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Sleuth's Begging Letter: To A Rich Person About Parks

Confidential's man about town stands on top of the Holiday Inn Express and dreams a dream

Published on November 21st 2012.

Sleuth's Begging Letter: To A Rich Person About Parks

SO SLEUTH was doing his Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Topman superhero 'thing' around the city when he alighted on the roof of the Holiday Inn Express on Oxford Road. 

So thanks to Jonathan Smith and team there for letting him spread his wings.

If you're the one giving the dosh Sheikh Mansour, then Sleuth is sure a floral clock in the shape of Manchester City's coat of arms could be designed. 

Sleuth looked down and saw laid out below him the vast site of the former BBC building - all 5.4 acres of it. 

This is more or less the size of Piccadilly Gardens and up to the far edge of Parker Street, Piccadilly, Mosley Street and Portland Street. But rather than being perimetered by just streets the now cleared site of the old BBC building borders the banks of the River Medlock.

The site was bought by Yousef Tishbi's Realty Estates - for around £10m - who propose a scheme including leisure, hotel, offices, supermarket, residential, non-food retail, as well as associated car parking and extensive landscaping and public realm.

So absolutely no surprises there.

Up above the city, Sleuth got thinking.

Here's a letter.

Dear Mr B Gates or Mr R Branson or Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - or any other billionaires,

Please can you reimburse the amount paid by Realty Estates for the former BBC site and the monies needed to clear the site.

Could you then please chuck - just guessing here - another £20m into the pot so the whole area can be landscaped as a top class city centre park?

St James's Park, LondonSt James's Park, LondonIt would have to be maintained to London Royal Parks standard of course so a bit of legacy funding for parkies and flowers and the like would be needed too.

If you're the one giving the dosh Sheikh Mansour then Sleuth's sure a floral clock in the shape of Manchester City's coat of arms could be designed. 

As for you Mr Gates, Sleuth is reckons the creation of the park would fall under an act of charity to justify your foundation offering support.

After all the provision of a beautiful and immaculate park filled with exotic and native trees and seas of flowers spreading down to the River Medlock would deliver so much well-being and peace of mind that fewer Mancunians would need to use the sorely pressed NHS. 

St James's Park, LondonSt James's Park, LondonSleuth has some ideas for designs and even some ideas for designers to help out. Just give him the nod. He even has a spare rake. 

But let's dream gentlemen, and let's make our cities more beautiful. Why not start with Manchester and make a central 5.4 acres blossom. Let's make it a mini-Central Park. And once you've proved the point here you can fund some other parks elsewhere.

We could even call the park after you.

And Mr Branson should you be the one to invest, you could even open the new park dressed in costume as that seems something you seem to like to do. You could maybe launch a hot-air balloon from there as well. 

So come on gents cough up.

Yours respectively,


Here are some of the pictures Sleuth took from the roof of the Holiday Inn Express, in all directions not just over the cleared site. 

View From Holiday Inn 007View From Holiday Inn 007

View From Holiday Inn 008View From Holiday Inn 008

View From Holiday Inn 009View From Holiday Inn 009

View From Holiday Inn 010View From Holiday Inn 010

View From Holiday Inn 011View From Holiday Inn 011

View From Holiday Inn 012View From Holiday Inn 012

View From Holiday Inn 013View From Holiday Inn 013

View From Holiday Inn 015View From Holiday Inn 015

View From Holiday Inn 020View From Holiday Inn 020

View From Holiday Inn 022View From Holiday Inn 022

View From Holiday Inn 023View From Holiday Inn 023

View From Holiday Inn 024View From Holiday Inn 024

View From Holiday Inn 027View From Holiday Inn 027

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. His last article is here and he's several people all at once. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth




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

AnonymousNovember 21st 2012.

Well, you might as well get used to the sight of this big empty plot because that's how its going to stay for many, many years.

Bernstein really did drop a bollock allowing this to fall into the hands of a firm who have a reputation for sitting on assets rather than developing them.

Did he have any conversations with the BBC about their disposal strategy?

1 Response: Reply To This...
James SpencerNovember 22nd 2012.

I'm sure he did but then the BBC have to pay 'me learned friends' a lot at the mo.

Kevin PeelNovember 21st 2012.

ManCon I like it - lets start a campaign!

Carol shared this on Facebook on November 21st 2012.
Reader XxxNovember 21st 2012.

Having a Park on the site would be a dream come true...

James SpencerNovember 21st 2012.

Be careful Ken. It's in Ardwick Ward

1 Response: Reply To This...
CharlieNovember 22nd 2012.

It's in the City Centre ward (put this in Google Maps: www.manchester.gov.uk/…/city_centre_ward… )

the Whalley RangerNovember 21st 2012.

Is it not peculiar that every time a void a size of a city block appears in the centre (the same can be said of the Lizzy House site), we notice that Manchester is the only city in the western world that does not have a park in its city footprint.

Now, don't come back and say 'but there's St John's Garden' - that's half the size of my back yard!

1 Response: Reply To This...
CharlieNovember 22nd 2012.

Indeed - something substantial like Sheffield's Devonshire Green would be ideal.

James SpencerNovember 22nd 2012.

Don't be silly Sleuth.... Won't it be another Tesco under a hotel and flats (more student accommodation) and clubs in the basement or under the car park. A surface carpark with trees is the best you will get as public realm.

Better put your park on the vacated UMIST site.

John HarrisNovember 22nd 2012.

I'm sure I suggested this for the Origin site by Canal Street about 5 years ago. It'd still work too, if the council work just grow a pair and compulsorily purchase the site

Reader XxxNovember 22nd 2012.

Sleuth, you are so right about having a public park to avoid congestion in the NHS.

The greener the city is, the healthier their population becomes...look at examples around us in London for example.

Duke FameNovember 23rd 2012.

It's such a leftie thing to do, demand someone else pays for something.

There is a pethora of empty peoperties manchester, let those who want to develop get on with developing

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 23rd 2012.

What about all those companies that fail to pay a living wage, instead demand tax payer subsidy (through the benefit system) to top up their employees wages? Are they lefties?

What about all those banks that demand tax payer support to lend to small businesses? Are they lefties?

What about property developers that use the political system to extract concessions to allow them to build out of town, and then demand tax payer support to upgrade the inadequate infrastructure? Are they lefties?

LukewarmdogNovember 23rd 2012.

Demanding someone else pays for something is a Leftie thing? Surely not. My wife makes me pay for everything and she always Right.

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