Contentious Ryebank Fields overhaul moves forward
Step Places and Southway Housing Trust have opened a public consultation on plans to build 120 homes on the 10-acre Chorlton site, revealing for the first time what the scheme will look like.
Working with architect 5plus Architects, the partnership plans to redevelop Ryebank Fields into a “vibrant and sustainable community”, according to the consultation website.
Step Places and Southway’s proposals for the site include:
- 120 new Passivhaus homes
- A minimum of 20% affordable homes, rising to 35% – these include 18 shared ownership properties and 24 age-friendly apartments
- 3.2 acres of retained green space returned as a community asset
- 2,700 sq ft community hub surrounded by a market square and growing spaces
- Walking and cycling priority, with a new nature path alongside the parkland
- A total of five acres of green space across the development, including growing walls, community greens, and allotments
- Protection of the historic Nico Ditch
A second round of consultation will be held in spring before a planning application is submitted to Manchester City Council. This first round of consultation is set to complete on 10 February.
Manchester Metropolitan University chose to sell the site to the partnership between Step Places and Southway last summer, bringing to an end a drawn-out sales process.
The partnership beat off competition from other shortlisted bidders Anwyl Homes, Morris Homes, and PJ Livesey for the Ryebank Fields opportunity.
Shortly after MMU had appointed Cushman & Wakefield to find a buyer for Ryebank – a decision that sparked anger among some local community groups that use the land for recreational purposes – asbestos was reportedly found at the site.
This prompted calls for MMU to call off its plan to sell the land and environmental group Extinction Rebellion began occupying the site in protest.
MMU acknowledged the discovery of potentially hazardous material at Ryebank Fields but said it intended to go ahead with the sale.
Campaign group Save Ryebank Fields claims that the land is unfit for redevelopment and that MMU does not have a “moral right to benefit financially from the proposed housing development”.