8 April, 2009
A £2 million project to transform the Medlock Valley in east Manchester was selected as the winner in the Area Based Regeneration category and received a commendation in the Community category of the prestigious British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) Waterways Renaissance Awards last week.
The Medlock Valley Project has improved the 225-acres (90 hectares) of public open space alongside the river from Newton Heath, through Clayton, Beswick and Ancoats to the city centre.
Judges were impressed by the commitment from the Friends of Clayton Vale and the strong partnership approach of all organisations involved.
The project is a partnership between Manchester City Council, New East Manchester, the NWDA, Groundwork, the Environment Agency, Red Rose Forest and the local community.
The Judging Panel commented: “A post-industrial landscape of a neglected river, old tip sites and inaccessible and poorly managed open space has been successfully transformed into a focus of everyday life in east Manchester. The enthusiasm of the local residents for the project, and the impact of the radical transformation on their day to day lives, is inspiring.
“The project demonstrates how rivers and river corridor enhancement can make a significant contribution to wider regeneration initiatives. This wasn’t a ‘one-off’ capital works project. This is living and live project with the key being the continuing active management of the river valley involving local residents working with the council through a wide range of activities, events and arts projects. The scheme offers a very strong lesson as to the role that rivers can play within the community.”
Libby Graham, Head of Social Regeneration at New East Manchester, said: “One of the key successes of this project is the partnership that was established long before the funding came along. The enthusiastic involvement of local people and community groups is integral to that partnership, which will ensure that the improvements brought about through this project are sustained for the benefit of all who enjoy the use of the valley. The project has turned an unattractive stretch of the valley into a valued oasis of green space that is a huge asset and will bring pleasure to existing and new residents alike.”
Damien Bourke, Policy and Partnership Manager at the NWDA, said: “The transformation of Medlock Valley has been a huge success and it is only right that the community and all the partners who have worked together so enthusiastically should be recognised in this way.
“In a relatively short time the Medlock Valley has become a great asset to the community and is playing an important role in the regeneration of east Manchester.”
Source: Northwest Regional Development Agency