Albert Square's granite paving to be recycled: not gentrification so much as granitification

Ancoats Green is on the way. This will be a small park, north of the old mills and New Islington, partly alongside the Rochdale Canal, and part of the Ancoats Phase Three works between Bengal Street and Butler Street. The idea is to create the right infrastructure and environment for 1,500 new homes while giving a nod to the manufacturing history of the area, particularly the former flint glass works. 

'The closing chapter of the regeneration of Ancoats that began more than 20 years ago’

The council says: ‘The project will include new walking and cycling routes to encourage active travel through the neighbourhood, significant new planting – including new wildflower areas and wetland planting – and a range of new trees that will add colour throughout the year.’   

They continue with: ‘Community is a central tenet of the investment creating high quality multi-functional green space for existing and future generations, including new play areas with accessible equipment, open grassed areas, generous footpaths and space for hosting small events.’ 

Council leader Bev Craig says: “We also know that more and more people are choosing to have families in the city centre and we have an opportunity through this investment to create a new green heart for Ancoats with open grassed spaces and new play park that will allow the community grow and knit around it.”  

She mentions the development of other green spaces within the city which includes Mayfield Park and the future plans for Victoria North. Oddly, she doesn’t mention the benighted Piccadilly Gardens and its redevelopment, the plans for which should have been posted months ago. 

New Ancoats Green Play Park
Ancoat's Green play park projection Image: City Council

A sweet element of Ancoats Green is the granite paving stones from Albert Square, which is being transformed as part of the ongoing Manchester Town Hall refurbishment, will be recycled in the public areas: not gentrification so much as granitification.

The designers of Ancoats Green are Altrincham-based Planit-IE, prolific designers of squares, parks and so on. They are behind the new, aforementioned, Albert Square. The contractor will be Alined Construction Limited who completed much of the work around Altrincham Market.

Ancoats Public Realm Plan 1600X1104
Ancoats Green and how it will fit into the area Image: City Council

The full scheme for this stage of Ancoats redevelopment includes a Mobility Hub involving 50 secure bike parking spaces and changing facilities, 102 electronic vehicle charging points, up to 30 spaces for car club/car share schemes, 406 car parking spaces for residents and visitors, a parcel delivery hub, commercial units and ‘400sqm of green wall and 950 sqm of planted façade – equivalent to the size of 7 tennis courts’.  

The money comes from Homes England which has committed £28.1m to the overall project – along with the Mobility Hub. Then there's £4.7m allocated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority through the Brownfield Housing Fund, bringing the total budget to £32.7m. 

The council are calling this ‘the closing chapter of the regeneration of Ancoats that began more than 20 years ago’. 

Rather it’s the beginning of the closing chapter as it will take up to 2030 for the former scrappy industrial units to make way for homes and families. It's good news all the same. 

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