BBC Philarmonic serenades guests at Salford Cathedral gardens opening - MIDAS

BBC Philarmonic serenades guests at Salford Cathedral gardens opening

The first phase of improvements to Chapel Street’s public spaces was officially unveiled today with an afternoon tea party in the new grounds of Salford Cathedral.

Guests from the Chapel Street neighbourhood joined members of the wider Salford community and representatives from the Diocese of Salford, Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company (CSURC), Salford City Council (SCC), lead development partner English Cities Fund (ECF) and Urban Vision to celebrate the project, which has created green walkways around Bexley Square and walkways and gardens to the West of historic Salford Cathedral.

Guests at the launch event took afternoon tea courtesy of the Creation Café based at the Angel Centre and enjoyed a performance by members of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The task of cutting the ribbon was given to Cathedral Dean, Canon Tony McBride along with Chris Farrow, Chief Executive of CSURC, Councillor Mashiter, Councillor Coen, local resident Neil Harvey and representatives from the wider project team.

Urban Vision was appointed as architects, Birse Civils as main contractor and Ashleas as landscape contractor for the project, which includes the installation of new street furniture, new lighting and a striking wooden sculpture, designed by Handspring. The project has also included repairs to existing walls, railings and gates, the removal of graffiti and improved security.

This project forms part of The Green and Walkable Street programme, which is delivered by CSURC in partnership with SCC, to bridge the gap between the smaller, neighbourhood environmental improvements being undertaken with local communities and the large-scale public realm and infrastructure projects such as Chapel Street, Greengate and Quays Gateway.

Commenting on the opening Chris Farrow of CSURC, said: “It is our vision to re-connect communities by creating beautiful community spaces and walkways by investing in public realm improvements such as this. Today’s event marks the first phase of these long-term plans which, when completed, will reveal Salford’s hidden gems.

“The next stages of the programme will see improvements underway in the Ordsall neighbourhood this Autumn.”

Councillor Ray Mashiter, Salford City Council’s executive support member for planning added: “The Cathedral Gardens have been developed for the benefit of residents and are an important part of the regeneration of the Chapel Street area.

“Public spaces like this will help to attract investment into central Salford and the completion of the gardens shows our plans to transform Chapel Street are becoming real.”

Commenting on the works to the Cathedral, Canon Tony McBride, Cathedral Dean said: “The gardens look absolutely beautiful and I know this landscaping is going to be a great attraction for local people planning to marry at our beautiful Cathedral. The walkways have been landscaped to create a ‘cloistered’ feel around the building and we hope that the local community will be encouraged to use this wonderful space for events in the coming weeks and months.”

Local resident, Neil Harvey added: “As a resident in Salford it’s extremely encouraging to see these plans come to fruition, which will create a far more pleasant environment for the people who live and work here. Linking Cathedral Gardens to the wider Chapel Street area is a positive step forward and as these future phases come forward, we’ll continue to see communities and fragmented parts of the city reconnect once again.”

The vision for Chapel Street, which is one of the most important projects in Central Salford, is to create a unique destination at the heart of the city region by revitalising the historic core of the City, linking the University of Salford to a new Corporate Centre around Salford Central station.

This vision is underpinned by plans to calm the A6 corridor, reduce traffic volume, support high quality public transport linkages and create a high quality environment. This will complement English Cities Fund’s proposals to create a new sustainable destination comprising of residential, commercial, leisure, hotel and retail developments alongside existing and new creative industries and established homes and businesses. The final scheme will generate some 11,000 jobs, 220,000m2 of commercial floor space for office, retail, and leisure development, 849 homes and 390 hotel rooms.

In February 2010 NWDA/ ERDF funding was secured to start the vital highway and public realm improvement works along the A6, which have now started on site and are due to be completed late 2011. Salford City Council formally approved English Cities Fund’s planning application for the Chapel Street area in January 2010.

Source: Central Salford

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