Why are we interested in what happens on Ryebank Fields?
For many years I have felt that Ryebank Field is an under-utilised area and that it could offer so much more for the local community. Development for housing or leisure use could improve its accessibility and enable more people to enjoy the mature woodland and environment that this site offers. I believe that this is possible within the development of a built or natural environment on the site and with good design the two can be synonymous. I got involved in this group because I care about Chorlton but am also committed to ensuring ongoing public involvement in the decision making about any proposals for the site. This can ensure that the development best suits the needs and aspirations of the local community. My work in local government enabled me to see first hand the value of this dialogue in shaping good ideas for service development and provision in parks and public spaces.
I have long been interested in seeing more eco homes, including for those like me who want to downsize, preferably to an eco Scandinavian style wood ‘cabin’.
When the consultation came along I thought this could be a good site for such homes, mixed in with other sizes and types of housing, with no or low car usage, plenty of green space, enhancing biodiversity and develop a real community.
I am a lifelong community activist who wants the best for Chorlton and other areas. I would like the chance to be involved in an innovative, imaginative and exciting development, as this could be. It could enhance the Chorlton Community and be a beacon for such developments elsewhere.
“I am a member of Carbon Co-op whose primary aim is to ensure domestic carbon emissions are radically reduced in order to avoid runaway climate change. I believe passionately that we should be building zero-carbon, sustainable homes in Manchester today, built to and certified to PassivHaus standards, and that Ryebank Fields would make an ideal site for such a development.
In an area which is well served by public transport, and with the GMCA commitment to active travel infrastructure there’s never been a better time to build homes in which car ownership takes a back seat and tarmac is replaced by green space for growing food, playing, relaxing and providing wildlife habitats. CoHousing is one of the models of Community Led Housing and as a member of a CoHousing group, I would love Manchester’s first CoHousing intentional community to be built on Ryebank Fields, as part of a mixed housing site with community and sustainability at its heart.”
I live locally and love Ryebank Fields as it is, but Chorlton is already well-stocked with parks and greenspace. With the critical need for housing in our cities and pressure on our greenbelt, it seems selfish to oppose all development of this space. As a landscape architect, I am highly conscious of the health and environmental benefits of green infrastructure, but also of the need for integrated communities. This is a uniquely challenging site and not one where you can just roll out a standardised suburban housing model. Socially homogenous, highly car dependent communities may be inevitable in the fringes of the city, but not in a mixed urban neighbourhood. Ryebank Fields presents an opportunity to set new standards for the more equitable, sustainable communities which Manchester urgently needs. It is also an ideal site to test ideas like car-sharing and co-housing, models which we need to adopt to create more liveable cities for the future. This will also help minimise the impacts on the mature trees and environmental value of the site. If the land is to be lost as a public space, I would like to see a socially mixed, affordable, low car, low carbon community, which contributes positively to Chorlton and Manchester, without clogging up our streets and pushing up house prices still further.
I am convinced that community-led developments can be a significant contributor to the delivery of quality housing in this country and, in particular, of homes that meet the needs and aspirations of the local communities that will live in and alongside them. By working collaboratively with landowners, communities, stakeholders and local councils, community-led housing has the potential to create sustainable, socially inclusive, innovative and beautifully designed places that are also commercially viable and professionally delivered. This type of community-focused approach is what I would like to see realised at Ryebank Fields and I hope that it will inspire residents to participate in and support the continuing development of their community.
I have a long held professional and personal interest in sustainable building and modern methods of construction and believe that these principles should be at the heart of the development of Ryebank Fields. I am a Chartered Environmentalist with the Society of the Environment (SocEnv) and a Full Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) with over 13 years’ experience in environmental consultancy, sustainability and development planning. I currently own and operate Pea Green, an independent environmental planning practice advising land and property developers on sustainable and environmental best practice. I am also a Chorlton resident, on the doorstep of Ryebank Fields.
I am concerned about the affordability of housing in Chorlton, particularly for young families, and want to ensure that any development on Ryebank Fields is socially useful. I also feel that Manchester lags behind other large UK cities in terms of promoting eco-housing and a green approach to infrastructure, and am keen to see a scheme that maximises green space and enhances biodiversity. In earlier life, I qualified as a youth and community worker and nurse, and worked in these roles before becoming a health and social care researcher at Manchester University, where I focused on health-related social isues and the delivery of community services. I have lived in Chorlton for more than 30 years, and am a Ramblers member with responsibilities for local footpaths and a love of the natural environment
I believe that we need to create more opportunities for people to influence and shape their communities. Ryebank Fields could be a fantastic opportunity, in the face of a housing shortage and affordability crisis, to imagine a different future for the sorts of homes and places where we would like to live.
I have lived in Chorlton for over 30 years and bring a wide experience of working in housing and in the voluntary sector in and around Greater Manchester. I’ve been CEO of a housing charity, been on the Board of a local housing association and currently chair an alliance of voluntary organisations in a neighbouring borough, who take a strengths-based approach in working with people who need some support in their lives. I more recently worked on a NHS funded project exploring how social movements can address loneliness and social isolation. I’m a member of a small local cohousing company in Chorlton where a group of us, aged over 60, have been looking at ways of taking more control over where and how we live in the future.
Using our strengths and passions, I’m hopeful that the Chorlton Community Led Housing Group, with others, can take forward ideas which will help protect the environment at the same time building much needed homes for people who want to stay in their local community.