Today the University of Manchester has unveiled plans to turn Brunswick Street into a park—to be named Brunswick Park.
As part of the university’s £1 billion campus masterplan and concurrently with the Cross City bus corridor works by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the road will be blocked off to traffic and it will be replaced with an area of green public realm.
The park will sit in the heart of campus between the Simon and Williamson buildings. The removal of traffic will improve safety for students and other pedestrians alike; currently the crossing is uncontrolled and is particularly busy as lectures come to a close every ten-minutes-to-the-hour.
One third year student told The Mancunion: “I think it’s a great idea to replace this hazardous crossing with a nice green area, to juxtapose the grey university buildings and busy Oxford Road with some peace and quiet. I think campus sorely needs a touch of environment.”
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.”
The area will be extensively landscaped and will feature pedestrian paths, cycle lanes, wildflower areas, trees, and benches. It comes as preparation begins on works to turn the Oxford Road into a bus, bicycle, and hackney carriage only road during the day time.
The entire street will be converted and plans show a large circular area in outside the Zochonis, Roscoe, and Simon buildings, which leads to the Oxford Road along a wide paved area.
“Improved pathways” will be provided between Oxford Road and Upper Brook Street for pedestrians and cyclists, which aim to form “an important gateway to the campus,” according to the University of Manchester’s plans.
These pathways come as TfGM gets ready to revolutionise transport along Oxford Road, widening pavements and planting trees to create a boulevard feel along the ‘Corridor’, in addition to the introduction of ‘Dutch style’ cycle lanes, which will go behind bus stops. The plans hope to increase the speed, reliability, and safety of using public transport, cycling, and walking along the Oxford Road.
Hampson added: “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”
Sitting between the open area outside University Place and the small areas of greenery in front of the Williamson and Simon buildings, the park will also be used for large-scale campus events such as graduation, with plans drawn up for a central space to accommodate these.
Consultation with Manchester City Council has already taken place with community base consultations planned imminently.
Subject to planning, work is expected to begin on the Brunswick Park scheme later in 2016.