PEN NQ Project 3

GALLERY | Vision revealed for Northern Quarter garden

Charlie Schouten

Working with client Chapter One Books, Pen Studios has showcased plans for an outdoor garden and seating space on Dale Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

The 4,000 sq ft plot of land is currently vacant; the landowner has leased the plot to the bookstore to create a landscaped area featuring extensive planting, seating for 80 people, a children’s play area, and a Victorian-style glasshouse, which could potentially house a florist.

Existing trees will be retained on the plot while further planting will be introduced throughout. The outdoor area will be open to the public, as well as residents of the apartments on the upper floors of Chatsworth House.

The area had previously been troubled with antisocial behaviour, and the area will now be made secure with fencing ahead of landscaping, which is due to complete around September this year. The scheme is being brought forward as a change-of-use planning application.

Architectural visualisation studio AV Frame has worked with Manchester-based architect Pen Studios to create the CGIs for the project.

Click any image to launch gallery

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More of this in Manchester please

By Anonymous

A garden, in Manchester.. Surely you’re mistaken? Fair play

By l131b

This is exactly what Manchester needs, great job PEN

By Ben Knowler

Splendid plan. What about doing something similar with Stevenson Square?

By Elephant

Chapter One is great.

By York Street

Lovely stuff !!

By Anon

Positive green investment must be welcomed however the introduction of a tall perimeter fence is lamentable – can this be reduced in height?

By a

I think public realm would be better than a private garden. The space just needs tidying up and opening up. Can’t see this lasting. Vandals will love it.


Looks great much more of this for the city centre please.

By Lenny1968

This is a disgraceful privatisation of a public space. This is a space where families, locals, students, dog walkers, drug dealers and criminals can live side by side. .

By Jeremy C

The space is owned by a private company don’t see a problem with this, welcomed regeneration of some green space.

By Anonymous

Hope this happens, this area is pretty grubby with too many unsavoury characters.

By R.White

TVOR read the article properly! This will be lovely as long as it is managed properly (which I’m sure it will be after the investment) and locked at night. Great idea and long overdue. I bet Mainstay are contributing nada to this though!

Beautiful fencing as well!

By Steve

It won’t be a popular view but I’m happy to see this space designated private. We have enough public no-go areas in the city centre. Providing a degree management to this space will hopefully allow them to create a more intricate design.


More areas of Manchester need to be privately managed. Not sure why so many people are against it. Spinningfields, First St and the Arndale are all privately managed and they’re some of the only places in the city where you don’t get scrotes hanging about.

By Anonymous

Looks awesome, more of this needed on a bigger scale. Stevenson square could be completely pedestrianised and greened over.


Very supportive of much needed green infrastructure in Manchester, however disappointed to see a reduction in an already sparse provision of public realm in the Northern Quarter. This looks like it will be a private entity. Get that fence lowered.


Very nice, Get them on board for Piccadilly Gardens.

By Steve

This is stunning!


Steve, I’ve read the article properly and TVOR’s post, which for some bizarre reason has since been deleted? there was nothing offensive in it. How odd? I live not 5 minutes from the very spot and I have no doubt in my mind the usual suspects will be ‘parked’ right out side the place i.e. beggars and spice heads.. fence or no fence..

By Ant

Steve lets create a petition for pen studios to design Piccadilly gardens am sure it will be a million times better than what is there currently

By Andy Thompson

I mean, public spaces shouldn’t really be shut off to the public.

By Anonymous

Capital and Centric are doing something similar at Kampus on Canal Street. It looks fantastic, how wonderful if we end up with lots of these pockets of greenery around this part of the city.

By Derek

it isn’t a bookshop anymore, just a cafe

By red

That looks good.

By Nic McCoy

Will this need to go into planning soon? Will it get past Mcr’s Labour council who are making things harder to get through planning?

By Afrina