It seems that Oxford Road is changing rather rapidly at the moment. Known as the ‘busiest bus route in Europe’, this road which is used by thousands of commuters, hospital workers and scholars [cynics read heavily-indebted, hungover youths] every day is currently receiving an overhaul. The final phase of works is being undertaken which will re-align the carriageway, install new ‘Dutch-style’ cycle routes and prohibit private cars.
Mancunians familiar with the University will tell you that this primary transport corridor is both an asset and a liability. The bus routes provide frequent bus services between the city centre, the university and the ‘student ghettos’ of Fallowfield and Withington, however, in parts the public realm on Oxford Road is often rather uninviting.
The University has been attempting in recent years to upgrade its Oxford Road Campus as part of its £1billion ‘Campus Masterplan’ , which will gradually see buildings within the former North Campus (UMIST – to more mature readers) move to Oxford Road. The University has revealed today that this Masterplan involves more than transport and new teaching facilities. It has been revealed today, that the Masterplan will see a significant piece of Green Space built within the heart of the Campus.
Brunswick Street, a currently nondescript thoroughfare between Oxford Road and Upper Brook Street will be transformed into a new park – Brunswick Park. The works to create the new space will close the existing carriageway and join up existing pockets of green space which currently sit either side of the street. This will create a 4.5 acre park, close to cars, with pedestrian and cycle paths.
Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Manchester said: “The University is transforming the campus through its £1 billion Campus Masterplan and that includes a commitment to environmental sustainability by improving our green spaces and public realm. These proposals form a centrepiece of our vision and will create a heart of the University campus for staff, students, visitors and the local community to enjoy”.
Planit-IE will act as Landscape Architect for the scheme with WYG as consultant for highways, civils and structural. Manchester City Council and residents in the Brunswick (Ardwick) ward have already been consulted. Further consultation is anticipated in the coming weeks.