Sunday, 26 July 2015

Pomona Island, Manchester, a call to action

Well, as was inevitable the oasis in the city that is Pomona Island is possibly looking towards the end of its time. I would really rather it not be though.

Developers are, of course eyeing it up for the usual bland mix of flats, shops offices etc. This, myself and lot of others feel would be a tragically wasteful misuse of such a unique green space. In a city like Manchester with a serious lack of open space surely a plan to incorporate this into the plans would be the way forward.

There are a great deal of people in Manchester actively working to make the future of our city a greener more sustainable and habitable one, a chance to properly and thoughtfully utilise this space, or for that matter, anything like it will not come our way again.
Cities all over the world are realising their brownfield sites can have social and ecologically important uses. Just look at the high line in NYC for one.

What has been achieved and continues to evolve in NY should be a benchmark in the new urban environment.
What we could do with the space we have in Manchester could really be a paradigm shift.

I would like to see at least a large portion of it retained and used for urban gardening projects, used for educating people on how to grow their own food ( especially when considering the high rates of malnutrition in the area) and crucially these days, bee attracting flowers.
It could become a haven for green initiatives, for land management, animal husbandry and wildlife protection while providing a much needed public place outside the concrete, glass and steel cropping up across the city.

Manchester and Salford people who know, care and write about Pomona include Hayley Flynn of Skyliner, George Haydock, Dr luke Blazejewski, James Walsh , The Manchester Ship Canal Heritage society and others, all, like myself passionate about the place for reasons of both the preservation of wildlife and the more romantic and purely human ones of having a place to go, to wander, to get away from it all or to sit by the water and watch the birds.

A little video sequence I made, intro dialogue thanks to James Walsh.
A blog post I made a couple of months ago with a bit of different information as well is HERE

In the decades this area has been sitting vacant it has been anything but dormant, it has become a haven for migratory birds each spring, a home to many species of feathered friends, rabbits and importantly, bees. People have naturally taken to it as a walking route from Trafford Road into Castlefield and it has been used on many film and tv productions.

I could wax poetic, ramble on about the injustices and rue the shortsightedness of the developers, the council and the monetary aims of all involved but many have done it better than I.
 A superb book was written that in part touches on Pomona, "Edgelands: Journeys Into England's True Wilderness". It is an ode to these wonderful urban spaces, these places neither in nor out of the city but a little bit of both.

Right now is a time to act, to tell the powers that be what you think, what your alternatives are and sprout forth new ideas for a new age, we must not allow rampant construction to continue to damage what little green space we have left as in years to come we will wish we had not.
Imagine if places like Whitworth Park did not exist, the foresight of the creator of that saw how important it was to give people such a place and what a place it is. What a place Pomona could become.

There is time to register your objection, but not very much, August 5th 2015 is the cut off date so please, let them know you oppose this plan and what your ideas are, if you have never visited Pomona before then why not organise a trip with friends or contact one of the people I referred to above for info on tours, they, like me are there all the time! Or, come to our event on August 1st.

Use THIS document to register your objections, all the information you need is in there. Please do this before August 5th.

And please sign the petition, both these actions together will make a huge difference.

Pomona, a site of biological importance, lots of interesting reading in the links at the bottom of this article

An Eden Project for the North

Pomona site of biological importance report.This makes an excellent argument for the site's importance

Hayley Flynn's wonderful article in the Guardian on Pomona

The Northern Spring's Flora report, the species here include rare Bee Orchids

What birds frequent the docks and Pomona? Mancunian Birder will tell you

Alternative environmentally sustainable plans by an architecture student, this creates an agricultural centre, these are fantastic

An alternative architectural plan for the site, Pomona Ecology Centre 

Add your stories, poems pictures and videos to the My Pomona project 

Add to the local record of wildlife

Who owns PEEL holdings?

Manchester Evening News article about the plans and the campaign against them.

Magazine article which states the area has been forgotten, it certainly has not!

Cornbrook regeneration framework, PDF outlining the plans 

Trafford Council weighs in

Information on the plans of the developers

As you can see, there is a lot of information out there on all facets of this plan and the counter arguments being made.
Please share this appeal and make your objections. Pomona thanks you!

Look at these meticulous and thoughtful plans for a sustainable use of the land
Follow the link for more of the plans


Anonymous said...

Nice article. Like the dawn chorus. Did you see the article -

Have posted yours to
and would be great to continue the discussion on there

Ashley van dyck said...

Thank you very much! I will have a look at that now, I'm more than happy to continue the discussion, looking forward to it very much.

Ashley van dyck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oliver Marriott said...

Hi there, I found this piece to be very illuminating on what was/is happening to Pomona island.
I'm a filmmaking student in my 3rd year, and am interested in making a film about whats happening there.
(I'm also doing one on the re-invention/regeneration of manchester)
I was hoping that you might be able to give any further information with what stages Pomona is at and if you could point me in any direction with whom else to contact? (both council and objectors)

many thanks, Oliver Marriott

my email address -

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