Hough End New Build From Road
A petition by campaign group Save Hough End Fields has garnered more than 2,500 signatures. Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

Manchester to rethink unpopular Hough End proposals 

Dan Whelan

The council has backed down in the face of a campaign against plans to extend the leisure centre and build two artificial sports pitches. The authority will now go back to the drawing board and aims to lodge revised plans in August. 

The Princess Road project would have seen the erection of a two-storey extension to Hough End Leisure Centre comprising changing facilities, a café, flexible social rooms and gym space. 

Under the plans, the existing changing pavilion building would have been demolished to make way for the new-build extension. 

Also included in the 15-acre scheme was the introduction of two 3G pitches and associated lighting and fencing, along with a 67-space car park and 100-space overflow car park. 

However, the proposals have proved unpopular with some residents. 

A petition launched by campaign group Save Hough End Fields has garnered more than 2,500 signatures since the council lodged plans for the project in April. 

The petitioners object to the plans to build the enclosed artificial pitches on the open space to the rear of the leisure centre, claiming it goes against a historic covenant aimed at maintaining the land for public use. 

“Fencing off areas is not in the spirit…[or] in the wording of the covenant,” the group said. 

Save Hough End Fields also raised concerns about the impact the project would have on wildlife and air quality. 

The city council has withdrawn its planning application for the project in response to the objections. 

Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have listened carefully to what residents have had to say and their responses will help to shape our new proposals for the site in the future.  

“We would like to thank all residents and community groups who have engaged in the community consultation to date and will now reflect on the feedback that has been provided to shape the revised scheme.” 

Consultancy ISG submitted the plans on behalf of Manchester City Council, while the scheme’s architect is Ellis Williams Architects. 

Greenwich Leisure operates Hough End Leisure Centre for the city council. 

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

Very well done ‘Save Hough End Fields’…. Let’s keep it as it is; rusty goal posts, changing rooms so bad you could film a scene of a horror movie in them and load of football pitches which are used twice a week at the most and otherwise left as overgrown dog poo infested wasteland. Why are people so against Investment in it so it’s more attractive to and useful for people?! Adds to pollution: please – it’s next to the Princess Parkway – 4 lanes of 24 hour traffic. We should be welcoming Investment in this space, which didn’t propose to remove vast chucks of open space anyway.

By Great

Why would you not want to add to the transformation of Hough End? Fencing off 3G / 4G pitches makes sense (protecting the asset from dogs etc). Lets not forget there are another 15 to 20 grass pitches that will not be fenced off.

I hope the Council sees through this nonsense and give South Manchester a sporting asset that can help improve health and well being outcomes for all!

By Anonymous

It would be crazy to stop these proposals

By Anonymous

What is happening in Manchester? How can a few miserable people who moan about everything keep getting these things blocked? They won’t be happy until Manchester is closed to all but them

By Theis

A few miserable people – actually 2,600. Dog poo infested wasteland – you, obviously, have never walked across it because there isn’t any. Nonsense – not if you have ever bothered to read Lord Egerton’s covenant and respect it’s provision for free access to the public of Manchester. New changing rooms and the relaying of football pitches are great ideas – the rest is as your contributors state – crazy, nonsense and Very well done ‘Save Hough End Fields’.

By Peter

Unpopular? The scheme was also very popular but people who like to let their dogs defecate all over pitches that children try to play football on made a bigger noise. They care more about bats than children’s mental health.

By J

I am sad that people don’t want to improve the facility and car parking at Hough End. After starting to swim here last August I have walked around these fields and the woods close by. It helped me see what a super place this is but I can’t see that the proposals would detract from that. They would just provide more facilities for local people while leaving plenty of space for dog walkers, general walkers and for children to play. More parking would allow more people to enjoy the area. I am sure that over 2500 local residents would also support this proposal.

By Caroline