The uncovering of the River Medlock – which runs underneath the site of the £1.4bn Manchester regeneration project – to create the city’s first public park in a century, is to take place over the coming months.
Construction firm PP O’Connor Group has been on site since December carrying out remediation work at the site of the former Mayfield Depot close to Manchester Piccadilly station.
The Stretford-based firm was this week announced as the contractor for the next phase of work to create the park, while Civic Engineers was appointed as lead designer and structural engineer of the park, alongside landscape architect Gillespies and river engineer Buro Happold.
PP O’Connor has so far demolished the 24-acre site of a disused industrial estate, cleared the land and completed 20% of the task of the uncovering – or ‘unculverting’ – the River Medlock, which has lain subterranean for five decades.
The bulk of the work will be done over the coming months and the team’s appointment to this next phase of work marks an important step forward for the project, according to its developer the Mayfield Partnership, comprising U+I, LCR, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester.
Designed by architect Studio Egret West, the 6.5-acre Mayfield Park will be a key feature of the wider mixed-use scheme, whose first phase includes the park together with 320,000 sq ft of offices and a 581-space multistorey car park.
Under the plans, Mayfield will eventually see the creation of 1,500 homes, 1.6m sq ft of commercial space, 300,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities and 14 acres of public realm.
The park is expected to open in September 2022.
Arlene Van Bosch, development director for U+I and the Mayfield Partnership, said: “The Mayfield project has been gathering pace throughout 2021, and PP O’Connor is an important partner with strong Manchester roots, a clear passion for Mayfield and a valuable commitment to working closely with Manchester’s community.
“Mayfield Park will define this part of the city centre when it opens to the public in 2022.”
“To work on such an important, standout scheme for the North of England is incredibly exciting for our team and our extensive Manchester based supply chain as well,” PP O’Connor’s chief executive Charmaine O’Connor added.
And Julian Broster, co-founding director of Civic Engineers, said: “The development of Mayfield is a real opportunity for us to use our nature-based engineering methods to reinstate the River Medlock as an authentic geographic feature, especially as it is set in a wider urban landscape.”