Canal Street 1
The Gay Village consultation will go live in February

Manchester commissions review of Gay Village

Dan Whelan

Manchester City Council is to conduct a “major review” into the Gay Village and its future, in response to controversy over  publication of the Portland Street regeneration framework in 2017.

The review is described as a “listening exercise” and will involve consultation with local people, businesses and organisations.

The consultation will aim to find out what should be protected, how the local environment could be improved, and what opportunities there might be to enhance the area. The council has appointed socioeconomic consultancy Hatch Regeneris to conduct the consultation.

In an attempt to allay fears over future plans for the Gay Village, Manchester City Council stressed: “The review is not a development or regeneration plan for the area, and will not lead to a rebranding exercise or a formal strategy for the future of the Gay Village.”

The Portland Street Strategic Regeneration Framework, which was published in December 2017, caused uproar among the LGBTQ+ community and local stakeholders amid fears it would threaten the community. A petition against the framework was launched in response and garnered 2,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.

Despite anger towards the proposals, the framework was not pulled, although amendments were made. The masterplan centred around some specific development projects, including the development of the 329-bedroom Hotel Brooklyn which is in the process of being fitted out.

Hatch, which has its offices on Faulkner Street close to the Gay Village, has begun preliminary research, with the consultation set to go live in February and running into March.

Ricardo Gomez, director of Hatch, said: “We recognise how important the area is to the LGBTQ+ community, and to the part the neighbourhood has played in shaping Manchester’s modern identity. This is a listening exercise to make sure Manchester City Council has the furthest possible range of voices talking about the Gay Village.

“The wide range of voices who contribute to the study will provide really valuable insights to assist the Council and stakeholders as they think about the future of the Village.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The historical importance of the Gay Village for the city’s LGBTQ+ community cannot be underestimated. There is no question that the heritage of the neighbourhood – and its future – must be protected.

“We promised that we would undertake this review and it’s important that we do given the significance of the Gay Village to a huge amount of people. To be able to act as guardians, we need to speak to the people at the heart of the community and listen to their views.”

Your Comments

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It’s a dump, in urgent need of regeneration, the bars are awful

By Dan

It’s all good doing a consultation but whether MCC listens to feedback this time is another thing. The area does need rejuvenating; what could be an Amsterdam style area what with the canal running through is instead in need of TLC (kudos to some residents and bar owners who are trying to brighten up the area with the planting of box flowers etc though).

By Mike

The Gay Village is a massive part of Manchester and MCC need to start taking this seriously.
It’s one of the biggest gay areas in the world and attracts tonnes of tourists.
Its a prime example of why Manchester is such an amazing city and deserves all the success it has earned.
Pull your finger out MCC!

By L

MCC do bit own the bars. What on earth do people expect them to be able to do, realistically?

By FGS

@FGS
If you actually walk around there, some of the basic maintenance seems to have been looked over.

I think a good scrub and more policing would improve the area significantly.

Whilst new houses and hotels are being brought to the area, some Berlin-style soundproofing etc. would probably help to ensure the nightlife is protected.

And a bigger focus on community led development and green infrastructure to bring the warmth back.

By L

The Gay Village in Manchester has been a huge part of my life. It is a place I could come to as a scared young man fearing for the future and has enabled me to meet many life long friends and my husband. It’s a safe space for me.

I think it needs a bigger police presence for a while as the lack of this has caused people to try their luck, especially targeting people for drugs. This will help massively with the place, especially Sackville Gardens

The bars offer so much for the gay community. I completely disagree with Dan in the comments who referred to them all as being awful. Yes some of them are not my cup of tea but as a now older gay man I still enjoy many of them, as do my friends and we feel very safe.

Many people come from all over the world to experience what Canal Street has to offer and no whenever I do get out into the city me and my friends still gravitate towards the Gay Village as we can be ourselves, feel safe and have a great time.

By Eric