Central Retail Park green space campaign gains momentum

Calls for Manchester City Council to bring forward public realm rather than a car park on the site of the former Central Retail Park in Ancoats are gathering pace, after more than 3,800 signatures were added to an online petition.

Campaigners are aiming for 4,000 signatures ahead of Manchester City Council’s planning committee on 22 August when the proposals are due to be discussed, recommended for approval by officers. As of this morning the total was 3,889 signatures.

The petition states: “If the car park is built, there will be around 1,000 cars moving in and out onto already busy Great Ancoats Street. This will increase pollution in a city with appalling childhood asthma rates and one which consistently ranks amongst cities with the worst air quality in Europe. The site is also right next to a primary school.

“Manchester City Council has declared a climate emergency, and has committed to reducing carbon emissions. Building a huge car park that will increase pollution is in direct contradiction to this.

“Please sign the petition now, and call on Manchester City Council to turn this area into a much needed green community space for families, residents and visitors.”

The site previously held retail units for Toys R Us and Mothercare, along with a YMCA, until the land was raised in May this year.

The proposal for a temporary 440-space car park along with a portakabin for contractors is to be erected on a five-year lease. According to a covering letter submitted with the application for the car park, planner Paul Butler Associates said: “The current proposals are to provide a revenue generating ‘meanwhile’ use for the site pending its future redevelopment.”

Proposals have been put forward by the city council for 500,000 sq ft of offices on the site after the five-year lease has expired on the car park.

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Why not link the petition in the article?

By Anonymous

A park here would be transformational for Manchester. Yet more development wouldn’t be. Think long-term and have some bloody ambition Manchester, please!

By Please, please, please let me get what I want

This is crazy it’s difficult to find a space round here if you’re visiting people in the area, using the school or the local businesses, this is just another case of nimbyism I’m afraid.

By Tessa


Meanwhile use as a park would be a much better PR exercise for MCC. They did it in Bradford when the Westfield development stalled for a number of years. Totally understand that this site will be developed eventually.

By Bradford

The site is big enough to do something really ambitious and beautiful. Let’s see big scale mixed use development alongside undercroft parking and large green open space.

The values and funding availability at this moment in time is sufficient to do something really ‘wow’ and really the City Council needs to set a standard here.


@Tessa, I don’t believe this is NIMBYism in the case. I don’t like in Ancoats and I’m against the car park like so many others who live outside the area – so it’s not my backyard. This is so wrong for so many reasons:
* We shouldn’t be encouraging people to drive to the city centre. This is 2019 not 1990
* We should be encouraging public transport and spending money to improve rail access to the centre as we have one of the most polluted cities in Europe & one of the poorest rail infrastructures for a city this size
* Road infrastructure into the city is also terrible, so to relieve it, build better public transport to take cars off the streets, not car parks to put more cars on the street.
* Manchester has so few central city parks. This was one of the few locations recently come up that could be a park. Accessible from the city centre and backing onto another park and canal, it would be perfect.
* As density increases in the city centre (which is a good thing) it needs to be balanced by open green spaces (which is an important thing)


If they put a park here people will kick off when it comes to developing the site.

By York Street

@York Street


By Funky Chicken

Some of these people would get rid of all cars and turn Manchester into a ghost town

By Ged

I agree with many of the comments above – I’m a car user but I never drive into the city centre, I use public transport, either tram or bus. I work in the city centre too but use public transport to get to work. From a logistical viewpoint some traffic has to be allowed into the city centre so that business can function. However if we as Mancunians want to build a world class, progressive city that future generation can be proud of…then we need to start designing and building a city centre for people and not for cars.

By Anonymous

Honestly, what is it with you people and parks in the city centre? Many car parks are being lost to new developments and therefore there is a demand for car parking spaces for people who are working in the city or visiting relatives & friends in these new residential developments. It’s all well and good saying use public transport but the infrastructure here is not fit for the 21st century and public transport supply does not meet the very high and increasing demand. When i was growing up there was 3 buses into town every hour now there is none, so now we are expected to get the trains (pacers) which were a short term fix in the 1980s and haven’t changed much since! There is a demand for parking spaces and till we get a transport system fit for purpose and meets demands there will always be a demand for city centre parking. Why not building a multi-story car park with a park on the roof?? They’re building entire villages on top of car parks in Jakarta so I can’t see a park for people to use being so hard.


By Modern Metropolis

Residential development has boomed in Manchester in the last ten years and there’s been no thought towards green space. This is the opportunity. There won’t be another for a very long time.

By Anonymous

@EOD. People need places to park now, given so many surface car parks have gone in the past few years. Public transport ambitions are great but the time it would take to construct new rail, this site will be redeveloped.

By Allotmentlad

Due to almost all the surface car parks being built on in New Cross, there is now a shortage of parking spaces in that part of the city centre. Do these people want to see everyone going to the Trafford Centre instead?

There will be far more to complain about if this “green space” starts to attract anti social behaviour and brings drug taking/street drinkers and spice zombies into its yuppified little utopia. If you don`t want carbon emissions then don`t put a “green space” on Great Ancoats street and go and live in a rural area.

By City slicker

In France they build underground car parks so allowing the surface area to be public space or park.Wht is this not done here ?

By Durian

@Tessa. Nimbyism? I live in the area in flats for people over 60 years old. We have had nine years of developments in Ancoats and have had to suffer roads closed, disabled people having no access to their GPs surgery and being forced onto roads with busy traffic because of hoardings and cars parked on pavements, pollution and dust coming into our flats (some people not being able to open their windows in the summer) That’s without the noise from JCBs constantly beeping day after day (including weekends) as well as noise from heavy machinery. Richard Leese wants Manchester to become like London, but we are only a small city. Manchester is already like a giant car park, without the need for another one.

If you want to visit friends and relatives in the area, may I suggest you use public transport. It will be better for your (and our) health.

By PamR

The Central park development failed abysmally. It seems all developers are interested in is causing pollution with the car parks or building more apartments….concrete jungle to add to the failures that exist ;adding to the darkness that will over shadow the whole of the area…..See what the old BBC looks and feels like in the winter months.

By Shaun Mclean

More car parks and bigger roads encourages people to drive. Eventually the car parks and roads reach full capacity and the cycle repeats until you have a giant car park and no green space or living space.
People on here are deluded by what a metropolis is. You can still have tonnes of buildings (as we’re all aware there’s no shortage of that in Manchester, present or future, which is fantastic) and have green space. If you have no space for people to enjoy then people won’t want to live or enjoy the city. Then there would be less incentive to carry on developing this ‘metropolis’. We’re not living in factory slums anymore, our ancestors did that so we didn’t have to.
It does require some careful master planning and transport planning though, although the lack of green space in Manchester City Centre is pretty shocking and we should be clenching onto any opportunity such as this one.
Yes we’re all sick of the spice heads – do you actually think that by getting rid of all the green space this is going to get rid of them though? Or by proving more green space this is going to encourage all of the homeless in the UK to come to Manchester and turn it into a giant homeless festival? We want to sort the homeless problem out AND have green space. This might be Manchester but it is possible…
I think the city should prioritise green space for residents, workers and tourists more than for people who are simply driving into the city centre to visit friends and need a parking space.
How much transport infrastructure do you need to not drive? We have one of the best public transport systems in the UK. Walk, cycle, bus, met, train. I understand that public services such as buses have been cut in recent years, but I’m pretty sure there’s always a way of getting from A to B in Greater Manchester, it just means people have to step outside of the comfort zone and driver seat.
More public transport users = more incentive to provide additional public transport services.
Yes occasionally you may feel the need to drive but I bet you all manage to find a parking space eventually don’t you. Oh the pain of driving round trying to find a parking space, such a drag! A Google before you set off and a stretch of those jelly legs should do the trick.

By Funky Chicken

I live in the area and walk to and from picadily Station to commute every weekday. I walk past and through plenty of car parks. There’s enough already, I suspect people just don’t know where they are or are they are overpriced.

Meanwhile the ancoats area is becoming increasingly developed and populated and increasingly lacks any outdoor area nearby.

By Jamie

Anyone who is prioritising car parking over public spaces (especially given the dire lack of them in Manchester City Centre) needs to give their head a wobble.

I don’t think objecting to car parking is nimbyism, only wanting whats genuinely good for the city and making the most of the opportunity.

By Ancoats Resident

Does anyone here read before writing such narrow-minded comments? People are getting ahead of themselves. The site hasn’t even been master planned yet and when it is it will be subject to thorough consultation.

This is kicking off because of a proposal to use part of the site as a car park for a temporary period.

By Anonymous

Yeah ‘temporary’ (5 year) 440 space car park.
I agree with everyone who doesn’t want this.
Small minded would be wasting an opportunity like this.
More development – great. But not before a bit more green space, we need to balance it out a bit.
Don’t understand why anyone who spends most of the their time in this fantastic city would think otherwise.

By Dojo

*Temporary Park.

Would you rather rip up a park or a car park?
These car movements are almost certainly already going to be somewhere in the highway network in Manchester – people who want to park there will likely already drive in and use other car parks in the city. This creates revenue for a cash strapped location authority until future development comes forward.

It’s not going to attract ‘extra’ cars to Manchester City Centre.

By Bigger picture...

I agree it should become a park eventually but with a line of high rise towers to border great ancoats street to block the traffic out.

By Jonny

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