Manchester city council has commissioned an independent consultancy to talk to local people, businesses and organisations to find out what should be protected, how the local environment could be improved, and what opportunities there might be to enhance the area.
The consultation, which will be carried out by independent consultants Hatch, is thought to be in response to widespread concerns about the future of Portland Street and the Gay Village and accusations that previous consultations did not adequately take into account the views of the LGBTQ community.
An online petition demanding that the council’s plans for the development of the area should be scrapped has received over 11,500 signatures.
The Gay Village isn’t just home to Manchester’s LGBTQ scene. For developers it represents prime city centre real estate. A two bed apartment on Canal Street is currently on the market for just under £900k.
Members of the LGBTQ community have expressed concern that the development of the area will lead to ‘the blandification and erosion of an important neighbourhood’s identity’.
“As a business based close to the Gay Village in Manchester city centre, we recognise how important the area is to the LGBTQ+ community, and the part the neighbourhood has played in shaping Manchester’s modern identity,” said Hatch director Ricardo Gomez.
“At the heart of the study will be a thorough process of gathering views about the Village and what it means to those who live there, work there, run businesses and organisations and visit it.
“The wide range of voices who contribute to the study will provide really valuable insights to assist the council and stakeholders as they think about the future of the Village.”
Council leader Sir Richard Leese said the review would be a listening exercise to gain invaluable insight from the community that can help the council’s thinking about how it can support the future of the Gay Village.
“There will be lots of ways for Manchester people to get involved and I would urge as many people as possible to do so. There is so much to celebrate about the Gay Village and we need you to tell us what it means to you.
“We promised that we would undertake this review and it’s important that we do, given the significance of the Gay Village to a huge amount of people. 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”.
To register your interest in taking part in the online survey, email firstname.lastname@example.org