The plans to turn Castlefield Viaduct into an urban park, similar to New York’s High Line, have been approved – and it could open as soon as summer.
The ambitious vision will see the Grade II-listed industrial structure turned into an urban oasis.
The 300m-long viaduct has been out of use and left to decay for more than 50 years.
Manchester City Council has now given the National Trust the green light to go ahead with the plans.
The park will initially be a temporary addition to the city centre, while the charity tests ideas and gathers feedback.
The initial plan is to open the park next summer for a year, with free entry made with a booking system to manage numbers.
The middle section of the viaduct will be transformed into a bee- and butterfly-friendly area filled with plants and foliage, while a covered area will show visitors the future vision for the structure.
Duncan Laird, head of urban places at the National Trust, said: “We’re delighted that our temporary planning application has been given the green light by Manchester City Council.
“It’s a positive step towards realising our plans, and those of our partners and supporters.
“Earlier this year we invited the public to share their thoughts and give feedback on our plans to open the viaduct as a temporary urban park.
“We were encouraged by the positive response we received with so many people sharing our excitement about the potential benefits the viaduct could have on the area and those who live locally.
“We’re still in conversation with a number of key organisations whose support we need to make this a reality for Manchester, but we’re looking forward to sharing more news on our plans and progress in the New Year.”
Mike Innerdale, regional director for the north at the National Trust, added: “The pandemic showed us the importance of our local parks and gardens, but it also highlighted significant inequalities in access to green space in urban areas like Manchester.
Read more: This company replants your Christmas tree – then rents it back to you every year
“The approval of our temporary planning application means we can progress with our ambitions to transform the viaduct into an accessible green space for the 50,000 residents living within a twenty-minute walk of the area.
“We also want to share the viaduct’s story with the people of Manchester, many of whom are likely to have walked on the cobbles underneath this mighty heritage structure, or spotted it on the Castlefield skyline, without knowing its history.
“The viaduct has stood in Manchester for over 125 years and we want to help the city to protect it, injecting the viaduct with a new lease of life so it becomes a space people can use and be proud of.
“We hope that by testing ideas, finding out what people really need from this unique space, and growing the number of supporters who can help us to make this happen, we can create something that will benefit generations for many years to come.”
Featured image: Twelve Architects & Masterplanners
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
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.