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Stevenson Square: Public Asked For £6,000 Help

Key MCR square needs public donations for renovations to happen

Published on May 10th 2013.

Stevenson Square: Public Asked For £6,000 Help

PLANS to give Manchester’s Stevenson Square a green makeover have been unveiled – and local businesses are being asked help out to support the project.

We hope to see many more innovative projects like this around the city in the near future

Local environmental regeneration project Red Rose Forest wants to transform the square in the Northern Quarter.

A blueprint has been put together which proposes landmark street trees planted, alongside hanging baskets and a ‘green roof’ made of edible herbs and fruit planted on top of a disused public convenience.

The project has already received support from Manchester City Council who will be donating funding and works towards the project. Alongside this, Greenbuild Expo, the sustainability conference held in Manchester will also be raising funds for the project at the Expo and Greenbuild Awards held in the city on 8-9 May.

Greenbuild will provide technical support by providing the expertise of green roof specialist company Enviroden.

To turn its vision into reality, Red Rose Forest is looking to the local community and businesses to raise the final £6,000 needed.

And it hopes to use an innovative internet-based funding tool – crowdfunding – to raise the cash.

Local businesses, or individuals, who want to support the project are being asked to visit here and make whatever donation they can to support the project.

If funding is secured it’s hoped the greening initiative can be delivered by this summer.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s city centre spokesperson, said: There has been an appetite to develop Stevenson Square for some time as one of the city’s most historic and underused squares. The potential to make the area an exciting destination is undeniable and we hope the greening scheme will increase footfall to the benefit of the many and varied businesses trading on the square.” 

Stevenson Square as it is nowStevenson Square as it is now

Under the plans it is proposed that liquidambar trees will be planted in the pavement and in the square’s central reservations in a reinstated surface material, which is made from recycled tyres. It is porous allowing the trees to receive oxygen and water. This is being supplied by KBI.

To complement the square’s existing art works the disused toilet block building will be given a green makeover. A green roof will be installed on the roof of the toilets and planted up with edible plants chosen by local residents and businesses. Self-irrigating hanging baskets on lampposts will complete the transformation.

Residents group New Leaf (Twitter here) is keen to support the project. Resident Beth Knowles said: “The obvious lack of green space on Stevenson Square was one of the main reasons we first got together as a resident-led group, so it's extremely exciting to be a part of this project and to help raise the final funds needed to complete the greening of Stevenson Square. We hope to see many more innovative projects like this around the city in the near future."

Confidential has an article going up next week about how maybe given the economic times businesses and individuals need to be more self-reliant in making sure their streets and areas look good - and not always look to the city council.

Below is a video produced by the Stevenson Square campaigners.

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

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 10th 2013.

Great idea. Really easy to sign up and pledge money. Took me one minute approximately.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Red ForestMay 10th 2013.

That's fantastic Jonathan and thanks so much for the article

AnonymousMay 10th 2013.

I've lashed a fiver on as I live in the area and would benefit from the improvements.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Red ForestMay 10th 2013.

Good stuff anonymous - really appreciate your support.

lukeunabomberMay 10th 2013.


Red ForestMay 10th 2013.

Please note there's a wee youtube video on the project as well... www.youtube.com/watch…

Stephen DouglasMay 10th 2013.

Karney can take my donation out of the increase in the cost of residents parking permits. Enjoy!

1 Response: Reply To This...
StephMay 10th 2013.

Here here. They should redo those CGIs now when the place is full of buses. It looks even worse at the moment.

AnonymousMay 10th 2013.

As a resident of Manchester for 10 years I, like a lot of my neighbours are happy to be more self-reliant in making sure streets and areas look good - and don't always look to the city council. There's an excellent forum in one area of the City that does just that. Where I do expect the council to assist is with the complex issue of land and property ownership in Manchester which unfortunately blights the city. It's the reason why Peel holdings do very little to maintain the Bridgewater canal to why the empty shops on King Street look a mess. If the city council did their bit (as in the bit they're responsible for) then local residents and buisnesses would be more inclined.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 11th 2013.

What do you mean "land and property ownership" - not sure what you are expecting the council to do there.

Alex24May 10th 2013.

Great idea, just backed it. If this hits the target can you please do Picc Gardens next?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Red Rose ForestMay 14th 2013.

Thanks for your support Alex24!

Dan KeyMay 10th 2013.

I appreciate the sentiment of this, but surely individuals and businesses already 'backed' this? The council may have 'donated' funds but those funds came from our tax/rates, surely? Six grand seems like a drop in the ocean for a council such as Manchester.

AnonymousMay 10th 2013.

Don't know if I've misread, but does the £6k just go towards the Stevenson Square stuff? Their crowd funding site says they're aiming for nearly £40k so what's the rest going to?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Alex24May 10th 2013.

Think they're 6k off that 40k total.

AnonymousMay 13th 2013.

Yes - the goal is £39,354. Most of this has been raised, including funding from the Council as well as donations. They are still £4900 off the total (as of now).

Red Rose ForestMay 14th 2013.

Yes that's right - we're using crowdfunding to raise £39,354 but we only need the public's help with the final £6,000. The Spacehive page includes pledges from all funding sources we have confirmed so far including the council as well as those local businesses and individuals who have made pledges.

Barry MaginnMay 11th 2013.

To be honest, I think this regeneration is a bit like putting a plastic over a bullet wound. Should we not be looking for a more permanent, useful solution to this waste of potentially fantastic public space. It's calling out to be pedestrianised and turned into a proper continental-esque square. In all honesty, what does a couple of trees change? In fact, the plans to plant a few trees and keep the rest of the messy bus parking space and strange walls in the middle of unusable pedestrian islands is just ridiculous. What an unambitious city we live in.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Red Rose ForestMay 14th 2013.

We hope you'll be pleasantly surprised Barry when you see the end result - just what a difference this will make to the square.

Barry MaginnMay 15th 2013.

Don't get me wrong, it's no disrespect to the project, which is a nice idea. I just think it needs so much more to relly make the most of what is at present a horrible eyesore. Greenery can't change the horrible stretches of tarmac and dilapidated pavements. I can't even explain if people can't imagine it. Think Piazza Navona or Covent Garden, a real space for people to meet and be entertained. People are trying to fabicate that feel unsuccessfully in Spinningfields, but this square is....well... and actual square with great potential.

AnonymousMay 15th 2013.

I agree that pedestrianisation of the square would make such a difference. It would encourage more cafes/bars/restaurants to open up in the empty units and have tables outside to create the continental-style square it needs to be.

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