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Greater Manchester is a step closer to getting a natural oasis in the city following the announcement that up to £4.9 million regeneration funding could be made available from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
Up to 71 hectares of post industrial damaged land across North Manchester and Oldham has been proposed for extensive environmental regeneration works that will transform it into a vibrant community woodland, helping to promote the local area’s physical and social regeneration.
Through the £59 million environmental regeneration scheme, Newlands, which is led by the NWDA and Forestry Commission, the site will also become a green artery, connecting the area to a network of green spaces that include Lightbowne Country Park and the existing Newlands site, Moston Vale.
NWDA and the FC will now work with the site’s landowners, Manchester City Council, Oldham Council and Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority in partnership with Groundwork Northwest, Environment Agency and Pennine Edge Forest to develop detailed costed proposals to regenerate the area named after the watercourse that runs through the site, Moston Brook.
Four times the size of the Trafford Centre, Moston Brook straddles the urban communities of Failsworth and New Moston. The vision for Moston Brook is to stimulate the local economy by attracting people to live, work and play in a community with ample businesses and good quality green spaces. Part of the eastern edge of Moston Brook falls within the Oldham and Rochdale Housing Market Renewal (HMR) pathfinder area, and it is Newlands’ intention to create a much-valued city forest.
Newlands at Moston Brook hopes to repeat the success of their earlier work in the North Manchester HMR area, which saw the value of houses directly abutting another Newlands site, Moston Vale, almost treble once it was transformed from a former landfill into a community woodland.
Financially and physically, Newlands at Moston Brook is the largest investment the programme has made to the city regions of Manchester and Oldham. Connecting the Moston Vale and Moston Brook sites brings Newlands investment to Manchester and Oldham to more than £6 million for the transformation of over 92 hectares of brownfield land.
Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Economic Development at Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) said:
“This most recent Newlands investment at Moston Brook continues to demonstrate how the scheme is transforming the economic, environmental and social landscape of the Northwest.
“As one of the country’s leading land regeneration schemes, Newlands has already made a huge difference to the quality of life, business opportunities and economic improvements within a number of areas in England’s Northwest.”
Keith Jones, Regional Director of the Forestry Commission added:
“Working with our partners, Newlands at Moston Brook will follow-on from the success of the project’s previous seven projects to help stimulate and sustain healthy and vibrant communities.
"Linking into Greater Manchester’s green infrastructure, Moston Brook will offer a destination that will bring a wealth of benefits for the areas surrounding the site and beyond that will continue to reap rewards for years to come.”
The partners to Moston Brook intend to stimulate growth and interest across the two main major economic drives in the area - One Central Park Business Park, lying to the south east of the site and the Hollinwood business growth area to the Northwest. The intention is capitalize on the business parks placement next to a green resource as well as its transport links and local large employment market.
Moston Brook is also situated next to three of the forthcoming Metrolink stations for the Manchester to Rochdale and Oldham line as well as being alongside part of the Manchester to Leeds railway track. The community woodland will create a positive outlook to commuters’ views of the area and greatly improve accessibility to and from the green corridor.
Plans for the site also aim to change not just local perceptions of the area, the intention is to alter the regional view of Moston Brook as the site is bisected by the busy A663 (Broadway) Manchester to Oldham road, which also links into the M62 Leeds to Liverpool motorway.
Manchester City Council Leader, Sir Richard Leese, says: “Today’s announcement of funding brings us another step closer to transforming and regenerating Moston Brook. By working closely with our partners on this project we aim to develop links between the communities either side of the brook, create a stunning environment for both businesses, residents and visitors to enjoy, and encourage and support the economic growth of the area.”
Councillor Howard Sykes, Leader of Oldham Council said:
“This is excellent news for the Borough of Oldham and especially citizens in Failsworth. “It is important that councils and their partners work on projects across the City Region in order to ensure that opportunities to improve the quality of life and opportunities for all citizens - wherever they live - are realised.
“Going forward I am sure that this massive investment will have a positive economic and social effect on this area and the people who live and work around Moston Brook.”
Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) is responsible for the landfill after care at the site at Moston Brook which has been closed for over twenty years.
The Authority is also investing £400,000 installing a state-of-the-art Methane Stripping Plant which will include a Leachate Collection System to reduce the environmental impact of methane and leachate on the land.
Councillor Neil Swannick Chair of GMWDA said: “We are pleased that this former landfill site has been developed as green space for the benefit of the wider community.”
Following today’s funding announcement, FC will continue to work closely with local communities and interested parties to Moston Brook allowing volunteers the opportunities to be involved in managing the area as well as helping to develop local enterprise and ownership.
NOTES TO EDITOR
1. The proposed long-term investment for Newlands at Moston Brook is £4.970,000
2. Plans for Moston Brook will incorporate the site’s European Status’ as a Site of Biological Importance, Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.
3. The three new Metrolink stations to be located alongside Moston Brook will be Central Park (Manchester), Newton Heath and Moston (Manchester) and Failsworth (Oldham).
4. The NWDA is providing resources to ensure improvements made to Moston Brook are maintained for the next 20 years. The Forestry Commission will manage the woodland it creates through the project for a further 79 years making a secure period of nearly 100 years of management for the area’s greenspace.
5. Led by the NWDA and Forestry Commission (FC) Newlands targets the Northwest’s scarred landscapes and transforms them into community-focused green spaces to stimulate economic prosperity and healthy lifestyles as well as providing new leisure and environmental improvements.
6. Each Newlands project is carefully selected from the region’s derelict, underused or neglected (DUN) land and is then assessed using a Public Benefit Recording System (PBRS), a tool which identifies the areas that would bring the most benefits through regeneration investment.
7. Newlands projects across the wider region including Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire are also now being explored making Newlands the largest soft-end environmental land regeneration scheme in the country.
8. A brownfield site is any land or premises that has previously been used and is not currently fully in use, although it may be partially occupied or utilised. It may also be vacant, derelict or contaminated. A brownfield site is not necessarily available for immediate use without intervention or remediation.
9. Community Woodlands are multi-purpose open spaces that can be easily accessed by the local community, and can include a series of small woodlands, footpaths, cycle and bridleways, football pitches, wetland habitats and a wildflower meadow. Each site is designed in partnership with the local community to help improve and enhance the economic, environmental and social value of the local neighborhood to work towards a sustainable environment for everyone.
10. Using aerial photography, the National Land Use Database and/or Unitary Development Plans, the DUN Survey, which formed the basis for the selection of Newlands sites, found an astonishing 3,800 DUN sites of more than one hectare across the Northwest. Of this amount, 1,600 were highlighted as brownfield sites.
11. The Public Benefit Recording System (PBRS) uses a range of social, economic and environmental factors from proximity to a transport corridor or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) to a sites location to schools. It has won widespread approval across wider government and has already been used to tackle a number of other regeneration or development challenges.
12. Woodland cover across the Northwest currently stands at just 6.5% compared with the national average of 8% and a European average of 33%.
13. GMWDA is the largest of six English waste disposal authorities that were created under the local Government Act 1985. GMWDA provides waste disposal services for 973,000 households in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford. It handles around 5% of National Municipal waste.
In April 2009, GMWDA signed a 25 year Private Finance Initiative recycling and waste management contract with Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester) Limited. The waste management project will provide a revolutionary integrated solution to deal with the 1.2 million tonnes of municipal waste which the Authority generates each year.
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