Protestors oppose Birley Fields proposals

A group of local residents in Hulme, Manchester has started an online petition against Manchester Metropolitan University's planned £120m Birley Fields campus and is due to hold a public demonstration on Friday afternoon.

The Save Birley Fields campaigners are calling for the proposals to be dropped, claiming consultation was poor, information about its impacts on traffic has not been made available and the existing green space is needed and should not be built upon.

Protestors are being urged to attend a demonstration at 2pm today at Hulme Post Office.

A spokesman for MMU said: "The University has been listening to the Hulme community for well over two years as we recognise the insight of local people is vital.

"The site itself is not natural green space, it is overgrown brownfield, but nevertheless we will be planting more trees than we remove and more than two-thirds of the site will remain open space.

"The 320-space multi-storey which slip-roads onto the Princess Parkway should go some way to keeping parked cars off the streets and we are in negotiations to establish a residents' only parking scheme.

"Extensive consultations show there is a huge amount of support for this scheme within Hulme and beyond because ultimately it is about investing in top quality education for the people of Manchester."

MMU submitted its detailed planning application for the campus for teaching and nursing students last month.

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The picture on this article is NOTHING close to the proposed MONSTER development. Try looking here and you will see the full extent of the plans which would trash our green space forever:

By Ellie

The scheme looks superb and just what the area needs. Lots of investment and job opportunities that will provide much needed regeneration into an important gateway of Manchester.

By A N Observer

I don’t get it, why change the masterplan? It looked good and made a lot of sense regarding boundaries, open spaces, density etc. Now we have student blocks with cut off ends that don’t really work for no purpose other than looking rather rubbish externally. Do the Manchester design directors need their fingers slapped?

By for expansion but

I hope these loonies don’t think they’re speaking for the majority here. Birley Fields is not an attractive space in its current state, neither is it well used by the local community. Moreover the space has always been heavily populated by housing in its past. What Hulme desperately needs is more people to sustain improved local services as well as space for improved shops, businesses and social infrastructure – all of which will be delivered by this redevelopment on top of what looks like very high quality public open space proposals. The few dissenting voices do not have a coherent argument for why this should not go ahead other than ‘not in my back yard’ and ‘we don’t like change’.

By A_Noun

I agree with various above, why has the masterplan changed so significantly? Who allowed the current set of architects to mess it all up? Back to square one, please!

By Pro McA, con SR

People will object if you paint their homes, trees and everything else the same shade of battleship grey

By John Major

Typically the new proposal rendering is designed as a lovely cartoon emphasising trees and decked area (not the old picture above). The reality of it is, its a 6-7 storey high inward looking fortress built in the middle of Hulme, bringing a low wage transient population, leaflets and lots of motor traffic. I’m sure asda will do well out of it, but thats about it.

By D. Jones

MMU have gone to great lengths to consult the local community. The changes to the masterplan have been made to create more intimate, friendly open spaces and to retain most of the good quality mature trees. Hulme still needs to build critical mass in order to support more shops and services. Unfortunately MMU seem to be watering down their renewable energy proposals as a result of losing the £8.5m grant from the NWDA. The biggest challenge remains – how many decent jobs for local people can MMU create/ facilitate. The mixed use ground floor space around Stretford Rd. is important – oportunities for local shops/ cafes/ businesses etc. This is a major opportunity to show the big society in action = self help and helping our neighbours = justice for all. (Moss Side is still ranked the Local authoriy ward with the 2nd highest child poverty in the UK, Hulme is 20th.) Building professionals read this blog – please lend your support! Thank you.

By Dan Aris

Why not just replant an oak tree, to replace the one that used to be there. That ought to do it.

By Liz Birley

To paraphrase Basil Fawlty….. " What do you expect to see out of a Hulme College window? The hanging gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Plains???’

By Mrs Richardson

This development will not bring jobs or help local businesses. The retail units proposed will no doubt lead to the closure of what little local business has developed. And of course putting the campus on an area of open mosaic habitat will only worsen the already poor air quality. As well as leading to more traffic congestion and parking problems for the local residents.

By Patrick Sudlow