Win chance to make your mark on New Islington

Developer Urban Splash has launched a competition to create an interim use for a prime site in its east Manchester development which will stay in place throughout 2011.

Urban Splash is working with urban regeneration company New East Manchester, the Homes & Communities Agency and Property Week magazine to find a temporary use for the 0.7-acre piece of land.

The competition is a chance for anyone from architects to community groups to put forward a visually attractive idea to breathe new life into the area.

The temporary use will remain in place for one year while other parts of the New Islington site are developed. The land ear-marked is square, flat, and approximately 0.7 acres in size.

Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash, said: "New Islington, or the Cardroom Estate, as it was once known, was an area filled with poor quality housing and disused public spaces; one of the most rundown areas in Manchester. Now it is somewhere that is beginning to change. Urban Splash and our partners at the Homes and Communities Agency, New East Manchester and Great Places Housing Group have pioneered this change. Together we've already delivered fantastically designed homes at Chips, Guest Street, Islington Square, workspaces at Waulk Mill, a new park, health centre and a soon to be completed Marina.

"The aim of the competition is to find somebody with a short term project that can complement these efforts. We want designs with vision, ambition and most of all somebody who can deliver something that is going to make an impact on the area as a whole."

Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester said: "New Islington is starting to take shape. Within the next few months, the final pieces of public realm will be constructed with £4.4m of NWDA funding, allowing the public into the park and canal boats into the newly created marina. We recognise it's an ambitious long-term regeneration scheme which is clearly facing the challenges of the current economic climate. It's great that Urban Splash is providing this opportunity which will make the most of this prominent, cleared site while it awaits development."

Deborah McLaughlin, director North West of the HCA, said: "The New Islington development has always had a special feel to it and has been innovative in many ways, not just in the provision of the housing.

"It's absolutely fitting that there is now this opportunity for people, including local community groups, to put forward their designs and make their own contribution to what makes the New Islington development such a vibrant place to be."

The judges are Property Week's editor, Giles Barrie; Tom Bloxham, Urban Splash's chairman; Deborah McLaughlin, the HCA's director north west; NEM's chief executive, Eddie Smith; Maria Balshaw from the Whitworth Art Gallery, architect Ian Simpson and Amanda Baillieu, editor of Building Design.

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