Monday, 26 March 2012

Goodbye Birley Fields :(

Birley Fields is a part of Hulme, Manchester, that had been left as a piece of wasteland since the demolition of all the old Victorian terraced slums in around the 1990's. (Showing the context here:)

This is an overlay I made of two maps of the area.  One is from the 1800s showing the old terraced houses and the other is a modern one.  The black outlines Birley Fields

This is part of one of the old Victorian cobbled roads that survived:

So anyway Birley Fields has been around for about 20 years and has become a natural green space highly valued by the local community.  Being so close to the city centre there's not much other green space around (other than Hulme Park which in my opinion is boring and hideous).

Birley Fields from this winter just gone:

Not so pretty I know, because it's winter.  But this is what I found when I went there today:

The diggers have moved in.  Sad times.  I wasn't the only one taking photos either.  There was also a very angry and upset looking lady who later went over to a man busy cutting up one of the London Plane trees and looked like she was giving him a hard time.

So here he is cutting up trees:

And here she is, hands on hips, not very happy:

To be fair he was only doing his job.  It's not his fault. 

So whose fault is it then?  

My own university's!

They're building a massive new campus and student accommodation.  This is the model of it in our library:

And here are the plans from MMU's website:

It looks like they're trying to be ecologically sensitive but there's no way that what they're proposing could be ecologically better than what exists now.  Birley Fields grew naturally out of a pile of rubble, and it's rare (and fascinating) to find a place like this that has been left to its own devices for so long, especially so close to the city centre.

I just think it's a shame because there are so many ways this place could be enhanced ecologically AND for the community.

At least Hulme will still have its Community Garden Centre:

And I leave you with some lovely tulips from their community garden:

1 comment:

  1. What they are doing to birley fields is truly awful. As you say, the development is not at all ecologically sensitive to the site at all. Quite the opposite. Last year I wrote an article about the wildlife which had managed to carve out a niche on birley fields:



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