaces stretching across the elevation, and during this time, visitors will have the opportunity to explore part of the structure and find out more about the viaduct’s heritage, the city’s long relationship with plants and trees, and learn urban gardening tips.
You’ll also get to experience a variety of planting displays as you walk along the viaduct while enjoying the elevated setting above the historic cobbled streets, according to the National Trust, and see the park “develop, evolve, and respond” with the changing seasons.
The plans for Castlefield Viaduct are part of the National Trust’s work to “increase access” for everyone to nature, history and beauty in, around, and near urban areas.
The Castlefield Viaduct dates back to 1892 and was built by Heenan and Froude – the same engineers who worked on Blackpool Tower – but the site closed in the late 1960s, and before the National Trust took over and began to add over 3,000 plants, shrubs, trees, and more, it had sadly been left derelict.
The industrial heritage of Castlefield has been reflected through all elements of the design of the park.
The National Trust says the design of the planters at the new park gives “a subtle nod” to the industrial architecture of the viaduct, and mirrors the curve of the railway tracks that once transported goods across the structure to the Great Northern Warehouse.
A section of the viaduct has also been left untouched to “provide a sense of how nature has reclaimed the space” since the site closed.
Speaking ahead of the park officially opening to the public next Saturday, Andy Jasper – National Head of Gardens & Parklands at the National Trust – said: “Creating a garden on an industrial heritage structure such as this is new territory for us and we have created a test bed that represents how the park in the sky might be, if the people of Manchester want it.
“With more than 3,000 individual plants planted in completely peat free growing media over the past couple of months, we’ve been literally trialling new planting techniques as we go – working with limited growing depths and thinking about how these plants will deal with the more challenging conditions of being 17 metres in the air.
“I cannot wait to see what people say, and I am intrigued to see how the plant life will take in its new surroundings.”
Duncan Laird – Head of Urban Places at the National Trust – added: “This has been an intensely busy few months as we prepared to open the doors of the pilot project, and we are incredibly excited to finally be able to open this space for people to visit for the first time in over 50 years.
“As the trees and plants start to bed in and grow it will slowly begin to match the vision for this space, and we will be keenly listening to visitor feedback that we will use to shape the ongoing evolution of the viaduct.
“We’re at the start of the journey – not the end.”
100 people a day will be able to visit the Castlefield Viaduct from Saturday 30 July.
Entry onto the structure will be free, but a booking system will be in place to help manage numbers, and as part of the experience, visitors will be able to join guided walks – with plans to host various community events, workshops, and consultations in the pipeline.
Featured Image – Howard Bristol (via National Trust)
Incredible misty drone footage shows how Manchester earned its ‘Manctopia’ nickname
Drone footage captured from way above Manchester shows just how quickly the city has grown – and proves that our hometown is well on its way to earning its ‘Manctopia’ nickname.
Cast your mind back just a few years and you’ll remember that Beetham Tower stuck out like a sore thumb, towering many storeys above the next tallest building.
In fact, until just four years ago, the next-tallest building here was City Tower, which was a good 17 storeys shorter than Beetham Tower.
Then along came Renaker with visions for an entirely new skyscraper neighbourhood – Deansgate Square.
This group of skyscrapers now completely dominate the Manchester skyline, with the tallest building a massive 65 storeys tall.
South Tower is not only the tallest building in Greater Manchester, it’s also the 10th tallest in the entire UK, and the biggest outside of London.
It’s all led to Manchester being coined ‘Manctopia’, the name of a BBC documentary that followed property developers Capital & Centric as they redevelop buildings around the region.
One local photographer has managed to capture the unbelievable scale of our new, ultra-modern city skyline, with drone footage soaring among the skyscrapers.
Known on Instagram as @lef_tsotour, they shared a video taken on a misty Manchester morning.
It captures both Deansgate Square, with sun glinting off the many windows of the towers, and the now-dwarfed Beetham Tower.
You can also see the railway lines snaking through the city centre, cars nipping around the ring road, and the comparatively small apartment blocks around Castlefield.
Commenting on the video, one person said: “This is mint.”
Another wrote: “Fricken love this!!!!”
Featured image: @lef_tsotour
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.