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The Rise Of The ‘Zombie’ Car Park

David Blake speaks to city centre ward candidate Beth Knowles about the zombies eating our spaces

Written by . Published on December 18th 2013.


The Rise Of The ‘Zombie’ Car Park
 

ZOMBIE car parks? People have been known to leave car parks missing an arm and a leg. But car parks eating the cars? Militant environmentalism perhaps. They’ve had enough. Get on yer bike.

“We’re lobbying the council to impose time restrictions on temporary car parks so they are truly temporary. After work from city centre councillors a 12 month time limit on the BBC site's use as a car park was imposed."

Beth Knowles and Cllr Peel. HappyBeth Knowles & Cllr Peel. HappyWell, it’s neither of those. There’s been a slight titter (slight because most people drive) of noise around Manchester this year regarding the scourge of these so-called ‘zombie’ car parks. A phrase coined by an angry pirate in Ancoats.

The issue came back to our attention when handed the City Centre Voice (Labour’s city centre newsletter) at a recent residents meeting. The newsletter displays a collection of photos of our Labour city centre politicians looking decidedly happy or sad depending on the topic at hand. Trees. Happy. Post Office closed. Sad. The zombies fall under the latter.

Post Office closed? Look sadPost Office closed? Look sadSo what is a ‘zombie’ car park?

They are long-term ‘temporary’ car parks, thrown up on the sites of demolished buildings or patches of undeveloped and desolate plots in order to make developers a quick few quid while they decide what to actually do with the space, whether they can do it, and, most importantly, whether they have enough dough to do it.

They’ve been popping up all over. At the proposed River Street tower by Mancunian Way (of which a number of health and safety concerns have been voiced), at numerous sites throughout Northern Quarter including the fire-ravaged former site of Dobbins on Oldham Street, Little Lever Street and at a number of ‘suspended spaces’ throughout Salford, Ancoats and Hulme. Anywhere where construction sites have halted, developers are twiddling their thumbs or bickering with the council. Tends to be a mix of all three.

The popular zombie on the former BBC site, Oxford RoadThe popular zombie on the former BBC site, Oxford Road

The most conspicuous of these ‘zombies’ is the six-acre site of the former BBC New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road, inaugurated in 1976, demolished in late 2012.

This site has been earmarked as a key area for the ‘Manchester Corridor’ (essentially Oxford Road). Also painfully referred to as the ‘knowledge corridor’, it is a region of Manchester that has been identified with the potential to accommodate ‘a workforce of 77,000 and generate £4.8 billion GVA (Gross Value Added) to 2020, achieved in part by a series of capital investments of £3 billion.’ At least according to the Stategic Redevelopment Framework for the BBC site produced by Deloitte in partnership with the Committee for Vague and Optimistic Numbers.

All well and good. Except that the former BBC site, bought in 2011 for around £10m by Realty Estates, a Manchester-based developer owned by Iranian-born Yousef Tishbi, still remains, heading in to 2014, an unsightly, expansive but hugely popular ‘zombie’ car park.

There’s been numerous discussions and plans for a 800,000 sq ft mixed-use development, with offices, private and student accommodation, a hotel, a Tesco-Sainsburys-M&S-Waitrose-Metro-Express, a Starbucks, Costa, Greggs and a Subway, most probably. But no official planning applications have yet been submitted. Just a retrospective application submitted for the change of use of the site to a ‘temporary’ car park. An application submitted after they’d started using it as a car park anyway. Naughty that.

City centre candidate Beth Knowles. IrkedCity centre candidate Beth Knowles looking glum in front of a zombie car park

This has irked Labour city centre ward candidate Beth Knowles: “The main problem with the old BBC site was no planning permission was initially granted for the transformation of the site's use to a car park and no timelines for construction were put in place by the developers. We can't allow this kind of activity to carry on unchecked.”

Still, as ugly and brash as it may be, walk past the old BBC site during office hours on any given weekday and it’s packed. The same applies to the car park on Hilton Street in the Northern Quarter. So there’s clearly the demand. In which case, what’s the problem? There’s a public demand. It’s being filled.

“It's not necessarily that zombie car parks are unacceptable,” says Knowles, “but the rapid rise of them throughout the city centre is both an eye sore and a poor use of land. We are extremely short of open, usable community space in Manchester city centre and when people see car parks taking up every inch of that potentially usable space, whether temporary or otherwise, it becomes an issue for residents and visitors alike.

“It might seem reasonable to those who drive in and out of the city centre every day, but residents have a very different opinion on the spaces they live in and around. We want less people to come in by car and instead travel by public transport and other methods, so more spaces doesn't help in this regard.”

The car park on the stalled River Street development, by Mancunian wayThe car park on the stalled River Street development by Mancunian way

But surely it’s up to the land owners what they do with the land. What can the council do about it? “The use of land is quite rightly decided by its owners and the council locally have little say over whether that is a pop-up car park or a green park,” says Knowles. “But we are lobbying government for a 'use it or lose it' policy, whereby after two years of land remaining undeveloped local councils can purchase it and transform the space by working with local communities.

“We’re lobbying the council to impose time restrictions on temporary car parks so they are truly temporary. After work from city centre councillors a 12 month time limit on the BBC site's use as a car park was imposed.

“However,” Beth continues, “local powers are limited, with planning policy set out by and policed by national government.”

We pinned down Yousef Tishbi, owner of Realty Estates, buyers of the former BBC site, on his plans for the area. He too, was irked: “All this talk of safety concerns and zombie car parks is nonsense. I’d like you to show me one of these temporary car parks that are in a better condition than ours on Oxford Road. Our competitors are trying to cause problems for us because we’re offering a better service and driving down prices. Look at the state of some of these other car parks.”

Tishbi was keen to assert the temporary nature of the car park and the future progress on the former BBC site: “Look, that car park doesn’t anywhere near cover the costs of that site. It’s only ever been a temporary measure.

“I’ve actually had all the architects and development advisors in to my office this week. We’re hoping to have definite planning in place by the end of January to early February 2014 for at least part of the site. Building may start by mid-2014 depending on opposition. We’ve been talking to a number of private and student accommodation suppliers, small supermarket chains, food and beverage companies, stationary companies and leisure companies including gyms.”

Some progress at least. To some extent, you have to sympathise with Tishbi. After all, we live in a free market economy. Why not put up a ‘zombie’ car park whilst going through the motions? Surely it’s just good business.

Site of the former BBC building, bought by Realty Estates for £10mSite of the former BBC building, bought by Realty Estates for £10m

Sam Easterby-Smith, anti-zombie car park campaigner and creator of Parkstarter doesn’t see it that way: “Manchester is lacking in green spaces, especially when compared with other major European cities. It does, however, have a wealth of vacant ‘grey spaces’ like Dobbins on Oldham Street, the area between Port and Tariff Street, Piccadilly Basin, Exchange Station, a chunk of Salford and half of Ancoats. The list goes on.”

“Land owners unable or unwilling to invest in these sites invariably leads to a zombie. It’s fast and an easy revenue stream for minimal investment. But owners and operators frequently don’t even seek planning permission for the sites and the authorities turn a blind eye. If you built an extension on your house without permission, would they ignore that?”

He has a point. Sick of all the grey, Easterby-Smith set up Parkstarter, a crowd-funding initiative to attempt to reclaim poorly used urban spaces in Manchester. In July 2013 Parkstarter gathered nearly 3000 signatories for a petition opposing the use of the former Dobbins site on Oldham Street. Campaigners also staged a green intervention at the site, paying for a number of car park spaces for the day, laying turf and having a picnic. The Green Giant rises.

Parkstarter on Oldham StreetParkstarter on Oldham Street

“Unregulated car parks bring more cars into the city centre, bringing with it pollution, noise and pressure on an already creaking road infrastructure,” says Easterby-Smith. “The grey spaces create a poor impression for visitors and act as crime magnets, salubrious places to shoot up, do deals or smash a few car windows.” 

So what if Easterby-Smith had his way? 

“We should be thinking more holistically of what Manchester needs. Transforming even a few of these sites into green spaces would drastically change the character and environment of our city for the better. 

“It’d bring economic benefits for businesses through increased footfall, raising the desirability and value of surrounding properties, sinking carbon rather than creating it, getting people out of their cars and onto bicycles and public transport, giving our children places to play. 

“In short we could have a city that we could be truly proud of and visitors would flock to. A green city, not a grey city.” 

Easterby-Smith’s utopian view for Manchester is admirable, but romantic. Yes we’d all love a city full of green, airy, revitalizing spaces. A Disney city with birds whistling from our shoulders, a city where everyone would travel canal side by bicycle, scarves billowing in the wind, stopping on the corner to read Keats and sip at macchiatos. Of course every society needs dreamers, so its good on Knowles and Easterby-Smith for trying, we need people like them. But they are facing an uphill struggle to substitute the grey for the green.

There have been small victories. Easterby-Smith’s first prototype park had the owner of the Oldham Street zombie shouting down his mobile, pulling his hair out and calling the police this summer. They never came.

Hilton Street: A decrepit former Dig The City installation and a handful of grow boxesHilton Street: A decrepit former Dig The City installation and a handful of grow boxes

Knowles too was keen to show me the handful of allotments awarded to residents by the Hilton Street car park, managed by Town Centre car parks. Still, it’s a few grow boxes in the corner of a huge car park to appease the residents and a sorry looking Dig The City installation dumped there because nobody knew what else to do with it. Cheers.

The problem is that green is expensive. The soon to be installed trees for Tariff Street will run in to the thousands and the splash of green in Stevenson Square cost around £40,000.

Grey is cheaper, grey produces a return and grey provides for the countless commuters that rely on car parks like these to earn a living. More cars should never be encouraged, but the drivers should not be punished and forced to pay escalating parking tariffs for a limited number of spaces. Competition drives down prices.   

The reality is that within our system property developers will always exist to make money. If that involves throwing up a ‘zombie’ car park with minimum effort to create a slow but regular stream of income whilst going through the convoluted and often drawn-out planning stage then they will do so. Most of us would probably do exactly the same.

So what’s the solution? Guerilla Gardening. Plant some Japanese Knotweed. It may be a thug of a weed, but it’s green, reasonably attractive and practically indestructible. It'll tear through tarmac in no time. That’ll teach ‘em.

Follow @David8Blake on twitter.

Zombie Car Park, Charles StreetZombie Car Park, Charles Street

Zombie on Little Lever StreetZombie on Little Lever Street

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

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

How nice would be if they turned the old BBC site into a lovely green park? Any local multimillionaires feeling generous? You could build a statue of yourself in the centre of the park if you like, I wouldn't mind....

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan MoranDecember 19th 2013.

This is a marvelous idea! Manchester lacks green open spaces in the centre.....It'll never happen but it would be great and a good location for it too!

AnonymousDecember 20th 2013.

That would be amazing, the extra light that has been created on Oxford Road since the BBC building was pulled is amazing. It makes the whole street seem wider, brighter, less cluttered and just a nice place to be rather than the scuzzy shithole that it actually is. The park would be the best thing ever and if someone did it they would be my favouritist person ever.

Hero
ktfairyDecember 18th 2013.

Greater Manchester Pension Fund has at least one Zombie Car Park operating on a site in Liverpool - details from their minutes here: www.gmpf.org.uk/…/minutes_26072013_property.pdf… so it seems that whilst 'we' don't like it here 'we' impose it on other cities.... The suggestion that only grey spaces are used for taking and dealing drugs is a non starter - trees and shrubs actually provide much better cover for this in unpopulated parks, which given the location of most of these sites is what they will be. It cannot be expected that landowners turn over their land to green when it will not generate an income - and I'm sure the alternative of paying for spending some time on a bit of grass will offend the lobbyists greatly and also be a business non starter. Maybe if people feel that strongly they should group together and buy some land and turn it into allotments that can be rented out. I really do feel that people miss the point when arguing about the lack of green spaces in Manchester City Centre - it is a City Centre not the countryside. There is plenty of countryside within easy reach of the city centre and you don't even need to drive there - you can use public transport... Would we rather force the developers into building for no economic reason - leaving many empty buildings waiting for occupation - or mnore likely, lots of half finished buildings left to rot as just concrete and reinforced monoliths?

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

How absolutely SICKENING for Labour to try to claim this issue as their own! That Kev Peel completely slagged off Parkstarter and anyone who went against the LABOUR COUNCIL promulgated decisions that effectively erased greenery from our city centre. For all the green talk, this Labour council are as grey as the moneygrabbers who sit on the car park space until it becomes profitable to build on.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidDecember 18th 2013.

What are you on about? What council decision erased greenery from the city centre?

SquirrelitoDecember 22nd 2013.

what are you talking about? I thought it was well known that, when Manchester first boomed there was neither time nor inclination to fit green space where work could be had and money made. We only got Picccadilly gardens thanks to the Nazi bombs.

SquirrelitoDecember 22nd 2013.

or was it a fire? It certainly wasn't ever planned as a square

AnonymousDecember 23rd 2013.

Piccadilly Gardens was the site of the first Manchester Infirmary, an ornamental pond and later an esplanade with Victorian statues, some of which are still in situ. The gardens were set out after the infirmary was demolished, long before WWII and the 1940 Manchester Blitz. manchesterhistory.net/…/piccadillygardens.html…

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

It is the LABOUR PARTY who have voted FOR zombie carparks time and time again on the planning committee!

DavidDecember 18th 2013.

The socialists of Greater Manchester could have built 'Utopia'.They could have built the wonderful parks truly great cities possess and extended the trams.But they would rather keep owning MAG and their collection of airports and buy one in the South East.How exactly is it Green for a Labour council to be investing in the aviation growth of the South East?.1.5 billion pound was spent on buying Stansted Airport.MAG should be privatised and the money invested in Greater Manchester to improve environment for people of Greater Manchester instead of subsidising the wasteful spending of socialist councils like Manchester.

12 Responses: Reply To This...
Hero
ktfairyDecember 18th 2013.

If MAG was privatised then the money would go to the pensioners - or do you propose they should be left out of pocket?

DavidDecember 18th 2013.

MAG is owned by the councils in Greater Manchester not their pension fund.Though since they bought Stansted a minority share ownership is held by Australian Investment Fund Company,so it's public ownership has already been diluted to pay for Stansted.

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

Sell a revenue earning airport and buy a revenue draining park. As ever, totally bonkers David.

DavidDecember 18th 2013.

Try looking at the very small profit MAG makes.They would get a better return selling it and putting the money in the bank

GimboidDecember 18th 2013.

David. You are so obsessed with MAG you will try to wedge it into any article without a relevant connection. Maybe give it a rest? It makes you sound like a loon. Perhaps start a blog on it instead.

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

Of courses it relevant.A council that claims to be a victim of austerity so is unable to do anything,yet owns an asset that would be worth several billion pounds if sold off.Money that could better spent improving the environment and transport infrastructure of Greater Manchester.

DrakeDecember 19th 2013.

Because local and regional transport makes such a profit? So, again, you're suggesting selling an asset that generates a profit (and, with Airport City has the potential to generate far, far more) and investing in infrastructure that will need subsidising long into the future?

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

Manchester council is not there to make a profit?.Its a council.Otherwise it should just stop providing services and put all its budget For investing wherever is the greatest return. Manchester Aiport makes a profit but the profit is small and just subsidises Labour wasteful spending.Better to sell and improve the environment for people supposed to represent.

SmittyDecember 19th 2013.

Davidonomics is interesting. Didn't MAG make, like, £60m profit last year? Interesting definition of "small". Their operating margin is something like 20%. Now I'm no Mark Carney, but I think that's pretty healthy.... What's it got to do with car parks anyway?

DrakeDecember 19th 2013.

I would respond, David, if your comments weren't becoming ever more disassociated. For someone who supposedly hates Labour, you seem willing for the council to simply spend money it doesn't have. Much better to generate commercial revenue that can be used to deliver services that constantly 'invest' in infrastructure with no idea how to fund its running costs.

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

Money from the sale of MAG is money that the council could realise easily by selling out.Money invested in transport infrastructure would attract significant more development and jobs to Greater Manchester.One only needs to look at how investment in Metrolink has been a major driver of development in Bury city centre and at Salford Quays.The BBC and ITV would not have chosen to invest in that part of Salford without the development of tram lines to that location.Greater Manchester needs much better transport infrastructure if it is to compete with other cities for business.

DrakeDecember 20th 2013.

Have you seen the massive expansion of the tram network already financed over the next five years? And to trans-pennine? It's not a case of 'we can't do this without selling the airport'. Leeds and Bradford bitterly regret selling their stakes in LBA, and that has no chance of ever being a profitable as MAN

John GordonDecember 18th 2013.

Yes. A park please with open air art and real park wardens.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
DrakeDecember 19th 2013.

One of the other issues-never mind the installation costs, its the running costs that are problematic. Who's going to maintain these new green spaces?

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

They seem to manage to do that in London and Glasgow and many other cities. It's just this council does not manage to do the basics,like keeping the streets clean,it's more interested in parroting national Labour policy about austerity,as a excuse for its own failures.

DrakeDecember 19th 2013.

Utter nonsense David. Places like Hyde Park and St James's are Royal Parks, they're not maintained from council coffers. Go to parks in East London (Clissold for instance) and they're often a proper mess. Actually, look at Manchester's big parks and they're properly maintained and rather lovely (during the daytime). The problem is that there aren't any spaces in the city centre (St John's maybe?) that fall under the parks department

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

Manchester needs a park,A green lung,near to the city centre.What it lacks is the vision to create it.There is still plenty of derelict and empty land.Hong Kong has done it with Kowloon Park and New York did it with the elevated park on old high lines railway.

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Hong Kong is a virtually a sovereign state unto itself. New York is not far off. Both are major international centres of wealth. Manchester is... not. You really struggle with to grasp reality, don't you?

DrakeDecember 20th 2013.

It's got a 'green lung' near to the centre. It's called Peel Park. It just happens to be in Salford. None of these car park meanwhile sites would create something on the scale of Kowloon Park, we're talking about pocket parks. And wonder what you'd say if the council did actually divert precious capital into a major new park-'waste of money' perhaps?

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

Zombie car parks - a phrase coined by the Pirate Party in Manchester and now adopted by Labour. Amazing how they'll jump on anything.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidDecember 18th 2013.

Councillors are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Damned if they do get involved with issues for 'jumping on anything' (which they don't), and damned if they don't, for being disinterested and not listening to the public.

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

Since when have Manchester council members been accused of listening to the public of Manchester?.They are damned because they don't listen because they no longer represent the views of the city,as most citizens have given up bothering to vote in this city.

GimboidDecember 19th 2013.

Just shut up, David.

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

Yes a nice lovely green space like Piccadilly Gardens.....oh hang on...that's grey! What do people really think will happen with green space in the city centre? Drunks, gangs, and skulduggery that's what. Cars bring people and money to the City, gardens do not. Public transport will never be a viable solution in this country due to the costs involved in everyday travel. Cars are king.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidDecember 18th 2013.

Does that happen in Green space in London?.Are people down there somehow better or more civilized?.If it happens in Manchester it's because the police and local authority despite the thousands of camera let the few yobs get away with ruining it for the majority.

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Manchester isn't London! People seem to think that we are comparable to other major cities across the world. The reality is that with Manchester everything is very centralised from a point in the city centre even though Manchester itself takes up quite a large area. That is reality.

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

Launch a wildflower seed party instead. Buddleia loves poor ground & attracts the butterflies.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Buddleia is ugly...a weed

AnonymousDecember 18th 2013.

Ivy against the walls or a favourite virginia creeper.

Joanne LeeseDecember 18th 2013.

If the council are soo worried about green spaces then they shouldn't have sold half of Piccadilly Gardens to developers. Why on earth would people leave the climate controlled convience of their cars for cold (or overheated), overcrowed and inconvenient, overpriced, public transport?

Poster BoyDecember 19th 2013.

All aboard the fascist green bandwagon...

Kevin PeelDecember 19th 2013.

I'm had to hear that Realty have told you, David, that they plan to submit plans in January because that is news to me as a local councillor! Time and again they have refused to engage with the council, local councillors and the community to discuss their plans for the former BBC site, instead hinting at proposals in press releases which do not fit in the area and will not be supported. I suggest Yousef gets in touch with us... As for the rest - it's great to see ManCon starting a debate on this issue. We're doing all we can to stem the rise of these zombie car parks but existing planning laws make it difficult. We've managed to have several of these car parks permitted for one year only and we supported residents to develop the urban allotments on the Hilton Street site. We'd encourage more developers to work with the community on meanwhile use.

10 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Kevin can I ask that when planning permission is granted why conditions aren't applied. For example, construction must start X months after demolition and be complete within X months. If this had been done you wouldn't have zombie car parks, the river street carcass that been there for 9 years or the abandoned foundations on the corner of Princess and Whitworth. Is it because the overwhelmingly Labour council had its nose too deep in the trough to care?

JoanDecember 19th 2013.

Conditions often are applied, but it's somewhat difficult to enforce conditions when the businesses which should meet them have gone bust.

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

I appreciate that Joan with respect to Origin and River Street but what about the other sites mentioned in this article. How many of these plots had appropriate conditions applied and the businesses are still functioning like on the old BBC site or the old Peugeot garage on Chester Road. I'm going to guess at none but am happy be influenced by data.

GimboidDecember 19th 2013.

Anonymous, what conditions have been applied to the BBC site, that the council have not enforced?

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Gimboid, none. That's my point. It's all very well councillors bleating about Zombie car parks being a blight but they had their opportunity and missed it when they were still considering the application. Then there's the cheek of blaming central government.

GimboidDecember 19th 2013.

Sorry, I'll rephrase my question - what application are you referring to, one which the council have failed to enforce conditions, where the developer is still in business?

AnonymousDecember 20th 2013.

I'll rephrase my answer. There isn't one. The council should apply conditions to ensure the prompt development of the land but they don't. I would assume because they don't want to scare off potential developers. The one way around this would maybe to incentives the planning process so that if you develop the land promptly you get a rebate on your planning fee?....Developed land would make much more money for the council than the planning fee. I might be wrong. Just an idea. My point is, when the planning application for both demolition and subsequent development are minded to approve I don't know why they don't take the opportunity at that point to apply some conditions like those I exemplified above. It's a bit stable door and horse to be complaining about it now.

GimboidDecember 20th 2013.

How would the council apply conditions if there isn't an application? This was what I was trying to point out - but you were criticising the council for not enforcing conditions they had applied. They can't simply apply conditions to a site - they have to be applied to a planning permission. No planning application = planning permission = no planning permission conditions.

AnonymousDecember 21st 2013.

No Gimboid I was criticising the council for not insisting on conditions when the application is granted. I'm afraid you seem to have little knowledge of the planning process. You need consent to demolish, build or have a zombie car park. All need planning permission each have the opportunity for the application of conditions.

Howard BernsteinFebruary 21st 2014.

As I understand it Realty have been speaking to senior officers at the Council for well over 2 years to try and promote credible proposals that would create thousands of jobs and provide city centre living and rebuffed at every turn. Need to look closer to home.

AVODecember 19th 2013.

I'd love to see the cash strapped council snapping up pockets of prime city centre real estate after two years of non development as suggested by one commentator. In any event, if the price of on street parking wasn't so ludicrously high, people wouldn't have a need to use these so called zombie car parks and they wouldn't be so prolific.

DrakeDecember 19th 2013.

Never mind the rest of the article, the 'councillors looking happy/councillors looking sad' bit is hilarious. Is there a blog collecting these images?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Kevin PeelDecember 19th 2013.

Google 'glum councillors', Drake!

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

What about certain council members who used to loudly trumpet their association with the Cooperative bank unlike those nasty Tories associated with the the bankers in London.Thats all gone very quiet recently.

John RyanDecember 20th 2013.

You'd also love Angry People in Local Newspapers blog.

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

the worst is the one opposite century buildings, not exactly a nice view for the residents!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

In Parsonage Gardens?

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

next to the edge at the rear (facing the irwell)

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Ms Knowles wouldn't be standing for ward Councillor next May would she?.....This piece is just a Party Political Piece on behalf of the Labour Party. Whatever your political persuasions the last thing Manchester needs is another impotent Labour party councillor. Change is needed in this city even if it's just a replacement for Leese.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

A party political piece that disagrees with Labour's position? Think you may need to read this again.

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

It's been the same old faces running this city for the last 20 years,even the leadership in China and North Korea is more dynamic than that. Without any possibility of electoral change because of Labour monopoly on power,the only possibility of change is within the Labour Party but they seem happy for Leese to run this city for decades,while the man totally lacks the charisma and vision to run a major city.One only has to look at how New York was transformed from a near bankrupt city into a very safe,prosperous one,to see how much difference having a quality leader makes.

AnonymousDecember 19th 2013.

Completely agree David. Ms Knowles doesn't seem to be doing much to fluster the party faithful at the town hall. I think you need to read it again Anon. The piece conveniently states that “local powers are limited, with planning policy set out by and policed by national government.” Obviously it's the nasty coalitions fault and Labours land grab policy would sort this out. I'm not sure you can call her a candidate yet. I believe you have to say local campaigner. I also look forward to reading articles regarding the work other local campaigners have been involved in.

billbeastleyDecember 19th 2013.

absolute nonsense. The temporary carparks are providing a service that the council has failed to do. Cheap affordable car parking, which in return brings more people into the city centre to do their shopping rather than driving them away to the soulless trauma ( trafford) centre and its Ilk. Also Ive seen where these carparks are located and if anyone thinks turning those areas in to green parks is a good idea they must be out of their tree. do the "greeners" honestly believe that people are going to go and sit on the green green grass surrounded by the grey dilapidated and knackered buildings that surround them. Yeah, I bet people would flock to them _ NOT Also , who exactly would pay for the upkeep of these green areas? or pay for people to monitor them ( ie wardens) presumably that would fall on the local taxpayers to fund? Considering that piccadilly gardens is in such a poor state of repair I cant understand why anyone would be pushing for more green areas to be left to become rundown , litter strewn and patchy. It boils down to this - "grey" parking brings more people into the city to spend their money, Green areas ( in the locations suggested) will achieve nothing more than create a extremely short lived grass area which would be unused and rapidly fall into disrepair giving the city a "lovely" scrubland. Im sure there'll be people who shout "use public transport to get into the centre" . the people who shout this tend to be people who already live in the centre and dont have to face the misery of a journey that takes 2-3 times it would in the car, (assuming the transport in question arrives on time - which is rare) not to mention the cost of public transport. why spend £3 + to get to the centre in the most inconvenient way imaginable when you can drive in comfort and park for only £2 on one of these "zombie" sites. If you want greenery why not get yourselves down to trafford, chorlton , didsbury or any number of areas outside the centre where parkland is plentiful. Oh I guess its that then the city centre dwellers would have to suffer the same discomfort that those of us on the outskirts have to endure whenever we want to come to the centre. we cant be having that now can we?

12 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidDecember 19th 2013.

What a tragic paucity of imagination you have. Piccadilly Gardens is not a park. Why not compare to Angel Meadows, Whitworth Park, Platt Fields Park, etc, which are close to the city centre and functioning and popular parks. Don't city centre dwellers have as much right to have somewhere green and relaxing on their doorstep?

DavidDecember 19th 2013.

I think he has more imagination than you have demonstrated.Even your insults against those who disagree lack imagination.

GimboidDecember 19th 2013.

David I could use much more imagination in my insults but you're obviously so dense, bordering on autistic I would guess, that there would be no point.

DavidDecember 20th 2013.

The more you speak the more bile comes out Gimboid.You have a authoritarian mindset.

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 20th 2013.

Gimboid, David, I think that's enough of the scrap now. It's not just about you two this thread. Let others have a go - you've nailed your positions down very clearly.

AnonymousDecember 20th 2013.

You seem to ignore the cost of petrol in your 'calculations' Bill. How many people do you think are actually using the BBC site to park up at to go shopping, given it is nowhere near the main shopping areas?

AnonymousDecember 20th 2013.

Oh, and bore off David - I think I speak for most when I say we're sick of you derailing and spoiling what could be interesting conversation threads with your tedious party political rubbish.

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

Gimboid - the fact is none of the so called zombie carparks are big enough to create an inner city park so areas of grassland like Piccadilly gardens are the only option. That's my point really if you can't create an actual park what is the point of little patches of grass surrounded by dirty buildings that won't be properly maintained anyway. If inner city dwellers want an inner city park their best bet is to move to a city that already had one cos there just ain't the room for one in manc centre

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

@ Anonymous - Even adding in cost of fuel from the outskirts to the centre you're probably looking at roughly the same cost as public transport and the car is still a million times more convenient

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

PS Gimboid - City centre dwellers have as much right to green areas on their doorstep as people on the outskirts have a right to all the theatres, bars, restaurants and shopping areas on our doorsteps. I.e. NONE people choose where they want to live. My family chose to live on the outskirts because its considerably cheaper than the centre and the centre does not really suit life with a small child. The down side is that we have to travel into the centre if we ever want to take advantage of everything the centre has to offer, whereas you ( i assume you dwell in the centre) somehow feel that despite all the benefits of city centre dwelling you should also have all the benefits of those who live on the outskirts. You really have a " have my cake and eat yours " attitude.

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

ps to Anon - THe BBC site isnt more than 10mins walk from the major shopping centres. Considering the time public transport takes im willing to bet alot of people are quite happy to park at the BBC then walk for 10mins to do their shop rather than wait 15 - 20 - 30 mins for a bus/train etc to sit/stand in some discomfort for a further 30 + mins to then have to walk from the point they depart the transport back to their house.

Manc_SarahJanuary 4th 2015.

Well Said Bill!

Carl PriestleyDecember 20th 2013.

Gimboid - the fact is none of the so called zombie carparks are big enough to create an inner city park so areas of grassland like Piccadilly gardens are the only option. That's my point really if you can't create an actual park what is the point of little patches of grass surrounded by dirty buildings that won't be properly maintained anyway. If inner city dwellers want an inner city park their best bet is to move to a city that already had one cos there just ain't the room for one in manc centre.

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

hmm dunno why it posted my real name there. ah well. @ Anonymous - Even adding in cost of fuel from the outskirts to the centre you're probably looking at roughly the same cost as public transport and the car is still a million times more convenient

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

PS Gimboid - City centre dwellers have as much right to green areas on their doorstep as people on the outskirts have a right to all the theatres, bars, restaurants and shopping areas on our doorsteps. I.e. NONE people choose where they want to live. My family chose to live on the outskirts because its considerably cheaper than the centre and the centre does not really suit life with a small child. The down side is that we have to travel into the centre if we ever want to take advantage of everything the centre has to offer, whereas you ( i assume you dwell in the centre) somehow feel that despite all the benefits of city centre dwelling you should also have all the benefits of those who live on the outskirts. You really have a " have my cake and eat yours " attitude.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
ktfairyDecember 20th 2013.

Well said - if you want countryside, move to the countryside..... I lived in the city centre for ten years and loved it. Never once felt the need to complain about lack of green space, it is a city cetre after all - it's suppoed to be full of buildings, tramac, cars, shops, offices, people etc. When I got older and wanted green space I moved out to West Yorkshire and live on a hill looking at a hill - lots of green. The trade off is the fairly awful commute to work everyday in the city centre, but then getting home being able to spend time in the countryside makes up for it...

billbeastleyDecember 20th 2013.

ps to Anon - THe BBC site isnt more than 10mins walk from the major shopping centres. Considering the time public transport takes im willing to bet alot of people are quite happy to park at the BBC then walk for 10mins to do their shop rather than wait 15 - 20 - 30 mins for a bus/train etc to sit/stand in some discomfort for a further 30 + mins to then have to walk from the point they depart the transport back to their house.

AnonymousDecember 20th 2013.

Think you should probably retract that recommendation to plant Japanese Knotweed. It's a criminal offence to do so, you'd be in a spot of bother there for recommending that.

Stephen DouglasJanuary 16th 2014.

The council does everything it can to stop people parking on the streets, and then complains when there's a bit of cheap competition for off street parking. Not to mention the fact that the council have a deal with NCP, who probably don't like their expensive multistories being undercut.

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