Castlefield Viaduct strawberry garden, National Trust, c BDP

The Strawberry Garden is one segment of the reimagined Castlefield Viaduct. Credit: BDP

Planning app due in summer for Castlefield Viaduct expansion

Transforming the entirety of the 125-year-old, grade two-listed viaduct into a ‘sky park’ is the charity’s goal – one that would connect Deansgate tram stop with Pomona Island.

The National Trust is aiming to submit its planning application for the remaining 150-metre viaduct structure in late summer. The first 180 metres of the viaduct were turned into a temporary park in 2022.

BDP worked with the charity on the designs for the expansion, divvying up the entirety of the 330-metre structure into seven different character areas:

  1. Castlefield Platform – a welcome area by Deansgate tram stop
  2. Global Garden – an area described as green and playful, celebrating international planting
  3. Village Hub – a space where the community can grow plants and participate in events
  4. Strawberry Garden – a zone that would be inspired by the 19th-century recreation gardens of Cornbrook
  5. The Lookout – an area focused on providing open-air views because of lack of over-head iron girders
  6. The Cottonopolis – a section inspired by Manchester’s industrial past
  7. Pomona Walk – a tree-top walk that the conclusion (or beginning) of the viaduct, leading onto Pomona Island

Another entry and exit point towards Mancunian Way is also being considered.

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Fantastic scheme that I love hearing about. Combines Manchester’s incredible history and architecture with a raised green space to be enjoyed by the masses. What’s not to like?
The Look Out looks beautiful and would provide an open space respite from what is in part a very claustrophobic and intense urban grain.
I honestly can’t wait and hope it’s extended even further.
Also PNW – what’s happening with the other High Line style park at Viccy North?
How cool would a new link between the two be?! Even a subterranean link would be brill.

By I Love PNW :)

Peel should be contributing through s106 monies due to the benefit it will bring to their Pomona development plots.

By Fund it

I prefer the Leeds one

By Anonymous

@fundit : peel should absolutely be contributing to this as a main beneficiary, and also upping their design aspirations on pomona from the current carbuncle they’ve built there

By Cheggers

The Leeds one will hopefully be great but the structure and location of Manchester’s might just edge it into one of the best in the world if they were to extend to Pamona to give it a proper length, as well as running parallel to the Irwell. Could be a decent tourist attraction and cycle link if they end up building the pedestrian bridge between Pamona and Salford Quays. Very exciting!

By Anonymous

It’s a shame there aren’t plans to turn Pamona into more of a decent green space which overlooks the river. Imagine that – a handsome traffic-free bridge all the way from Deansgate to a waterside park.

By Anonymous

Full Mark’s to Mcr but why do we never hear from Liverpool City Council about drawing up projects like this, and working with partners like the National Trust.
They just don’t have the vision or mindset for these kind of things that improve people’s lives.

By Anonymous

It already is Summer, Julia.

By Albert

    Ahem, summer technically begins 20 June ;). But in this case, the story explains it’s due late summer – I was trying to keep the headline short, so dropped the ‘late’ in that. Apologies for ay confusion caused.

    By Julia Hatmaker

Great but why do we need a red tape planning app for plants…

By Teresa Green

Let’s hope something similar can be done to the Red Bank viaduct leading into Victoria

By IM Positive

Fantastic news. Excellent reporting!

If you get chance – can you find out what is happening with the old high line park plans at Victoria North? They sounded exciting, but I’ve not heard anything for a while.


MB they weren’t real plans, just visualisations to get support for the apartment construction round there

By Anonymous

Well that’s just 7 kinds of wonderful! I agree it would be even more wonderful if they extended it right out to Pomona but give it time. Nothing else quite like it in the UK so hats off to the council.

By Anonymous

Anonymous at 2.11 is right. Pomona Island is an asset only Greater Manchester, would allow to remain a scrapyard, with ghastly unimaginative flats, sporadically built between the fly tipping . This is where Burnham needs the power to overrule individual councils, when it is for the good of the whole conurbation. This would make a stunning urban park with water, like the one in Berlin. This city is utterly clueless at public realm. Why all the consultation over a tired old bridge for a few plants.

By Elephant

It’s not actually a park up on the Viaduct though is it? It’s a highly regimented non-public space with access limited to guided tours only on weekdays, suitable for a stroll if you live near enough or are on your way somewhere else, it closes entirely at 16.30, even at this time of year, and entirely from autumn.
The sort of thing that wins awards and praise, including from people on here, but doesn’t do many of the things that an actual park would enable, like impromptu sport, a long picnic with friends, or even taking the (non-assistance) dog for a walk.
The risk here is that any expansion provides a distraction and cover for MCC to do nothing about demand from residents for an actual park, while hoovering up any available funding – this isn’t a cheap scheme.

By Low Line

@Low Line

Absolutely, green space should be MCC’s top priority for funding going forward and we shouldn’t be limited to one ‘green’ space.

By Anonymous

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