In 2016 we started asking residents, local workers, and visitors about the site. Our first focus was the amphitheatre. We ran workshops, visioning sessions and on-the-streets consultation. People said they wanted more greenery, an oasis in the city and things for families to do.
We also talked to residents about how we might develop the built environment at the Great Northern and we started running quarterly Neighbours Meetings. Residents said they loved the heritage of the warehouse and wanted this celebrated. They didn’t want tall towers built on the site. Instead they wished for a more vibrant, village feel to the Great Northern and more public realm.
In 2018 Planning Permission was granted to turn the warehouse into apartments or offices, create a new pedestrianised street parallel to Deansgate and to turn the amphitheatre into a park. We also worked to see what our existing retail and leisure tenants would need from a redesigned site – to help us think through options for the rest of the site (the part with the cinema).
Meanwhile we made the most of our outdoor spaces. We ran monthly markets, created a giant sandpit and playhouse and ran a series of activities and events in the Square. Independent cafes and shops moved into Deansgate Mews.
People told us they loved the changes we had made – and wanted more! They asked for an indoor community space, more events, and had ideas of how to make our place more accessible. So, in 2020 we planned to open a Little Library and a Village Hall on our site but plans for opening have been put back due to Covid-19.
In the background, plans for the wider site are being explored – so it’s a great time to tell us what you want to see here.