Ryebank MMU
The site is earmarked for 70 homes according to a development framework

Ryebank campaigners make their voices heard

Dan Whelan

Opposition to the proposed redevelopment of Ryebank Fields in Chorlton was “by far the single biggest message” to come out of the latest consultation on Manchester’s local plan, the city council said. 

The consultation, which ran from February to May and canvassed public opinion on Manchester City Council’s overarching development strategy, received 562 responses in total, 44% of which were in relation to the Ryebank Fields proposal, according to council documents. 

Covering 10 acres next to Longford Park, Ryebank Fields is owned by Manchester Metropolitan University. 

MMU plans to sell the land to a developer to build up to 70 homes, a proposal that has met with criticism from some local residents. 

The council received a total of 245 responses opposing the potential redevelopment and respondents asked the authority to protect the site by designating it as an area of local green space under the local plan. 

Just two consultation responses were in favour of the redevelopment plans, according to the council. 

Ryebank Fields

The site was closed due to the discovery of asbestos

Save Ryebank Fields, a group of campaigners opposed to MMU’s plans, implored people to contact Manchester City Council when the local plan consultation launched in February, providing an email template for would-be respondents to outline their various objections. 

In September, MMU confirmed that asbestos had been found on the site but said it intended to press ahead with plans to sell the land, which is being marketing through the agency Cushman & Wakefield. 

Campaigners claim the land is not fit for development due to the presence of the harmful material and the fact that it was previously used for landfill.  

Local residents also use the fields recreationally, but MMU has restricted access to the site following the discovery of asbestos. 

While Save Ryebank Fields stands against the redevelopment plans, another group, Chorlton Community Land Trust, is hoping to at least influence the direction of any future development, which it considers is the most likely outcome for the site.  

The focus of the trust, which has almost 300 members, is to ensure that any proposed development contains ample provision for affordable housing,  protection of community space and a commitment to low-carbon development, according to its chairman Steve Goslyn. 

Speaking to Place North West, a spokesperson from MMU, said: “The university has begun marketing the Ryebank site in Chorlton for sale and has been encouraged by the interest from housing developers in purchasing the site to meet Manchester’s requirement for housing. We have invited initial expressions of interest by 23 October.

“The development framework adopted by Manchester City Council in 2019, requires any potential developer to commit to a participatory approach and embark upon extensive community consultation ahead of the submission of a planning application.  We look forward to actively taking part in that process as the landowner.”

Manchester City Council has been contacted for comment. 

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Save the green belt in Cheshire. Save the green belt in Cheshire. Green spaces in Manchester: Who cares?

By James Yates

Selfish NIMBYs. Very poor form.

By YIMBY

The CCLT have a much more sensible and reasonable approach here, try and guide the development rather than halt altogether. This isn’t a beautiful green space or anywhere near Greenbelt, this is a brownfield site that is ideally located for redevelopment. This really needs to be pushed through now, been going on far too long when we need more housing.

By Bradford

More good family housing is needed within Chorlton. I hope development can come forward here which complements the park and factors in ecology.

By Family Housing

We used to eat our prawn sandwiches on this asbestos filled beauty

By Gorrest Fump

Looking forward to seeing houses on here! Which is going to happen so pointless for the campaigns really. The houses will really bring life to the area

By Anon

There is so much open space around here so I don’t get why people are complaining about building on a bit of wasteland. It’s a great site for new housing but I personally think they should try to get more on it

By YIMBY

It isn’t brownfield – it’s designated greenfield.

Also the initial proposal for 70 homes has been increased to circa 140.

By Anonymous

Ryebank Fields are categorised as greenfield. They are wild, biodiverse and act as a carbon, pollution and flood sink. Manchester has the lowest amount of GI out of all the boroughs. MCC has signed up to a climate emergency and MMU (who were gifted the fields) emphasise their green credentials. Ryebank Fields must be saved!

By Blue Fairy

Would you buy a house built on toxic rubbish?
The wildlife have adapted in a way that they average person could not.
Leave it green, it was gifted when MMU was a council led Polytechnic for recreational purposes. There is a unique green vista with beautiful trees. Let it remain that way.

By J. Lynch