Protect Castlefield green space, pleads councillor as she admits developers may win planning battle

Developers are being urged to keep their hands off a plot of open-space grassland in the Castlefield canal basin – with a Manchester councillor hoping it stays development-free.

‘Plot G’, which lies between Merchants Bridge and The Wharf pub in Castlefield, is currently up for sale and interested parties have to submit their proposals to Savills by Wednesday October 15.

Planning permission was acquired 12 years ago for a six or seven-storey block of apartments on the site – but that has since expired.

Councillor Joan Davies told MM: “If the residents are able to finance the purchase of that land and turn it into a park, I would be very happy.

“We’ve seen things like that happen in the past. I have a lot of sympathy with people who value the green space.

“People would be upset to lose it.”

Castlefield Forum, a local residents group, is warning any potential developers they’ll face ‘strong opposition’ should they decide to apply for planning permission.

Many pub-goers and sun-seekers use the land in good weather and the group is keen to retain the site’s open-space feel.

Carol Middleton, Chair of the Forum, said: “We fought a long, hard and successful 5 year battle to prevent inappropriate development of the site next to Plot G.

“It was a ‘David & Goliath’ victory with the proposals going to public inquiry, which we and the council won and the developer lost.

“We welcome new development in Castlefield. But Plot G is different.

“Keeping it as open space is crucial to the openness and parkland aspect of the area. Castlefield basin is truly unique, a jewel in Manchester’s crown that should be protected for the present and future.”

DISPUTE: ‘Plot G’ is under threat as developers fight to build on the land

Ian Christie, Secretary of the Forum, said: “People often complain that Manchester city centre lacks any sizeable parks, but here is one in Castlefield, only 10 minutes walk from Albert Square.

“Castlefield basin is a massive draw, not only to people from all over Manchester, but to national and international visitors too.

“Plot G is enormously popular in summer  and is an integral part of the park.”

But with permission to develop the land previously given the nod, there is a significant chance that consent will be given once again.

Councillor Davies did acknowledge that development on the land may be impossible to prevent, adding: “The law says that if you own a piece of land, you are entitled to apply to build something on it.

“Green and open space is at a premium. Any development that does take place on privately owned land needs to be in keeping with the area.”

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