Sponge Park West Gorton4
The park is the final element of the decade-long West Gorton regeneration programme

GALLERY | Carbon ‘sponge park’ opens in West Gorton

Sarah Townsend

Manchester City Council, with the University of Manchester and affordable housing provider the Guinness Partnership, have created a community park aimed at helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The park in East Manchester is the final element of the West Gorton regeneration programme, which has seen the transformation of a previously rundown neighbourhood, with new housing and community facilities over the last 11 years.

Dubbed the “sponge park”, for the way its greenery and other features are intended to seep up carbon emissions, West Gorton Community Park is made up of three separate but interconnected spaces.

Click any image below to enlarge gallery

The woodland area has a planted ‘rain garden’, wetland meadow, picnic area and informal play area with an outdoor climbing wall and timber play features.

Meanwhile, a meadow area features orchard trees, picnic tables, edible hedgerows, exploration play and a stepping-stone trail, while the garden area includes an event space, community growing space and seating.

The park, located in the heart of West Gorton, has been designed in consultation with the community to benefit local people, wildlife and the environment. The estate itself became famous for featuring in the TV series Shameless.

Cllr Suzanne Richards. Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration at Manchester City Council, said: “This beautiful park for West Gorton marks the completion of a major programme of regeneration that has lasted for more than a decade, bringing high-quality housing and community facilities to revitalise this neighbourhood.”

And Cllr Angeliki Stogia, the council’s executive member for environment, planning and transport, added: “The ‘sponge park’ will serve as a wonderful model for how green spaces can help us to tackle the effects of climate change.

“Its intelligent design will reduce the risk of local flooding, as well as helping to create a more attractive, healthier environment for West Gorton residents.”

Landscape architecture firm BDP designed the park and Idverde was the construction contractor.

The park was part-funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, as part of GrowGreen, a Europe-wide green infrastructure and nature initiative.

Pictures credited to Mark Waugh

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

Great effort and looks like a good result, but how about turning over fields that are used for unnecessary animal agriculture to forests instead? That would be a much better ‘carbon sponge’ and would also improve biodiversity.

By John

Always great to see good carbon and suds principles being applied, but I wonder what the lifetime net carbon footprint of this park is –

If MCC want to applaud themselves for being so green, I’d like to know how much area of sponge park would be needed to offset the embodied carbon emissions in a typical concrete block of flats.

As an industry we urgently need to establish lifetime carbon standards and get them embedded into planning policy.

By W

@John – given that Manchester City has virtually no agricultural land, not really a relevant point being made here!

I think this a really positive step forward for the regeneration of the area along with wildlife and environmental benefits. Lovely!

By Sudsy

All while fog Lane has been allowed to run down, it used to be really nice

By Lol

Great to see this. The reference to a sponge park is surely more to do with sustainable drainage than carbon footprint

By Anonymous

I drove by this last month and it is nice. How long before it is a litter strewn no-go area around there?

By Elephant

I can’t actually believe that’s Gorton

By Anonymous