Irwell River Park project secures investment

Michael Hunt

A total of £734,000 has been committed towards two sections of the Irwell River Park project between Salford and Manchester.

Salford City Council has provided £614,000 for a new routeway connection between the Quays and Salford Central and Spinningfields, while £120,000 was confirmed from the North West Development Agency, through environment agency Red Rose Forest, to deliver environmental improvements at The Meadows in Broughton, Salford.

Salford's routeway connection will deliver 2.5 km of new and improved walkway and cycle routes between Trafford Road and Princes Bridge's.

The area will also benefit from enhanced lighting, signage, environmental improvements and better accessibility between the riverside and adjacent neighbourhoods, particularly Ordsall.

The project will also deliver improvements to the waterway such as the removal of invasive weeds and better facilities for local rowers and anglers.

The MeadowsThe funding will also mean environmental improvements at The Meadows can continue as part of the Forestry Commission and North West Development Agency partnership programme, Newlands, which is aiming to create a safer, more attractive natural environment.

Following the completion of a new 1.1km footpath made of recycled materials, the next phase of work will include a new entrance, woodland and meadow planting, and the creation of wetlands. The project will improve the Meadows' accessibility, attractiveness and biodiversity, and encourage wildlife.

These two projects form part of the long term vision for Irwell River Park, to create an international waterfront destination on a 690-acre area running 8km along the course of the River Irwell, which will connect £3bn of economic and development investment between Salford Quays and Crescent Meadows.

The Irwell River Park project is co-ordinated by Central Salford urban regeneration company and the project is being delivered through a partnership of the three local authorities in Salford, Manchester and Trafford, the North West Development Agency, private sector partners and the community.

Cllr Derek Antrobus, lead member for planning at Salford City Council, said: "Local people are eager for this transformation and I'm delighted by this progress. Instead of dividing our communities, the river will once again be the place where Manchester, Salford and Trafford join. We want it to be a focus for events and activities as well as a safe sustainable route from the Quays to the city centre and beyond."

Chris Farrow, chief executive of Central Salford and chairman of the Irwell River Park executive management group, added: "Irwell River Park is really beginning to take shape with our vision for this fantastic new waterfront asset being translated into exciting new projects on the ground. The River Irwell is at the heart of the City Region and we are committed to working with our partners to make this waterside a unique destination, connection and a place to visit."

North West Development Agency announced yesterday that the £11m footbridge designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, connecting Media City UK to the Trafford Wharf promenade, was moved into place.

Farrow added: "Media City UK footbridge, along with the completion of Trafford Wharf Promenade will for the first time create a continuous network around The Quays , establishing an important link between the cultural attractions and employment areas including Imperial War Museum North, the Lowry and, of course, Media City UK.

"I am delighted that this key anchor of Irwell River Park is slotting into place and look forward to working with partners to deliver further investment and improvements all the way along the River Irwell to Manchester city centre and beyond."

In June, Central Salford said the £72m Irwell River Park project had a shortfall of £27m having already secured £45m from the European Regional Development Fund.

The project is expected to take ten years to complete.

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