The governors of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) have now decided to progress with the sale of the Ryebank Fields site and has begun to market the site to developers through agents Cushman & Wakefield.
Should development go ahead, the CLT wishes to engage proactively with MMU and their selected development partner to achieve an exemplar scheme at Ryebank Fields.
We acknowledge that some people in our community, including some CLT members, are opposed to any development on Ryebank Fields. To ensure we have appropriate support, the CLT surveyed its members last month and has secured a mandate to engage in the process and to aim for a development that exceeds the Development Framework adopted for the site by Manchester City Council.
The CLT Board believe that a high-quality development on this site, building on the expectations of the Development Framework, can raise the bar for sustainable low carbon community living alongside nature within the City of Manchester.
To this end, we have captured the views of members from the Early Feedback Engagement Survey and fed these into an overarching Expectations and Aspirations Statement that sets out our broad position as we begin to engage in the development process, given the Development Framework’s commitment for developers to “work with a local community housing group to develop part, or all of the site” and to ensure there is “extensive engagement with the local community”.
As stated previously the CLT Board decided not to put a paper to the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) governing body who discussed the Fields at their meeting at the end of March, 2020 so as not to stand in the way of those campaigning against any development. Despite groups making submissions asking the governors not to sell the land for housing and presenting alternative uses, the governors decided to progress with the sale. Since then asbestos has been found on the site at surface level. MMU has commissioned more site investigations, installed fencing and urged local residents not to access the land.
Chorlton CLT has been invited, along with other community groups, to make written representations about Ryebank Fields to landowner MMU’s Board of Governors which meets in March. We have decided not to write in at this point. We don’t want our position to interpreted as simply being “pro development” and in opposition to groups who don’t want any development at all. If these groups are successful in convincing MMU not to sell the land the CLT will be happy to accept this position.
Ryebank Fields are a part of my life. For the last decade, I have run, picked blackberries, played with my son and walked my dog there. I have watched as the oaks have grown and the aspen grove has spread. Arriving today to find brambles cleared, a new steel gate, men in high vis jackets and geotechnical survey rigs at work was a shock and, I have to admit, felt like a violation. So why have I not opposed development on the site?