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Francis Hesketh CMLI CEnv Partner, TEP

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1 Francis Hesketh CMLI CEnv Partner, TEP
Green Infrastructure for Rochdale Borough in Greater Manchester (Part 1 of 2) Francis Hesketh CMLI CEnv Partner, TEP

2 What does Green Infrastructure mean for Greater Manchester?
Study Objectives: What does Green Infrastructure mean for Greater Manchester? “Route-map” for the City Region to implement GI Our study was funded by AGMA & Natural England. 3 Objectives First – to define what GI means for GM, with its mature urban fabric where GI needs to be retrofitted into the existing physical and community arrangements\ Second – the ask a question whether a GM-wide approach is needed – given that we already have many groups engaged in environmental activity, can we achieve the necessary step-change in GI by investing more in existing arrangements – or are there additional benefits from a cross- Manchester approach? Third – to set out a route-map for the City Region to implement more and better GI in the right places to support the growth of the City Region

3 Why? We have to (policy obligation in RSS and NGP)
We need to (to effectively deliver key functions & deal with growth blockers (MAA & GM Strategic Plan)) The “2025 world-class city” vision requires a collaborative approach to GI Case studies elsewhere e.g. London / New York emphasise that partnership working is critical – “Its Infrastructure, Stupid!” The City Region governors are obliged by the Northwest plan and the New Growth Point status to draw up a GI plan But no-one here wants to see a plan drawn up just for the sake of ticking a box at Government Office HQ – if that’s all, then such a plan would certainly gather dust The point is that we need to have a cross-boundary GI strategy. The MAA is about tackling the very things that are blocking growth; blocking inward investment, blocking skills acquisition. It recognises that environmental quality is part of the problem. The SFRA recognises that our Inner Areas are vulnerable to flooding and we need to improve flood management to protect land values. It recognises that we need to attract and keep families close to our city and town centres. As we’ve already seen from talks today, GI is part of the solution; its part of the infrastructure for City Growth We have a vision of being a world-class city, recognised for quality of life, place and environment Case Studies show that a cross-boundary partnership approach which crosses administrative boundaries, crosses organisational boundaries; and crosses thematic boundaries – will deliver change – we are talking about infrastructure – no-one would build a sewer or a bridge which just stopped halfway – while I don’t want to push the metaphor too hard, the same principle applies to GI – it will deliver better return on investment if it is co-ordinated

4 “We make a sustainable city through a few major actions and a thousand and one small changes”
From Low S. “Sustainable Cities” We will make our cities sustainable by a few major projects and a thousand and one small changes From Low S. Sustainable Cities Image © CABE


6 “Growth-support” functions of Green Infrastructure in GM
Flood risk management & climate change adaptation Ecological framework Sustainable movement (multi-user routes) Sense of place River & canal corridor management Positive image & setting for growth Supporting urban regeneration Supporting communities, health and enjoyment The functions are in no particular order We need to climate-proof our city and town centres – many of our growth points are in floodzone (albeit defended, but even defecnes need managing and GI can help with that as we shall see). We need to improve our ability to get around the city region on foot, bike etc – routes from home to school, to work, to parks and to the countryside should be as welcoming, safe and green as possible. People want to live somewhere that has a sense of place – of course GM already has a great cultural landscape and we get a sense of being close to the hills; but at a local level people want to be proud of their neighbourhood. Rivers and canals are important to regeneration, movement and place. GI has a role to play in reducing or ameliorating pollution and cleaning up brownfield Of course some of the most important functions of GI relate to dealing with existing areas of deprivation and difficulty. WE are all here because we recognise that GI can bring all these benefits – but its more than that – its more then “benefits” – these are essential functions of GI – unless we deliver GI, we won’t achieve growth.


8 Jobs & Prosperity Every Child Matters
Tourism, Leisure, Image, Inward Investment, Gateways, Healthier workers, Flood-proofing town centres Every Child Matters Healthier lifechoices, Sport, Environmental Education

9 Cleaner Greener Environment
Community Safety Healthier communities, more volunteers, better looked-after places Cleaner Greener Environment Parks & Open Spaces, Access to the Countryside, Volunteering, Biodiversity, Landscape Quality Health & Wellbeing Sport, Leisure, Mental Stress relief


11 Case study 1: River Quaggy, Lewisham, London
River flows 35% in culvert, 39% in “concrete canal” Flooding affected development potential and land values downstream Lewisham Town Centre vulnerable Traditional engineered solutions to flood defence required maintenance and had delivered one function at the expense of many others Local revolt against engineered solutions – Quaagy Waterways Action Group



14 Case study 1: River Quaggy, Lewisham, London
Sutcliffe Park was a “typical green desert” park – Quaggy flowed in culvert underneath Regeneration and health issues QWAG /Environment Agency used Flood alleviation scheme money to create flood storage washlands in Sutcliffe Park instead

15 Left: 2003 before restoration
Below: 2004, then 2007

16 Economic Benefits: Lower cost flood defences. More flood storage
Economic Benefits: Lower cost flood defences. More flood storage. Increased development potential and town centre flood-proofing Health Benefits: More use of park: Biodiversity Benefits: Community Cohesion Benefits: Active Civic group

17 Regional Centre and Inner Areas

18 East London Green Grid River Quaggy Regional Park Opportunity
So Sutcliffe Park and the River quaggy are a great feelgood story – but this slide shows that its not an isolated action – it has a broader context. This is the East London Green Grid – it covers 11 local authorities and is similar in scale to GM. While I haven’t got time to talk you through the plan, the point is that the Quaggy is part of a larger Regional Park opportunity for the rivers of south London which wil improve flood resilience, increase access and biodiversity and improve recreational and open space deficiency for literally hundreds of thousands of people. Back to the mantra – a few large projects and a 1001 small changes

19 Regional Centre & Inner Areas

20 Case study A: Pennine Edge Forest
Belfield Urban Forest was underused greenspace in the River Roch Valley Close to HMR area and existing deprived communities NEWLANDS and SUSTRANS schemes January 2008 flood storage protected town centre Our first case study is near the top of the Irwell catchment, just upstream of Rochdale town centre. Belfield Urban Forest is in the valley of the River Roch – it had brownfield and underused and neglected greenspace. With investment from NEWLANDS, Sustrans and the Council, a multi-functional urban forest was created which provides an environemtal parkland to suport the Housing Market Renewal area. On a more urgent note, it acted as floodstorage in January this year, when the town centre was within a couple of inches of getting a bath – no doubt thanks to the improvements in the greenspace just upstream.


22 Case study A: Pennine Edge Forest
Natural Signposting Project in Kirkholt (interwar estate with over supply of green space) Connections to Rochdale Canal & Tandle Hill Park South Rochdale Forest Trail Elsewhere in Rochdale there are some large public housing areas, including the interwar Kirkholt estate, characterised by a lot of greenspace (not all of which is actively valued by anyone other than the local canine population. Kirkholt has problems of worklessness, poor health and lack of confidence. The Natural Signposting project is a community initiative to encourage people to explore the local countryside and also the Rochdale canal which is the main corridor from Kirkholt to the Town Centre.


24 Transforming Estates Priory Green (Peabody Trust, London)
This is a slight aside. I had the privilege a couple of weeks ago to see how the Peabody Trust is transforming some really run-down inner-city estates near Kings Cross London – you can imagine that these are really difficult places with antisocial behaviour, transient populations, ill-health and great community fearfulness. As part of a wider programme to tackle security and bad neighbours, the Trust has invested £2m in transforming the public realm. These pic.s don’t do the scheme justice; I took them on my mobile phone, but what we saw was real change. At the same conference, the work in Bolton, transforming estates was showcased. This is investment in GI that will make places better to live; will retain families and community leaders. It cannot happen in isolation from social and educational investment – indeed it would be wasted money if it happened in isolation; but it is an essential part of the “transforming estates” package.

25 Case study B: Irwell Valley
M62 DUN Land, Flood Issues Biodiversity & Cultural Heritage Deprivation Issues Close to HMR / Growth Point The River Irwell valley – only a few miles from the City Centre; this is literally a green artery for the heart of the City-Region. This slide illustrates how the valley is essential green infrastructure. It also illustrates some of the issues and problems. It is key to image, yet it has DUN land close to the M62. It could provide flood storage for the City Centre (in the same way that the Belfield Urban Forest did for Rochdale Town Centre). It could act as parkland for several deprived (and not-so-deprived) communities. I actually think it is a disgrace that there is no sign on the M62 telling motorists that they are crossing one of the rivers that supported the Industrial Revolution, a river that sustained hundreds of thousands of jobs – in France, they will sign even the smallest stream!

26 Case study B: Irwell Valley
I’ll let you look at the list of GI activity in the Irwell Valley – now the truth is that some of this hasn’t happened yet; some of it is a case of “what could be”. If you remember the slide we saw of the East London Green Grid, much of the regeneration activity of the decade is focussed on the Olympics which is happening in the River Lea Valley – this is Manchester’s equivalent of the Lea Valley. So this is a Case Study of what has been, but just as much it’s a case study of what could be. In a sense its also a case study of the need to sustain GI through long-term management and co-operation.

27 Case study C: Littleton Road Playing Fields – Flood Attenuation Basin in the Irwell Valley, Salford
Existing Playing Fields Flood bunds and environmental improvements 1:75 Flood risk protection to Housing market Renewal Area January 2008 floods – the basin protected 6500 homes Increase in investor confidence





32 Case study D: Irwell City Park
Cross-boundary (Salford, Trafford, Manchester) Environmental and waterfront improvements New leisure, tourism and business destination GI delivered thro’ public realm/ greenstreets/ new waterside access Contiguous with Croal Irwell Regional Park Strong brand attractive to investors Good delivery model


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