Mayfield Park to Bring Nature to The Heart of Manchester’s City Centre
Manchester City Centre’s first new public park in more than 100 years is on track to open to the public later this year as part of a new £1.4 billion regeneration project across the city’s Mayfield district.
Mayfield Park, a beautiful 6.5 acre green space that was previously the epicentre of the city’s textiles industry, also promises visitors a huge play area featuring eight slides including a see-through one that stretches 60ft and crosses the River Medlock, crawl tunnels, elevated rope bridges and wheelchair accessible play equipment to cater to all ages and abilities.
The jewel in the crown of the Mayfield regeneration works, which also includes the construction of new homes, offices and additional leisure attractions, Mayfield Park looks set to be an iconic project of huge significance to the city of Manchester and its people, finally providing an area for the community, families and tourists to enjoy a stunning, biodiverse natural landscape within one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
It’s also been a project of much importance to our team, appointed on the Park as Structural, Civil Engineers, acting as Lead Designer for the delivery team led by Manchester-based Main Contractor, PP O’Connor, giving us the opportunity to continue our relationship with The Mayfield Partnership and continuing the role that Civic Engineers have played in transforming this area of the city for both current and future generations.
With detailed design beginning in February 2021, the uncovering of the River Medlock throughout the early stages on site gave our team the opportunity to utilise our low carbon engineering methods to reinstate the river as an authentic geographic feature. In the design of the site infrastructure we promoted the re-use of the historic structures, including the reuse of Victorian cast iron beams from the culverted river structures for the three new bridges across the opened-up river. This design philosophy generated approximate savings in embodied carbon of 23 tonnes, but also allowed us to preserve and upcycle in full view the incredible heritage of the site. Five new jetties that project out over the river have been optimised in their design, generating embodied carbon savings of 13 tonnes. A new boardwalk that spans over the new Wetlands area has also been designed.
Existing masonry river walls have all been retained and repaired, and in many areas reduced in level to provide a direct connection between the park’s landscape and the river.
There are some important archaeological features in the ground that have also been retained and incorporated into the design of the park, such as Victorian engine bases and numerous old wells which are to be re-used for irrigating the landscape. Mayfield’s amazing heritage will be preserved whilst still retelling its story to the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to enjoy the much-needed family, friendly green space when it opens later in the year. Designed to maximise biodiversity, the park has also had 140 trees of 43 different species planted, along with 120,000 plants, bringing nature to the heart of the city centre.
With our Manchester studio just a short walk from the site, we maintained a regular presence during construction works , essential for the construction team working on such a fast-paced project such as this. The design process has needed to evolve at a rapid pace, with occasional surprises and challenges needing addressing speedily.
Delivered for The Mayfield Partnership (a joint venture between Manchester City Council, U+I, TFGM and LCR Railways), we are appointed to PP O’Connor, and working with Landscape architects Studio Egret West, Gillespies and Layer. Buro Happold are advising on the river hydraulics and drainage to the park.