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Reporting Back: Prestwich Village Regeneration Meeting

by prestwichfocus on 8 August, 2018

Last week a second meeting around took place around the regeneration of the Prestwich village area. The meeting heard presentations from Bury Council, the development company which has signed up to redevelop the area and their planning consultants. The Mayor of Greater Manchester also spoke as part of Greater Manchester’s ‘Town Centre Challenge’ project, of which Prestwich is one. Liberal Democrat councillors Tim Pickstone and Mary D’Albert were at the meeting and report back.

The council and Muse have now agreed to set up a joint venture company to guide the development. Progress on creating the new company should be well under way by the autumn.

What’s the vision?
The ‘vision’ is, apparently: “Prestwich Village – a modern and lively centre with a focus on living, creativity, shopping and enjoying life”. Not much to disagree with there, but there were then eleven things that the developers wanted to achieve with the redevelopment (e.g. housing, retain nighttime economy, community facilities, cultural hub, employment sites etc). Again not much to disagree with each one, but we made the point that it might be better to focus on slightly less things and achieve them really well, rather than trying to achieve so many things in a small space. We also made the point that the list did not include addressing the issue of Prestwich village being a busy transport ‘crossroads’ – foot, bike, car and Metrolink, as well as parking – but also one which is currently very congested (parking, Bury New Road, Fairfax Road etc.

What is being proposed?
The Council and the developers are looking to develop a proposal for the whole of the Longfield ‘site’. As it stands today this is the whole of the Longfield shopping parade, the Longfield suite and Library, the Health Centre/Walk-In Centre, and the whole of the Longfield Car Park. Every building in this site would be knocked down.

These plans will develop, and the public will be given their chance to have our say going forwards. A first outline was presented to the meeting:
– apartments – about 100
– shops and restaurants below – particularly on the southern side of the site.
– potential for a hotel above – e.g. on Bury New Road
– potential for workspaces (e.g. offices) below some of the flats
– a multi-story carpark
– a community building = a bit vague but to include the Health Centre services, Library and some community space.
– a clear walk way through the site (from Bury New Road to the Metrolink) and more community outdoor space in the middle.

A lot of the businesses and public bodies at the meeting commented on the proposals. One common theme (that we also raised) was the need to maximise good housing. This autumn the next phase of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will be published and it would be better to have a bit more accommodation here than destroying our countryside. The site is seen as a good place for more affordable and smaller units that might suit both younger people starting out and also older people wanting to ‘downsize’.

We also raised again the issue of congestion. The proposals made no change the current road layout, despite fitting in more shops, flats, offices and a multi-story. For us the plans need to address congestion and make sure that people can get across Prestwich and get to the village centre be that in a car, on foot or by bike. We also questioned whether a multi-story car park was the best thing to have in the middle of the site (ie where the car park is now) or whether that could be provided elsewhere (e.g. Fairfax Road car park.

Going Forwards
It is important to stress that these were first outline proposals, and the developers will (hopefully) listen and make some changes. We are very keen that the public get a real say on these proposals as it is our town centre that needs to meet the needs of current and future generations.

We have three key points we want to see in the plans:
– An improved community offer. At present we are lucky to have the Longfield Suite, the Health Centre, the Walk-In Centre, the Library and the adult-ed rooms above the library. Whatever is proposed must include a strong community facilities, certainly nothing less than what is currently available.
– Housing must play an important part of the scheme, but it must be the affordable houses that local people need
– Congestion must be addressed. We need to be able to get across Prestwich and get to the village centre on foot, bike, car and tram, and have places to park to use the local services.

These are just our views, but we want to know your views too. Please comment on this post or get in touch via Councillor Tim Pickstone (tim@burylibdems.net).

   6 Comments

6 Responses

  1. Howard Goldman says:

    Apart from shabby nature of most of the buildings in Prestwich village the traffic congestion and traffic lights sequencing at Fairfax Road needs to be addressed first and foremost.

  2. John Hamson says:

    All this talk about building houses and flats will bring in additional money to the Council and I am sure this is what is driving this deal forward.Nobody seems to have given any thought to Education.
    There are already lots of new housing in Prestwich but there is no mention of any new schools in the area.
    Primary and seconday schools are already full to the brim yet we just go blindly ahead approving housing which will also bring with it new families. Does anyone have any statistics about how many young children there are currently in Prestwich ?

  3. Nick Hubble says:

    Bury need to adopt a commitment than any scheme will have a zero, if possible negative, effect on congestion and pollution. Promote policies of active travel, get on board with Beelines, do some real analysis of the kind of trips people make and work at shifting people to non-vehicular modes. The current situation is already intolerable on many levels, and we urgently need to square the circle of enabling clean, sustainable growth for a place fit for the 21st century. I’m sure Burnham had something to say along those lines.

  4. Its important that a Town Square be included in this redevelopment ,the options for this are endless . Prestwich is unique in its own way with lots of community groups that use a ”Town square” .We could also introduce our own Thursday market (weekly ) with the Artizan Mkts monthly finishing with a two week Christmas Fair .Hopefully this will bring in more culture and prosperity into our town.

  5. Kelly Bentley says:

    A multi activity youth centre and a street food market lhall like that at altrincham market would be great for families as people of all ages to enjoy

  6. Prue Yeoman says:

    How will 100 flats with car owners and a multi storey car park possibly do anything but ADD to the unbearable congestion? Also the plans for the health centre library and community hub must be fleshed out properly before Bury Council sign away what we already have. I’m extremely worried this won’t happen in their rush to get housing. Councillors – How can the public officially comment on plans?

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