Manchester’s garden city project begins

Work has started on a garden city scheme in the Piccadilly Basin in Manchester, which is part of a long term strategy to make the city greener.

Initially the site is being cleared with the help of a community payback scheme and following funding from Manchester City Council and Manchester's city centre management company, CityCo, planting will start in May.

On the south side of the Manchester canal will be sweet pea and runner beans as well as herbs such as chives and sage, while on the opposite bank, wild flowers including poppies, camomile and corn flowers will feature.

CityCo said members of the business and residential community are being asked to volunteer to help transform these two pieces of land on either side of the canal bank.

The garden city scheme is an independent initiative supported by CityCo, and Manchester-based architect and design practice BDP.

The project aims to increase the amount of temporary green space on brownfield sites and encourage gardening and sustainable eating.

Steve Merridew, environmental design associate at BDP and a founder of the Manchester garden city scheme, said: "This initiative started as an informal chat between friends so it's great to get to this stage and see things starting to take shape. Garden City is all about bringing public and private sector organisations together to create biodiverse environments for the people and wildlife of Manchester city centre.

"We are trying to create a brand which can provide the vision, expertise and framework under which individuals and organisations can deliver Greening initiatives in the city centre.''

Gary Ellis, operations director at CityCo, added: "Piccadilly Basin is the first of several Garden City schemes we've identified across the city. This is part of a longer term strategy to bring nature back to the city centre and provide food sources for local residents. What we're trying to do is create a model that others can adopt. We see it as a bit like a franchise where various organisations can help own and grow the brand, greening the city as they go. We also plan to install more bat boxes and duck houses in the coming weeks. We now need to secure further funding and support so we would encourage people to get on board by volunteering or voting for us."

The garden city project is supported by Town Centre Securities which own the land at Piccadilly Basin.

The garden city schem is trying to secure £5,000 of funding from The Co-operative's Join the Revolution initiative.

People can vote for the Manchester project by clicking on The Co-operative Group website by 30 April.

Anyone wanting to volunteer from 4-14 May or pledge their support for the Manchester garden city initiative should email

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