Heaton Park, MCC, p Google Earth snapshot

The scheme is aimed at driving football during inclement weather. Credit: Google Earth

Heaton Park lakeside attraction mulled

A five-acre site close to the boating lake has been earmarked for the creation of an indoor activity centre. 

Manchester City Council is seeking expressions of interest from the industry with a view to appointing an “investment partner to design, build and operate a Family Attraction” at Heaton Park. 

According to tender documents for the opportunity, the 640-acre park is lacking in indoor facilities. By creating one, the city council hopes to boost visitor numbers during the rainier, colder months. 

“The concept of the family attraction is to provide a mix of outdoor and indoor play and education offer on-site that would operate throughout the year, complementing and enhancing the existing offer to the public. 

“The introduction of an indoor play facility would significantly improve the autumn/winter offer and would help to sustain footfall through inclement weather.” 

The scheme could cost in the region of £5m, with the city council willing to put up half of the money on the proviso that the partner provides match funding. 

The city council expects the attraction to generate a 10% return on investment in its first 10 years of operation. 

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “We are seeking expressions of interest from suitable industry providers to design, build and operate a family attraction at Heaton Park.  If there is sufficient market interest we would look to go out to formal procurement in early 2024 to develop a suitable project in the park.”

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A fantastic idea and potential… public consultation will be key to its success.

By mcleod

Manchester City Council determined to build on Heaton Park in spite of being sent packing a few years ago when they tried to build a new school, on what must be the same site near the Lake. They’re determined to squeeze more money out of the park and privatise our valued green space.

By Anonymous

Manchester City council are slowly but surely eroding our green space. Why do we need indoor space in a Park? And why does it have to be passed to the private sector. If an indoor space is deemed necessary then the authority should fund it and staff it and all profits should go ack to the authority for the local community to benefit. The park belongs to the people of Manchester not a private investor Dawn Flanagan

By Dawn Flanagan

It’s a park , there shouldn’t be indoor attractions, we need to encourage children to get fresh air, exercise and use their imaginations . If not we build up problems for the future with adults who need entertainment provided on tap

By Anonymous

I’d rather the council spend the money on restoring the Town Hall colonnade which has recently been announced as an “at risk” heritage site.

By Andrew

Sounds great, I’m sure people were up in arms over the golf course and Go Ape but clear heads must succeed

By Anonymous

About time…after squandering a lot of the lottery money.

By Asbury Clarke

Heaton Park was created as an open air park and should remain as such. If a building of any sort is allowed it will open the door to more construction in the future and more land will be devoured. Also the park is publicly owned and introducing private enterprise in will again lead to more pressure to build. Leave the park as open space.

By Boyd Taylor


By Darren

I feel this would absolutely spoil the park. The park is one of the most wonderful outdoor spaces in the midst of built up areas. Please leave the natural space as it is. Encourage outdoor activities and keep the area in its current wonderful state for us all to enjoy the true outdoors in all its nature and elements. .

By Anonymous

I would appreciate it if you would leave the chosen area alone and put the 2.5million into wildlife and habitat Improvement.

By Lee aplin

The choke hold is parking fees and congestion on an already busy road

By Anonymous

the whole idea of the park is for outdoor space. and as for cold weather winter attractions what happened to the bonfire night fireworks display

By heath

And I bet you’ll have to pay through the nose to use this facility.

By Anonymous

Outdoor space is more important. Green areas are needed for health, exercise and contact with nature. Indoor spaces are available elsewhere.

By Anonymous

It’s a park. All of it is supposed to be outdoors. If you want to make money from an indoor attraction then build it somewhere else

By Alan

Five acre site sound like the old Parkside school site, so brownfield & great for the people of Prestwich to have an indoor play area. we had to go to Radcliffe or Botany Bay ! Not sure that councils should run indoor play centres so it makes sense for them to contract it out too.

By Prestwich Sloopy

It’s always really quiet here, look to Roundhay Park and Sefton Park for inspiration, why can’t the council of Manchester get it right?

By Dave

Any activity in the park is welcome.it is after all what it is there for.

By Diane Scott

Brilliant idea I moved to Bristol in 1992 and miss going to Heaton park it has lots of potential not just for concerts

By Lorraine

Because it rains all the time

By Anon

A wonderful idea.

By Anonymous

The park is in desperate need of facilities for families . I’m a childminder and use the park 3 times a week . There is a lack of covered seating areas . The play area at the stables is a fantastic little area for families but could do with more areas like this . A larger well kept , fenced off sandpit is another area that families would appriciate. The park does not need a wacky ware house type play area it needs to stick to outdoor play but covered . Also family toilets are needed clean facilities with small toilets it’s hard sorting small children out in the normal toilets when they have puddle suits etc on .

By Stephanie flynn

They had a consultation with the public surely a soft play centre was not the main idea ? To increase footfall they need a few under cover seating areas . Littke play parks for preschoolers under cover .don’t need to be huge places. They had a shelter outside the cafe but as soon as summer went they took it down . I take kids into the park all weathers and lug around my own shelter to pitch up so we get a break from the rain . The park has so much to offer but a whacky type venue is not the answer . Indoor skater park for adults and children alike is a better idea if you insist on building something .

By Sarah b

Been lobbying to build an environmental theatre in HP for years. A community arts hub with outdoor summer shows that enhance the natural beauty of the park
Be nice to combine creativity, imagination and play in the park.

By Caroline

Don’t erode our green space. We need more green space, not less!

By Anonymous

You’ve only got to look at Hough End to see how that has been eroded by development.

By Peter Chapman

As if someone thinks that Heaton Park is quiet. At least try to make it believable.

By Anonymous

Please leave the park as it is and don’t spoil our beautiful open space. No indoor development needed.lots of activity goes on during winter months, such as organised parkruns, boot camps, walking groups, dog walkers etc. There are bowling alleys, gyms and themed family attractions elsewhere. Keep Heaton Park as a park!🍁🍂

By Yvonne Johnson

When will our council, elected to represent us, realise we actually value civic green space through all the seasons. The council needs to realise green space is valuable beyond profit and those people looking for an indoor experience can visit such attractions build on any brownfield site. Leave our precious parks alone as as the population in the suburbs increases and the city grows its value and demand will only increase. Build indoor attractions on brownfield sites to attract visitors to areas of deprivation to boost local economies. Leave our parks to the trees, nature, and value space as just that – space!!

By Anonymous

Indoor play areas can be built anywhere but open green spaces are precious in urban areas, both for humans and wildlife. Building this would be the thin end of a wedge setting the precedent for more development in the park. Parks should be kept as open spaces to aid the physical and mental health of those who visit them.

By S

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