Superb plans to turn Castlefield Viaduct into an urban park have been approved – and it could open next summer



The plan to transform an old disused Manchester city center viaduct into a raised urban park has been given the green light.

The National Trust has received a temporary building permit to transform a section of the Grade II listed Castlefield Viaduct into an urban oasis overlooking the city center and beyond, similar to New York’s famous ‘High Line’.

It could open next summer and be free to enter, the NT has revealed.

Initially, the park will be in place for a year, but the NT says that during that time it wants to “test ideas and get feedback from its visitors to help determine the longer-term future.”

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Duncan Laird, Urban Places Manager at the National Trust, said: “We are delighted that our request for temporary planning has been given the green light from Manchester City Council.

“This is a positive step towards realizing our plans and those of our partners and supporters.

“Earlier this year, we invited the public to share their thoughts and give their opinion on our plans to open the viaduct as a temporary urban park.

The park will be open by summer and will be free to access

“We were encouraged by the positive response we received with so many people sharing our enthusiasm for the potential benefits the viaduct could have on the region and on those who live locally.

“We are still in conversation with a number of key organizations that we need support to make this a reality for Manchester, but we look forward to sharing more information on our plans and progress for the new year. “

Castlefield Viaduct as it stands

Mike Innerdale, Regional Director for the North at the National Trust, said: “The pandemic has shown us the importance of our local parks and gardens, but it has also highlighted significant inequalities in access to green spaces in the regions. urban areas like Manchester.

“The approval of our provisional urban planning file allows us to move forward in our ambitions of transforming the viaduct into a green space accessible to the 50,000 inhabitants living within a twenty-minute walk of the district.

“We also want to share the story of the Viaduct with the people of Manchester, many of whom have likely walked the cobblestones under this mighty heritage structure, or spotted it on the Castlefield skyline, without knowing its history.

An event space will have a green and glazed canopy at the front and rear to allow a continuous view of the viaduct

“The viaduct has been in Manchester for over 125 years and we want to help the city protect it, breathing new life into the viaduct so that it becomes a space people can be proud of.

“We hope that by testing ideas, finding out what people really need in this unique space and increasing the number of supporters who can help us get there, we can create something that will benefit generations for many. years to come.”

Built in 1892 by Heenan and Froude, the same engineers who worked on the Blackpool Tower, the viaduct has not been in use for over 50 years.

One of the four sections will leave the viaduct more or less in its current state

Entrance to the park will be via a reservation system.

The middle of the 330m viaduct will be transformed into plants and foliage to help attract wildlife.

The plans also include a covered area where visitors can see ideas for the future design of the viaduct and can share their ideas.

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