It has been revealed today that construction is now officially underway to create Manchester’s fist city centre park in 100 years.
The green light for the new £23 million park was first given back in August.
Mayfield Park – the 6.5-acre space that has been described as a “beautifully designed and safe urban oasis” and has already been touted as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” – is part of a £1.4 billion development project in the city centre to transform the under-loved urban area between Manchester Piccadilly station and Mancunian Way, running along the River Medlock.
For years, regeneration plans for the forgotten corner of the city centre have failed to get off the ground, but the breakthrough finally came with the formation of a joint public-private venture in 2016 comprising of Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, developer LCR and regeneration specialist U+I.
This is known as The Mayfield Partnership.
Over the next 10 to 15 years, the project is expected to continue to mature, with two skyscrapers and thousands of homes, offices and commercial spaces also planned for the site.
Planning for the first phase of the Mayfield regeneration scheme – the park, two commercial buildings and a multi-storey car park – was approved in February, and the project received a further boost when it was awarded £23 million from the government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wants the UK to “build, build, build” its way out of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis going forward.
The scheme one of the largest in the UK and city leaders have hailed the start of construction as a historic moment for Manchester.
Sir Richard Leese – Leader of Manchester City Council – said: “There are some development projects that have such transformational potential that we await their beginning with great anticipation.
“Mayfield is most definitely one of them.
“This part of the city centre has been under-used for decades and it’s brilliant that we can now celebrate the first shovels going in the ground on the new city park and a green sanctuary at the heart of our city – followed closely by significant investment in new commercial space and new homes.
“Mayfield is a project of exceptional ambition.
“And ambition is the very tonic we need as we navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic towards economic recovery – in part through high-quality, impactful investment in our city, such as this.”
Andy Burnham – Mayor of Greater Manchester – added: “I’m so pleased to see ground broken on the Mayfield Park development.
“If we needed a reminder of the importance of accessible green spaces and the benefits they can bring for our mental and physical wellbeing, this year certainly brought one.
“A new public park can give a real lift to this part of Manchester, creating important new community assets and jobs. As part of a much wider vision for the city centre, it can help to boost our economic recovery and transform urban space for the people who live, work, and do business here.”
The maintenance of the park is to be carried out by The Mayfield Partnership.
The partnership’s ambition is to “ensure Mayfield Park becomes an exemplar urban public green space that endures as a safe, stimulating and sustainable place for everyone in the city long into the future”.
A Friends of Mayfield Park group will also be launched early next year to “ensure full community involvement and wide public engagement in the delivery of the park and kickstart meanwhile activities with local groups and charities as work progresses on site”.
It is hoped the majority of the park will be built within two years and could be open by early 2023.
More information can be found via The Mayfield Partnership website.