A draft regeneration plan for Withington Village that sets out the vision and development opportunities will be presented to a meeting of the executive ahead of full consultation on the proposals.
Withington is an active neighbourhood of engaged community groups, which have bid for development funding in the past (Heritage Lottery Funding and High Street Fund) which were unsuccessful.
However, local groups have continued to work towards improvement projects, including neighbourhood events to boost trade and improvements to the appearance of public space in the area.
The Withington Village Framework is a draft plan to support the existing, strong local partnerships with a long-term strategy for the neighbourhood, drawn up following initial conversation with local people, businesses and groups.
The intention for the draft plan is to:
- Establish a vision for Withington Village which is supported by local people to guide development decisions
- Generate confidence in the area to encourage further investment
- Provide a basis for future funding bids
- Illustrate through images and layouts how design objectives could be achieved
The draft plan will now be subject to public consultation ahead of a final framework plan to be submitted to the executive for approval.
The aims of the framework have been based around a 4Rs principle: repositioning, reinventing, rebranding and restructuring; and outlines a series of potential projects:
- Improve the public space outside the Library (Rutherford Place)
- Develop a more pedestrian friendly environment on Copson Street
- Enhance the public realm along Wilmslow Road
- Enhance the gateways into the Village
- Improve walking and cycling routes to and around the area
- Restore the heritage features in the Village, including shop fronts
- Support and encouraging appropriate development in the Village.
Consultations around the proposed plan for the area will begin in the Autumn and the results will be submitted back to a future meeting of the executive committee.
Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “The Withington neighbourhood has missed out on national funding a few times in the near past but it’s clear that the strength of the local community partnership has already brought about significant improvements using the resources and opportunities they have generated by working as a collective.
“Of course, the impact of Covid-19 on our local districts is yet to be fully understood, but many have shown themselves to be resilient and a vital resource for local people at this difficult time. It’s important that plans are now developed to support local areas in their recovery and for the future. .
“From the outset this plan has been developed in partnership with the local community, Councillors and wider stakeholders. It’s now time to put these plans to the wider community. A consultation will begin soon around the proposals for Withington Village and I’d urge local people to get involved.”
Dave Payne , Chair of Withington Village Regeneration Partnership, said: “There’s a huge amount of ambition in Withington to improve the neighbourhood and attract investment that will support local businesses – and with the community and private sector initiatives we know are already on stream it really feels like we are at the tipping point of regenerating the Village. We are lucky to have a really proactive community of people who are eager to work together and meet the potential of the Village – and it’s great to work with the Council to bring a plan forward that will help deliver the projects we have in mind.”