The first public garden in almost a century is set to transform a forgotten part of Manchester

Mancunians have long lamented the lack of green space in the city centre but now a 'forgotten corner of the city' is set to become the first public park in almost 100 years. 

And when we say park, we mean an actual bona-fide green area, rather than 'gardens' that are actually just a cement wall and an influx of rough sleepers or a 'park' that actually just includes a lot of industrial or retail units. The back of Piccadilly Station, which has been mostly derelict for 30 years, is set to benefit from a huge £1.4 billion transformation, including a 6.5-acre park built on the banks of the River Medlock.

These plans have the potential to transform an unloved and largely unused part of the city centre into a world-class gateway

Plans have been submitted by the Mayfield Partnership, which comprises regeneration developer U+I, LCR, Manchester council and Transport for Greater Manchester. The application proposes to create a mixed-use community of the Mayfield area over the next 10 to 15 years that will transform the long-forgotten part of the city. Along with the public park, the regeneration of Mayfield will also create 1,500 homes, 75,000 square meters of office space, a 650-bedroom hotel and retail and leisure space. 

The project is expected to create more than 7,500 office, retail, leisure and construction jobs.

2019 10 10 View Of Mayfield Park From Hoyle Street
View of Mayfield Park from Hoyle Street

The first phase of development also includes a high quality, nine-storey, 70,000 square feet office building overlooking the new park, and a 545-space multi-storey car park on the Baring Street site. A separate application for a larger flagship 12-storey office building is expected to be made this autumn.

Widely regarded as one of the most important regeneration projects in the UK, Mayfield is rich in industrial heritage and benefits from its huge size and easy links with the city. The old Mayfield railway station has already been given a new lease of life in the form of Depot Mayfield; a new 10,000-capacity performance venue that opened in September with a gig by Aphex Twin and a club night curated by the Warehouse Project, attracting around 5000 people.

Depot Mayfield is the latest in a series of attractions designed to draw people to the area, which has included hosting a weekly street food fair, a festive pop-up cinema and Dirt Factory – an indoor biking centre.

Mayfield Quarter
Artist's impression of Mayfield Quarter

Richard Upton, chief development officer at U+I, said: “The last three years of consultation, planning and opening up Mayfield to a variety of community uses and major events has re-introduced Mancunians to a forgotten corner of the city with huge social and economic potential. 

“Submitting our first formal planning application is an important moment in realising that potential and we are excited that our vision for a world class neighbourhood for businesses, residents and visitors is taking shape.

“We have been delighted by the overwhelming positivity response to our recent public consultation on Mayfield Park and look forward to starting work on this amazing new amenity for the people of Manchester.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, added: "These plans have the potential to transform an unloved and largely unused part of the city centre into a world-class gateway area creating thousands of new jobs and housing to support our growing city. 

“The addition of a significant new city centre park, just a stone's throw away from Piccadilly Station, is a particularly welcome development and shows how such green spaces can be created through the masterplanning of wider areas."  

Subject to consent, work is set to begin early in 2020.