The National Trust is working with Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate team to transform the 1892 Manchester viaduct into a public space.
Images created by Twelve Architects & Masterplanners showcase the National Trust’s long-term vision for the park. Locals are invited to share their thoughts on the plans at a series of public consultations in June and July.
Click image to launch gallery. All images by Twelve Architects & Masterplanners.
The National Trust is aiming to test ideas for the space by opening the viaduct as a temporary park in summer of 2022. That, of course, is subject to planning approval – which the trust will apply for this autumn.
“National Trust houses, gardens and outdoor places in the North West welcome over a million visitors every year,” said Mike Innerdale, regional director for the North at the National Trust. “However, we understand that these places can be hard to reach for people who live closer to the city and access to good quality green space in urban areas is limited.
“The viaduct gives us an opportunity to create an accessible green space for the 50,000 residents living within a twenty-minute walk of the area of Castlefield,” he continued. “As well as transforming the viaduct into a green space for people, we recognise the viaduct’s importance to Manchester’s history and the need to protect it.
“Transforming the viaduct into an urban park will bring together nature, history and beauty which the National Trust was set up to protect 126 years ago.”
Both Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority have voiced their support for the scheme.
“The Castlefield Viaduct is such an iconic part of Manchester’s heritage, so it’s fantastic to see the National Trust’s plans for breathing new life into this landmark and I look forward to working with them to make this a reality,” said Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
“Greater Manchester’s parks and green spaces have been a lifeline over the pandemic, and we’ve all been reminded of how important access to nature is, which is why I’m committed to creating greener, more liveable communities. This project could make a big contribution to this goal – and help revitalise our city’s heritage at the same time.”
Plans have been in the works to transform Castlefield viaduct for several years. In 2012, local residents worked with architects BDP to come up with park designs for the space after being inspired by New York City’s High Line.
The National Trust began work on this new scheme in January 2020, bringing on Twelve Architects towards the end of the year. It is unknown how much the viaduct project will cost to bring to life, but the National Trust did say that basic restoration of it would cost several million pounds. The trust is looking for financial help for the project.