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Campaign group blocks Manchester City Council’s planned car park in Ancoats

TreesNotCars has been fighting against Manchester City Council’s decision to develop the former Central Retail Park in Anocats into a 440-space car park.

And the council lost a legal battle in the High Court on Friday against the community-led campaign group. 

TreesNotCars, a group formed by Manchester city centre residents, fought legally against the Council’s decision to turn the former shopping area into a large car park.

Between July 2019 and October 2019, TreesNotCars campaigned by organising events and trying to attract attention to the cause. 

A petition against the car park received 12,000 signatures. 

However, when the council decided to go ahead with the car park Gemma Cameron, a lead member of TreesNotCars, decided to initiate a judicial review of the planning decision. 

The court found that Manchester City Council had: 

  • Failed to consider the impact of air quality on the local area around Ancoats
  • Failed to consider the impact of building a polluting 440-space car park next to the New Islington Free School.
  • Approved the planning application based on the wrong air quality assessment

Julia Kovaliova, an organiser for TreesNotCars, says the group is the first community led campaign organisation to win a court case against Manchester City Council.  

Julia also points out there is a contradiction between the City Council’s ambitions to become a net-zero city by 2038 and their development plans. 

TreesNotCars is campaigning with other local groups to oppose the redevelopment of Great Ancoats Street and the office development on New Islington Green site. 

A plan to build offices on New Islington Green was approved in December 2020 despite a petition to save the space being signed by 5,000 residents. 

She said: “We can show the dedication of local people, spending their own private time on something that helped the community. 

“It is a very good example and sets precedent for other campaigners, to not lose their hope and fight for what is right. 

“We won’t stop here; we definitely want a seat at the table when discussing the plans for the site.” 

Image: Family event organised by Trees Not Cars on the former Central Retail Park site in September 2019

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