The ‘free car park’ in Manchester city centre that the council aren’t happy about

Some motorists have started leaving their cars under the Mancunian way - and the council aren't too impressed

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 29th April 2021

Manchester’s famously known as the city that does things differently. From dancing on tables to pioneering vegetarianism, Mancunians (and Salfordians) have always been a little bit rebellious – pushing the boundaries of what’s allowed and what’s not.

It’s something that’s always been celebrated in Manchester. But now that that infamous spirit has started extending itself into the realm of car parking, the council aren’t too happy.

Pictures have emerged of the central reservation underneath the Mancunian Way filled with cars, by way of posts shared on Twitter by cycling campaigner James Stafford earlier this week.

And it seems that this rogue parking has been going on for some time now – with drivers reportedly spotted using the ‘free’ parking spaces since the end of 2020.

Shared with his followers on Monday, Stafford’s caption drily states:


“Here is a tour of Manchester’s latest new free city-centre car park underneath the Mancunian Way.

“Be careful though, it’s a little dangerous mounting on/off, there are no parking bay or dropped curbs.


“But it’s close to the city centre and free.”

Stretching from Cambridge Street to the Princess Road roundabout, the piece of land was newly created when improvement works were carried out on the Princess Road/Medlock Street roundabout.

As such, it’s technically neither pavement nor carriageway.


Whilst the council currently don’t have legal recourse to penalise drivers, they are keen to stress the risks associated with pulling in and out of such a busy junction – raising concerns that, due to the high volume of traffic passing across the junction, there is a strong risk of collision.

An official statement released by the council states:

“We would strongly discourage anyone from parking on the central reservation underneath the Mancunian Way. This area is intended for maintenance of the motorway. Motorists attempting to park on this piece of land run the risk of causing a collision to other road users.

“The Council is considering interim steps to prevent the use of this land for parking and in the long term, installing barriers limiting access to maintenance staff.

“There are many parking spaces in the city centre and we would encourage drivers to use them, or to use public transport to travel to Manchester where possible.”