The National Trust has received approval from Manchester City Council for a temporary planning application to open Castlefield viaduct to the public from next summer.
The conservation charity plans to transform the space into a temporary urban park to test ideas and gather feedback from its visitors to help determine the longer term future of the 330 metre long Grade II listed structure.
Duncan Laird, Head of Urban Places at the National Trust, says:
“We’re delighted that our temporary planning application has been given the green light by Manchester City Council. It’s a positive step towards realising our plans, and those of our partners and supporters.
“Earlier this year we invited the public to share their thoughts and give feedback on our plans to open the viaduct as a temporary urban park. We were encouraged by the positive response we received with so many people sharing our excitement about the potential benefits the viaduct could have on the area and those who live locally.
“We’re still in conversation with a number of key organisations whose support we need to make this a reality for Manchester, but we’re looking forward to sharing more news on our plans and progress in the New Year.”
Mike Innerdale, Regional Director for the North at the National Trust, says:
“The pandemic showed us the importance of our local parks and gardens, but it also highlighted significant inequalities in access to green space in urban areas like Manchester.
“The approval of our temporary planning application means we can progress with our ambitions to transform the viaduct into an accessible green space for the 50,000 residents living within a twenty-minute walk of the area.
“We also want to share the viaduct’s story with the people of Manchester, many of whom are likely to have walked on the cobbles underneath this mighty heritage structure, or spotted it on the Castlefield skyline, without knowing its history. The viaduct has stood in Manchester for over 125 years and we want to help the city to protect it, injecting the viaduct with a new lease of life so it becomes a space people can use and be proud of.
“We hope that by testing ideas, finding out what people really need from this unique space, and growing the number of supporters who can help us to make this happen, we can create something that will benefit generations for many years to come.”
The National Trust is a charity committed to protecting nature, beauty and history. The plans for Castlefield viaduct are part of the National Trust’s Urban Places work to address the inequalities in access to green space in and around urban areas.
The initial plan is to open the viaduct next summer for a year as a temporary urban park experience. The Trust plans to use the ‘pilot’ year to test how visitors use the space, understand which plants will grow best on the viaduct, and to gather feedback from people on their thoughts on the best use for the viaduct.
Entry to the temporary urban park will be free with a booking system in place to help manage numbers. As part of the experience, visitors will be able to join a guided walk on the viaduct.
The middle of the viaduct will be transformed with plants and foliage to help attract wildlife including pollinators such as bees and butterflies and will include areas where partners will be invited to display art and get involved with planting and growing. Plans also include an undercover area where visitors can see ideas for the future design of the viaduct and can share their ideas and feedback.
Support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will make a significant contribution to the temporary pilot park on Castlefield viaduct next summer.
The National Trust will need to raise funds to support the future of Castlefield viaduct. To find out more about ways to support the project, contact giving@nationaltrust.