Does Great Ancoats Street really need more car parking space?
That’s the question being asked by unhappy Ancoats residents currently petitioning the city council over plans to turn the old Central Retail Park into a new 10-acre car park.
Citing concerns regarding the effects of further pollution to the area, they are calling for the space to be transformed into a green space that the whole community can enjoy.
The petition draws attention to the site’s close proximity to New Islington primary school and raises concerns that plans for the 400 space car park will increase pollution in an area that already suffers from “appalling childhood asthma rates.”
It also states that “Manchester City Council has declared a climate emergency and has committed to reducing carbon emissions. Building a huge car park that will increase pollution is in direct contradiction to this.”
We currently have 152 stretches of road in Greater Manchester that exceed the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide. Road transport currently contributes 80 per cent of emissions of nitrogen oxides, 81 per cent of particulates and 32pc of carbon dioxide emissions.
Not only is this bad news for the environment, but it’s having a detrimental effect on our health too.
Pollution in Greater Manchester is already extremely high and dirty air already contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths a year in the region.
Even Councillor Alex Ganotis, the town hall chief in charge of air quality for the region, has previously labelled pollution an ‘invisible killer’.
The site would see around 1,000 cars moving in and out of it onto the already busy Manchester ring road.
The council, which expects the temporary car park to generate £1.1m, wants to turn the land into office space eventually.
But campaigners have highlighted that roadworks and additional parking spaces will result in more congestion in the area.
They are also upset that cycle paths are not part of the plans that the council has submitted, despite this being part of the council’s own Clean Air Plan.
In the long term, according to a foreword including in the plans submitted, the council intend to “transform the site into a mixed use location, comprising a consolidated and modernised retail park, a high quality residential cluster, enhanced public realm and connections through the site to Cotton Field Park and adjoining neighbourhoods.”
The application goes to planning on August 22nd and protesters have until August 17th to make their voices heard. To date, over 1,800 signatures have been collected of the 2,000 needed. If you want to support the cause you can sign the petition below.
The group will also be holding a protest on the site on August 17th.