Meeting with Manchester City Council

We have an update from the meeting between our group and Manchester City Council (MCC) which took place on 28/01/19. We have tried to be factual in our summary rather than emotive but please let us know your thoughts.

1) Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) are coming up with a new Development Framework for Ryebank Fields which is most likely to be adopted by MCC. This is the next step towards a planning application. It will be subject to a public consultation and participatory process.

2) MMU have switched their focus from 70 4 and 5 bedroom “executive” homes to a mixed tenure development of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes. This will raise the number of units built on the site. It was stated that this could now mean as many as 120 homes could be built. The number will be confirmed when MMU publish the new framework document. MMU/MCC suggest that this will have less impact on traffic.

3) They are now planning to open up the Trafford side of the development to make an entry road into the site from Ryebank Road on that side. It was stated that this will not be a through road to the Chorlton side. MCC have taken legal advice and say opposition from Trafford Council cannot overrule this.

4) They say that of the 10 acre site, 7 acres will be given over to housing and 3 acres will be “green space,” including the area around the Nico Ditch. We don’t know if this means it will still be accessible to the public.

5) They say a significant number of mature trees will be retained. There are over 1400 trees on the site. They gave no indication that there would be any measures put in place to safeguard wildlife and birds.

6) MCC are requesting the transfer documents around the sale/gifting of the site to MMU. They have promised to share these documents with us so we can ascertain if the transfer of the land was subject to any covenants i.e. if it was ring-fenced for sports and recreational use only. However, if such a covenant does exist, MCC will take steps to have it extinguished so that MMU can still develop the land. They make no apology for giving away £10 million worth of public land to MMU due to the potential section 106 monies that could be extracted from a deal. We suspect the land was either given to MMU or sold for £1, as was the case with the Birley Fields land; but we are awaiting the original transfer documents for more information on this.

7) MCC stated that all Section 106 monies generated by the development would be utilised in Chorlton or the surrounding area. This refutes comments at one of the consultation meetings that implied the 106 money would be going to North Manchester. Eddie Smith specifically stated that the Friends of Longford Park (FOLP) would benefit from some of the Section 106 money. However, their Chairperson, Nigel Woodcock refutes the suggestion that FOLP are in any way in favour of the development of Ryebank Fields and, at last week’s FOLP meeting, it was agreed to formally request that some, or all, of the fields is incorporated into Longford Park.

8) The Chorlton Ward Councillors have promised to oppose any planning application from MMU that does not meaningfully tackle the issues of increased traffic.

9) The Chorlton Ward Councillors have promised to set up a meeting with local residents who have existing concerns regarding flooding to their homes. We think this is contained mainly around the Longford/Newport/Nicholas Road area, but please let us know if it effects you regardless of location.

Eddie Smith, Director of Strategy & Development was in attendance, along with Chorlton Ward Councillors, John Hacking, Matt Strong and Eve Holt. Nigel Woodcock, Nixon Tod, Paul Harnett, Jason Johnson, Richard Morris and Julie Ryan attended for Friends of Ryebank Fields (FORF).

Anne Russel from Friends of Turn Moss very kindly took minutes for us. We will share the full record of the meeting once it is finalised.