Updated: Thursday, 13th August 2020 @ 11:08am

Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘green’ award met with cynicism by campaigners

Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘green’ award met with cynicism by campaigners

By James Briscoe

First class honours have been bestowed on Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) by the UK’s leading student environmental group despite its Birley Fields plans.

The University was ranked the 17th ‘greenest’ in the UK by the People & Planet Green League.

Hulme Campaign group, Birley Fields Trees, who are against MMU’s plans to build a new campus at Birley Fields in Hulme tweeted: “So how many trees did the other 16 plan to cut down in order to beat them?”

Recently we reported on MMU’s plans to build a £70m campus at Birley Fields, Hulme.

Just over a month later and it has not been confirmed yet that the planned campus will go ahead, although it seems more and more likely.

Birley Fields Trees who are campaigning to try to ‘save Birley Fields’ say they expect Manchester City Council to make a decision on the project by July 2011.

They added that they believe the decision has already been made.

Hulme residents and the Hulme Green Party are still pushing the Hulme’s Birley Fields Campaign against MMU’s proposals.

So far Hulme’s residents have set up a website and held workshops on how to write letters of objection.

They have also gone to the press with stories in the Manchester Evening News and Mancunian Matters and set up a petition which has 250 signatures - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/birleyfields/

Since we reported on MMU’s plans in late April, Hulme Green Party has called on Manchester City Council to make the effects on the Hulme community a higher priority with planning applications.

Hulme residents are concerned that the town is being taken over by student accommodation and that eventually the ‘soul’ will be completely lost from the area as it is like a ghost town in the summer.

When I asked MMU spokesman, Gareth Hollyman, about MMU’s plans to build on Birley Fields, he said: “There are often fears when a large development is planned. People have concerns about increased traffic.

“The response from residents has been a mixed bag.”

However he said that 65% of the land will not be built on and there will be open space, pathways and gardens on the campus.

He added that MMU had sent a survey to 500 locals and 70% had backed the idea of the campus saying that it would be good for educational use.

A week after our last report on the plans for a new MMU campus in Hulme, reports came out about new student housing at Coupland Street.

The Hulme Green Party is worried about this proposal for a large 650 bed student accommodation block.

MMU has also purchased Hulme’s ‘The Salutation’ pub and its future is now uncertain.