Manchester news Council review finds opposition to uni fields plans is 'single biggest' concern Manchester united news
MetiNews.Com - 44 percent of responses to the Council's city-wide development consultation were in regards to the Ryebank Fields plans
Breaking News ! Manchester Council's review into local development earlier this year found an overwhelming number of responses opposing the proposed redevelopment of Ryebank Fields in Chorlton. In January, Manchester Council announced it would be undergoing a major review into how new buildings and investments met the city’s high development standards. Running from February until May, the review received a total of 562 responses via emails and online comments. 247 comments, accounting for 44 percent of the total responses, were in opposition of Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) aims to sell the Ryebank Fields site. Read More Related Articles The huge 109km pipeline project across Bury that could cause upheaval for six years Read More Related Articles How to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest headlines from the M.E.N. Manchester Council declared the Chorlton site to be ‘by far the single biggest message coming from the consultation’ despite the review being focused on plans across the city-region. At the time of the review, the Friends of Ryebank Fields urged local residents to use the consultation as a chance to express opposition to the plans to sell the land. MMU have owned the Ryebank Fields site since the 1970s and has always been clear of its intention to sell off the land for housing. The Friends of Ryebank Fields group oppose the plans to sell the land for housing (Image: Colin Horne - Manchester Evening News) But, the Friends campaign group believes the site should be left alone and instead invested in as a ‘local green space'. A number of the consultation responses opposing the plans argued the site was close to local homes and already a well-used area for exercisers and dog walkers. The large number of trees in the fields were also cited as being a ‘crucial’ area for improving air quality in the local area. Read more of today's stories here Out of all the responses to the consultation, only two were in favour of MMU's redevelopment plans. “We are really encouraged by the high level of response to the Local Plan consultation which highlights the overwhelming public opinion against development of Ryebank Fields,” the Friends of Ryebank Fields told the Manchester Evening News this week. Ryebank Fields has been described as a 'vacant and unmanaged area of grassland' but is popular with dog walkers and local residents (Image: Colin Horne - Manchester Evening News) “To achieve 44 percent of the total response for a relatively small piece of land on the Chorlton and Stretford border in a city-wide consultation is huge. “It’s likely that the numbers would have been even higher if the consultation hadn’t coincided with the first peak of COVID-19 in March and April. “We now hope that Manchester City Council will listen to the voice of the people and designate Ryebank Fields as a Local Green Space.” Over the summer, asbestos was found on the Ryebank Fields site posing a potential health risk.
The Ryebank Fields site was fenced off following the discovery of 'surface level asbestos'
The site has remained closed since the findings and MMU is proceeding with its intention to sell the land. The university has said that prospective developers will be left with the responsibility of remediating the land and making it safe for future use. The Friends of Ryebank Fields campaign group has hopes that the results of the public consultation will lead to its ‘long-term’ aim of acquiring the land with Local Nature Reserve status. “The fields are a much-loved and highly valued community asset,” the group added. “We want to ensure its unique features, wildlife habitats and mini-ecosystems are protected in perpetuity by working with a partner such as Fields in Trust.
Local campaign groups want MMU to reconsider its intention to redevelop the land for housing
(Image: Colin Horne - Manchester Evening News)
“We have a future vision for a back-to-basics approach which promotes sustainability and intergenerational learning within the community.” The group's vision includes a 'plant and pick' area with raised vegetable beds where anyone can give or take produce, compost stations, and the encouragement of foraging. “We hope that the council will now back this as Ryebank Fields could be a flagship project for MCC to take the lead in direct action towards their commitment to their climate emergency declaration,” the group stated. “We have already submitted an expression of interest in acquiring the land but so far have been excluded from the sales process by MMU’s agents Cushman and Wakefield who say they are currently only engaging with house builders and developers.
“Due to the extensive ground contamination it will need some level of remediation. "All the advice we have received points to the most viable end use solution for Ryebank Fields as an open space and local nature reserve; remediation for which will be far less costly, far less intrusive and therefore pose far less risk.” While comments from the consultation will be captured and reported, it is not for Manchester Council to say whether or not specific responses will change any proposals. MMU said it was continuing to work with potential developers regarding the future of the site and have invited serious expressions of interest by October 23. The university said it was committed to ensuring that community consultation, affordable housing, a commitment to net zero and working with a community housing trust were essential aspects of any potential development. "We are delighted with the response from developers to this exciting opportunity," a spokesperson for MMU said. "We have made clear to them that this potentially transformative scheme must meet all of our objectives as outlined in the Development Framework. "This includes a truly participatory approach to any planning application, and a commitment to work with any community housing groups."
Source = MetiNews.Com