The plan to regenerate Withington Village is set to be adopted following a consultation posted out to over a thousand properties in the area.
After consultation information was sent to more than 1,200 properties in the south Manchester suburb in January of this year – supplemented by COVID-secure online events – to agree a long-term strategy to support future investment in the area, Manchester City Council has revealed that local residents, organisations and businesses have shown “overwhelming support” for proposals to improve and develop Withington Village.
90% of respondents either strongly agreed, or agreed with the proposals set out in the framework.
The Withington Village Framework will aim to establish a vision for Withington as a liveable place, generate confidence in the area for future investment, provide support for future funding bids, and resent options for how future design and investment could be achieved.
According to Manchester City Council, some of the key findings from the consultation include responses related to reducing the levels of traffic in the village, with a view to making the area more pedestrian and cycling friendly, alongside strong support for reducing the number of junctions onto Wilmslow Road though the village, as well as the introduction of wider pavements, limiting the number of loading bays on the high street and improving pedestrian crossings.
Significant support was also received around the potential to pedestrianise Copson Street, while ensuring local access.
Another common theme of the respondents was around increasing greenery and tree planting in the area, along with more opportunities for public parks and family friendly public spaces, and improving the look and feel of the high street was high on the agenda too, with the wish to see shop front and signage improved, as well as the express hope to attract more independent businesses.
The conversation and celebration of Withington Village’s rich history was also often brought up, including the area’s diversity, which should be celebrated.
Speaking on the consultation findings, Councillor Suzanne Richards – Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration – said: “We have a community in Withington that is incredibly committed to driving positive change in and their partnership approach and dedication to improving their neighbourhood is impressive and has achieved real results already.
“The positive responses that we have received following the consultation early this year shows that we also have the support of the wider community and we will continue to work closely with the Withington Partnership as individual schemes are brought forward.
“Hopefully increased investment in the village will follow”.
Dave Payne, Chair of the Withington Village Regeneration Partnership – a committed collective of local groups and initiatives set up in 2017 to actively pursue a community led policy and encourage positive regeneration in Withington – added: “This feels somewhat momentus in the lifespan of the village.
“Our group has been working for the last five years to develop proposals for schemes to improve and enhance our neighbourhood.
“I’m pleased to see that previous projects – such as Withington Walls – has been broadly welcomed by the local community, and we should look forward to further strides to bring positive investment in the coming months and years.”
The Withington Village Framework will be heard by the Manchester City Council’s Economy Scrutiny Committee today (Thursday 11th March) ahead of agreement by the council’s Executive next Wednesday 17th March.
Once formally adopted, individual projects will be developed as part of the improvement plans for the local community.
You can find more information via the Manchester City Council website here.