Groundwork were responsible for transforming a derelict site in Old Trafford, Manchester, into an accessible recreational space of approximately 900m2 for the community and local school which incorporated locally sourced environmentally sustainable materials. The project had to contribute to the creation of a ‘cleaner, safer, greener space’ and the scheme’s key innovations relate to sustainability. A detailed brief came out of initial consultation with the numerous clients and stakeholders, including the local school, residents and the landowner, Trafford Council. Groundwork produced the sketch and detailed designs for the project, which was intended to demonstrate that modern design has an important role in community spaces, sustainability and climate change mitigation.
To achieve the project brief, the Landscape Architect was part of a team that included an LI professional member and a community involvement officer. Together they worked with the clients – local residents, the school and the landowner – over a 6 month period to develop a design. The community’s support and enthusiasm for the scheme persuaded the landowner to offer the Landscape Architect free range in the use of materials normally perceived as too risky in an urban context. A number of residents committed to locking up the garden every night to protect it from vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The residents also agreed to a shared maintenance contract where they would care for the shrubs and herbaceous material while the council would cut the grass and empty the bins. After receiving a ground-breaking mandate by the community to use sustainable materials, the Landscape Architect created a layout that was equally innovative, proving that modern design has a place in community spaces. Straight lines were used to align important views to the school’s façade and to connect the garden to the outside street context. The concept of ‘free play’ was promoted and all footpaths are DDA compliant.
Approximate Map Location
Trafford Council, Seymour Park Primary School, residents of Old Trafford
|Type of scheme|
Parks and gardens
Winner 2007 LI Awards Design under 1ha; featured case study in the LI's climate change policy position statement 2008
The transformation of a disused site into an innovative and accessible recreational space for a diverse local community; provision of a pleasant access route between the school and their nearby playing field; engagement of the local community to ensure the long term success of the garden, and use of environmentally sustainable and local materials, and local labour and expertise wherever possible.
CDM coordinator: Richard Clark,
Groundwork Manchester, Salford & Trafford
Safer Stronger Communities Fund for Old Trafford
Pupils from the school witnessed poplar trees in adjacent Seymour Park being felled and then processed into items for the garden like the pergola, planters and log benches. The boardwalk decking is reclaimed from a bridge in Salford as sourced by Timber R
TRIM (Timber Recycling in Manchester) Charcon Streetlife Timberplay Landlife Wildflowers Fairfield Materials Management
A rainwater harvesting system carries water from the adjacent school’s roof into the garden via a large container and underground pipe without the use of a pump or electricity, allowing residents and the school to water the plants with ease. Fruit and vegetable waste from a social enterprise at nearby New Smithfield Market in East Manchester provides a coarse compost for mulch.
The garden has compost bins, and some of the first recycling bins of their kind in Trafford. The council agreed to empty them on a regular basis beyond the remit of their standard contract.
County Landscape Development Frankland Tree Services Chris Marsh Nick Clegg Stephen Dee