‘The heritage of the neighbourhood must be protected’: Gay Village’s future up for review

Manchester City Council is due to announce a review into the future of the city’s iconic Gay Village, it has emerged.

The review, due to start this February, will include an online survey to gather input from LGBTQ+ individuals – as well as businesses and frequent and non-frequent visitors to the Gay Village – in regards to their thoughts and opinions the area.

In a statement published this Monday, the council said it was keen to find out ‘what the area means to local people’ and that the review would ‘provide an updated understanding of the importance of the Gay Village as a safe space for the city’s LGBTQ+ community’.

Manchester-based economics consultancy firm Hatch Regeneris has been commissioned to carry out a survey as part of the review.

Company director Ricardo Gomez explained to MM: “We’ve not gone into this with something very specific in terms of what we expect to hear. It’s genuinely an exercise to listen to voices about the Gay Village, as the city council itself has said.”

Gomez notes that there is no set number regarding the amount of people and businesses that can take part in the survey.

He said that those who do take part can expect to be asked questions concerning issues that they think should be tackled, as well as how they might like to see the village change in future.

“We’ll be asking people for their views on what they like about the Gay Village from the perspective of the different users, visitors, businesses who are based there, people who live there, maybe people who visit from time to time, spend evenings out the,” Gomez continued.

It’s not clear what action the council will take based on the results of the review, nor is it clear why the review is to be carried out now. The council claims that the review is not part of a development or regeneration plan.

“This is a very important area and now is a good time to make sure that its voices are heard,” said Gomez. “In time, it’s for Manchester City Council and its stakeholders to think about what this research and the evidence is telling them as they think about the future.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, urged Manchester residents to get involved, and said in a press release: “The area is a beacon for tolerance across the UK, and its reputation internationally renowned. There is no question that the heritage of the neighbourhood – and its future – must be protected.

“To be able to act as guardians, we need to speak to the people at the heart of the community, and listen to their views.”

Those who wish to get involved can register their interest at [email protected]

Manchester’s Gay Village – centred just minutes from Piccadilly Station with Canal Street as its main promenade – is a lively and well-known area of bars and restaurants and a hotspot for the LGBTQ+ community.

Image courtesy of Tecmark via Flickr, with thanks.

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