The Gay Village from Canal Street, Manchester City Council, p Manchester City Council

Manchester City Council has created its first action plan for the Gay Village. Credit: via Manchester City Council

Manchester launches action plan for Gay Village

Maintaining, preserving, and improving the LGBTQ+ quarter is the focus of the city council’s report on the future of the area.

The Gay Village can be found between Portland Street, Princes Street, Whitworth Street, and Minshull Street in Manchester. It is home to 1,700 people and boasts 636,000 sq ft of offices and another 364,000 sq ft of retail floorspace – as well as a vibrant night life economy.

Consultancy HATCH developed Manchester’s Gay Village Action Plan in partnership with the city council, having conducted an initial strategic review of the area in 2020. The plan builds on the feedback from the review – as well as newer conversations and consultations with stakeholders – to outline three themes of focus: management, diversification, and activation.

Together, these themes explore how to best use existing assets as well as how to expand the area’s local economy without harming the Village’s vibe.

These themes lead to a variety of short-, medium-, and long-term actions. These include the development of a neighbourhood management plan to tackle street cleanliness, a review of CCTV coverage, and a push to identify potential mural locations.

Other action items include replacing damaged trees along Canal Street, creating a heritage trail, and a promise to engage with developers working within the Gay Village borders to ensure their applications safeguard the area’s character. There is also a proposal to explore using 103 Princess Street as a community events space and to put a ‘Rainbow Bee’ logo on all the bins in the area.

“The Gay Village is not only an incredibly vibrant, welcoming and safe space for our LGBTQ+ community but is a living monument to the progress made by those who fought against bigotry and hatred, and those who dedicated their entire lives to building a more tolerant and inclusive society,” said Manchester City Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig.

“I am immensely proud of the Village and as leader want to make sure that its character and history is preserved for generations to come,” she continued.

“Through the launch of this report, we hope to harness the energy of this community alongside other stakeholders and partners in the community, shaping any future development so that it fits the needs of the people who live, work and spend time in the Village.”

HATCH associate director David Watson stressed that the action plan is a living document, one that will no doubt spark a few discussions down the line. That’s okay, he said. The action plan’s purpose is to collate and outline the priority interventions that are needed for the area – not to be a rigid ‘to do’ list.

“It’s a starting point,” he told Place North West. “It will be an evolving plan that lead council officers and stakeholders will continue to work in partnership together on.”

The Gay Village Action Plan is not the only report HATCH has been working on in the city region. The global consultancy’s Manchester office is crafting the social sustainability strategy for Mayfield and is also part of the project team for the Holt Town neighbourhood development framework.

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Easily one of the UK’s top urban neighbourhoods and one of few gay areas that has survived a number of storms, if a little sketchy at times. Still considered a haven by some, this is a place which genuinely attracts people from all over the world.
Surely it’s time we had a museum/art gallery/ community hub. I thought one of the units at Kampus would have been perfect?

By Anonymous

The ” gay village ” is as about as gay as a £50 note . That is what this area is really all about – making money . The old time working class gay people who first brought about this area were all quickly shunted out of the picture once the corporations realised how much money they could make by pretending that they were only in it for altruistic reasons – along with the politicians and civil servants of course . The truth is that these very same money men ,the police , the judiciary , the media and business people never cared about gay people and just used to spend their time and energy suppressing, insulting and in the case of the police , beating up gay men and still don’t really care about gay people . It’s all a massive con to serve the powerful , the corrupt and the greedy and of course the marxist , leftoid jump on any bandwagon to stir up trouble thugs . .

By Hacked off gay man

Not sure why anybody would replace the established mature trees on Canal Street, also what’s happened to the plans for China Town?

By Anonymous

This is long overdue, twenty years in fact but very encouraging and if it means we get rainbow crossings (Sackville Street/Chorlton Street/Minshull Street) even better.

By Anonymous

Altough I’m a visitor to the village, I’m not sure why it requires an action plan – surely all the streets in manchester should have street cleanliness managed, how much were HATCH paid to determine that ‘diversification’ of the village is needed and what’s wrong with the existing trees on Canal Street, they seem perfectly happy to me? Couple of the Councils staff could’ve gone out and asked people living, working and visiting the village to ask them what, if anything, is needed at no cost rather than paying HATCH to come up with this waste of public funds.

By Zac

Hoe about making it more inclusive?

By Peter

Maintenance and inclusivity definitely the watchwords here, but also for most of the city centre tbh. The emphasis on the first.

By Anonymous

You know what the gay village needs? 60 storey towers 😉

By Giant Skyscraper Fan

Build multi-storey ones and convert some of the existing car parks into green spaces. Major St in particular would be great.

By Anonymous

Replacing trees? Why on earth would you do that?

By Tom

    Hi Tom! I’ve updated the story to clarify that the trees to be replaced are damaged. You can find more information in the action plan linked to in this story. Best – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

This area developed organically, it needs a facelift but no more of fixing things which ain’t broken Manchester, has Piccadilly Gardens taught you nothing.

By Elephant

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