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Albert Bridge Gardens Gets Tidied

Can we have a lot more of this sort of thing please - maybe without the tramp bedding?

Published on June 12th 2012.

Albert Bridge Gardens Gets Tidied

FOR many years the city council owned 'garden' adjacent to Albert Bridge House and on the banks of the River Irwell has been a dirty, abandoned, waste of space.

Plants have been selected to create all year round interest including berries in autumn and winter. 

Now the neglected area has been given a facelift as part of the Manchester Garden City initiative.   

The land has been partially re-landscaped with new wooden seating and a hedge of lavender bordering the river to attract bees. 


Albert BridgeAlbert Bridge


Plants have been selected to create all year round interest including berries in autumn and winter.  The scheme has been designed by CityCo to be low maintenance and includes features to deter any anti-social behaviour. 

The project led by city centre management company CityCo was also funded by Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police.  

Work on the gardens also included jet washing all paved areas and walls, removing graffiti, painting railings and iron works and installing four raised planters containing magnolia trees.  

The piece of land which is on the banks of the River Irwell facing the People’s History Museum, was, until recently, where the Joseph Brotherton statue stood (Confidential wrote about this here). This has been renovated and returned to its rightful home across the river in Salford.   

All well and good.

Shame then that the stone base of the Brotherton statue still remains on the Manchester side of the river - you can see it in this picture.


Stone plinth remainsStone plinth remains

It's a double shame that the White Lightning drinking classes have also re-occupied the gardens. When a Confidential member of staff visited on Monday the signs were plain to see.


Home from homelessHome from homeless


Still at least this is a step in the right direction and although limited shows that the Garden City initiative has some legs. But it needs lots more money. 

Vaughan Allen, chief executive at CityCo has said: “The Albert Bridge Gardens landscaping scheme has greatly improved this neglected piece of land.  This is our fifth Garden City project and our most ambitious.  This is a fantastic example of how the private and public sector can work together to revive an important green space, contribute to the Irwell project and make the city centre a better place for everyone.” 

He's right but still, despite the straitened times, more needs to be done.

In fact the city centre as a whole needs more landscaping money.

If you look at the number and quality of gardens in other UK city centres, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham and Leeds for example, owned and managed by their city councils, then we have some way to go.  

At least from 24-29 July this year the area around the Cathedral will be splendidly enhanced by the Dig the City Urban Garden - click here.

This will involve more than ten separate areas of planting, lawns, markets, demonstrations, workshops and a massive flower festival inside the Cathedral featuring over 30,000 flowers.

Other Manchester Garden City schemes include planting at Piccadilly Basin, Grow Boxes on Dale Street car park, the orchard in St John’s Gardens and the Northern Quarter pocket park of Thomas Street.

The scheme is an independent initiative supported by CityCo, Manchester’s city centre management company and Manchester based architect and design practice BDP.  It aims to increase the amount of temporary green space on brownfield sites and encourage gardening and sustainable eating.  

Anyone wanting to volunteer or pledge their support for the Manchester Garden City initiative should email gardencity@cityco.com. 

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Peter CastreeJune 12th 2012.

There is no such thing as 'low maintenance', only maintenance. I remember when this area was first landscaped some years ago. It looked marvellous for a few weeks then, because it was never touched, it rapidly deteriorated into the slum it has been for the past several years. It's good to see it smartened up but I fear the same will happen again. Shrubs need regular pruning, weeds need regular killing and stonework needs regular cleaning. This is how the other cities mentioned achieve their high standards and it's also how Manchester used to do things. It's not really a question of money, more one of dedication to the idea that these areas need to be properly looked after. Let's see what the situation looks like in a year's time and judge how well CityCo have done their job.

EugeneJune 12th 2012.

'double shame that the White Lightening drinking classes have also re-occupied the gardens'

How incredibly disrespectful. These are people with lives (and problems). I bet you wouldn't be so flippant if you had to experience that life.

Further more, it might help if whilst being so rude, you could spell properly (its lightning not lightening).

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

Well said. I totally agree.

AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

He is generalising, as are you.

Jonathan SchofieldJune 13th 2012.

Don't get this. The paragraph is a statement of fact. Our placement person saw the cider bottle. The spelling error is mine though.

AnonymousJune 13th 2012.

How is the FACT disrespectful? Bottles are just dumped with no consideration of others and it isn't an area to feel comfortable walking through, let alone sitting there especially for a woman.

AnonymousJune 13th 2012.

Actually, Eugene, I don't think that people who choose to be rough sleepers - as they all do - deserve much respect. The state (mostly the council and the NHS) bends over backwards for them, giving them every opportunity to beat their problems. There are beds every single night for the very small numbers of rough sleepers in Manchester. They make the choice not to use them.

Posting this anonymously as I am actually a bleeding heart liberal.

EugeneJune 14th 2012.

Anonymous, I would question your statement that 'all' rough sleepers choose to sleep rough. Do you know this? Have you asked them all?

Some people have so many problems that they can't hold down a job and cannot claim benefits (think mental health issues as one example) as their lives are so erratic and unstable. Often they have no normal support system (friends and family) who can put them up and as these problems are so ingrained, they have no 'choice' but to sleep rough as they cannot function normally or behave in such a manner that befits living in a house (whether they can afford to pay for it or not).

On a seperate note Anonymous, as a bleeding heart liberal, I am surprisd that you don't agree, that ALL people deserve respect. Period.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

No Eugene, I don't believe that everyone deserves respect. Respect is earned, it isn't a right.

On your substantive point, there is a bed for every single person in Manchester every single day. The handful of people who sleep rough on Manchester's streets are a hardcore of very problematic people who reject the help that the state, in particular the council and NHS, offers them and choose to sleep on the street.

Dave MartinJune 12th 2012.

Eugene my thoughts precisely, well said

AnonymousJune 13th 2012.

The "White Lighting drinking classes" have no respect for that area themselves. Help is widely available but some chose not to accept it.

witty124June 13th 2012.

What a horrible way to refer to people who are living and sleeping on the streets. Maybe if you spent as much time thinking about how we could tackle social problems like homelessness as you do on how to make Manchester look a bit prettier then this site would be able to achieve real and significant change. Always enjoyed Manchester Confidential and the challenges it puts to the council but such a flippant disregard of some of the most vulnerable in our community has really put me off this site.

ChrissyJune 13th 2012.

Oh dear, isn't it annoying when 'real life' gets in the way of what we want something to look like. Never mind, I'm sure if we ask the homeless person(s) sleeping in the garden to stop ruining our view, they'd gladly move along to somewhere else a little more out the way so we don't have to feel uncomfortable and look Manchester's huge social problems in the face. It's a shame since the rest of the article was enjoying to read. It's fantastic that more is being done to provide green spaces for the Manchester community (that includes homeless people); but was there really any need to include silly, flippant remarks that only serve to further marginalise homeless people?

-"Can we have a lot more of this sort of thing please - maybe without the tramp bedding?"

-"Home from homeless"

-"It's a double shame that the White Lightning drinking classes have also re-occupied the gardens."

-"Anyone who wants to join our homeless chap on the bench should take some cans of Stella."

...I think not. Come on, stick to the story next time.

EugeneJune 13th 2012.

Jonathan, if you cannot see how the comments written were disrespectful, then perhaps you need to spend some time in the company of said homeless people.

I am genuinely surprised how a man with your level of knowledge about Manchester and all things cultured can apparently write such a disrespectful comment. I have accompanied you on a tour of Radical Manchester before and enjoyed your commentary and company so I am surprised that you can't see not only mine, but many other reader's points of view here.

I echo some of the comments above - you would do better to serve the whole community of Manchester (and that includes reducing the amount of soiling of otherwise beautifed public spaces by people with sometimes incomprehensible levels of emotional, mental and physical problems) by writing articles that shamed MCC rather than homeless people who are already victims, with hardly any voice or it seems, rights.

Do you honestly think that person in that photo is choosing to sleep there? Do you think they would choose that life of (admittedly, I am making presumptions here:) dependency and having no roof over their head, with no security, warmth and stability that the rest of us take for granted? I bet my bottom dollar, that if you asked them, they wouldn't even tell you that they would choose to drink white lightning... it's probably the cheapest thing that they can afford, that gets them drunk so they can avoid the multitude of problem that they have.

To then describe people in such a situation in the way in which you have only serves to further remove them from normal society and to belittle and victimise them

DavidJune 13th 2012.

I feel sorry for anyone sleeping rough,and they deserve help.But they should not be allowed to sleep there.If you allow drunks and drug users to occupy the few public spaces in the city centres,then they soon become no go zones for everyone.
For those who think we should let them stay there,consumed by your middle class guilt,you are most welcome to approach them and offer your house or garden as a place for them to stay instead.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyJune 15th 2012.

Rad, David...but true, so true.

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