Manchester’s sky park at Castlefield Viaduct is to remain open with visitors welcome until autumn 2024.
The good news comes after the National Trust was granted an extension by Manchester City Council to keep the locally loved garden, which opened last summer.
The temporary green space was created on a disused railway viaduct built in 1892, but which has stood empty since 1969, and has brought a little slice of nature and solitude to the bustling city centre.
The announcement has been made almost one year before the project – made possible by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and gifts from individuals and organisations – reaches its first birthday on July 30th.
The conservation charity has also announced the appointment of landscape architects from Manchester based design practice, BDP, which will work with the Trust, partners and the community to develop bigger, bolder plans for the next phase of the viaduct, for which funding is still required.
The urban gardens, created from a mix of National Trust planting and plots designed and grown by community organisations, will remain as temporary ‘installations’.
Meanwhile the National Trust will continue to gather feedback and fundraise in efforts to create a permanent feature on the 330-metre steel, Victorian-era, Grade II listed viaduct.
The garden’s season displays seek to inspire its visitors to leave their feedback on how they’d like to see the space used in the future via feedback surveys.
Duncan Laird, Head of Urban Places at the National Trust says: “We’re delighted to be staying open for another year so we can continue to provide visitors with moments of joy and build momentum to create a future for this fantastic place.
“As we enter this next phase of the project, we can start to truly understand what this space could become – and how it can serve future generations.
“This won’t happen without big investment however, and we hope BDP can help us create a vision for this space to reflect ambitious plans for the city that investors want to be part of.
“Bringing nature and beauty to the centre of urban areas is something that we are passionate about. We want to bring more nature, beauty and history to urban areas as we know the benefits it can bring in terms of health, wellbeing, community and placemaking.”
James Millington, Landscape Architect Director at BDP, commented: “Castlefield Viaduct is a place like no other and it is fantastic to be working with the National Trust to bring to life a vision for the space that reaches far beyond its perceived potential.
“Over the last year, the viaduct has become a genuine city detour that inspires a diverse range of people and ages with a range of ideas, installations, and artistic interventions.
“It is a landscape-led approach that creates a new city garden, breathes new life into the lungs of the city and gives us the opportunity to enhance the space for nature and beauty.
“As we develop our concepts further with the community, we know it will become a place which drives and reflects the success of Greater Manchester.
“We will be supercharging the attributes of this great piece of Victorian engineering to create a vibrant, people-focused experience that leaves a smile on the face of all who visit.”
Wednesday At One Talks
Wednesday At One Talks will give visitors a chance to hear from experts talk about a particular aspect of the viaduct project and the National Trust’s work.
Sundowners see a whole host of evening performances that showcase local talent while the sun goes down over Manchester.
Family trails will run during the summer holidays with family friendly activities planned before the kids go back to school.
Entry onto the viaduct remains free. Book for a guided visit between 11am to 12.30pm every day (except Wednesdays), to find out more about its history.
To explore the garden at your own pace and without any need to book, just head over to it every afternoon from 1–3.30pm.
Police issue update in search for missing grandad, 81, from Oldham
Officers are supporting Ronald’s family while they continue the search
Greater Manchester Police have issued an update on Ronald Webster, 81, who went missing from Oldham last Thursday.
The news comes after Ronald’s grandchildren made an appeal to the public asking for help to find their beloved grandad and to ‘keep him safe’ until they, or the police can get there.
It was believed the last sightings of the grandfather-of-five were at 10.52 am on Walkers Road, in Limeside, Oldham and again at 3.45pm as he got off the 184 at Huddersfield Bus Station, on September 14th.
However, police have confirmed a new sighting of the pensioner, known by loved ones as ‘Ronnie’, just minutes later at 3.53pm, as he entered Huddersfield Train Station.
It is believed he may have links to the Bridlington, Whitby and Scarborough areas, although officers have said they are ‘not ruling out that he may have travelled elsewhere’.
Ronald’s family shared that he had recently undergone a triple heart bypass and had medication for his heart and for epilepsy, but that he had not taken any of his medicine with him when he went missing.
His grandchildren said that this is the first time he has not come home.
At the time of his disappearance, Ronald was wearing a blue and black coat with grey trousers.
He is described as 4’11 ins with grey hair around the sides, bald on top, and uses a walking stick.
In an update, a spokesperson for GMP said: “Since Ronald was reported missing, officers have been working closely with his loved ones to understand where he might have travelled to.
“It is believed he may have links to Bridlington, Whitby and Scarborough, although officers are not ruling out that he may have travelled elsewhere.
“Whilst officers are continuing to review CCTV from locations of significance, they are also working with colleagues from other forces to ensure everyone is on the lookout for Ronald so we can help him return to his family safe and well.”
Anyone with information about Ronald’s whereabouts should call 101 quoting 1013 of 16/09/2023.
H&M Home is opening in Manchester city centre this weekend
The first 100 members in the queue will receive a free H&M Home gift
At long last, H&M Home is opening up a store selling its interiors range in the city centre.
Shoppers were delighted when the Swedish fashion retailer, full name Hennes & Mauritz, decided to branch out and launch a homeware range in 2009, following in the footsteps of the likes of Zara.
At first, it teased us with a small concession in Selfridges at the Trafford Centre back in 2015, where shoppers and home decor enthusiasts could find affordable pieces that looked as good as those sitting on their Pinterest boards.
But then it closed for a long while and for many shoppers, it left a void that couldn’t be filled, with its home stuff only being available online. No more could you wander into the shop, pick up cute pieces and admire stylish bedding sets to decorate your home.
Recently, it opened up a H&M Home shop within the Trafford Centre which sells everything from cushions to lamps, candles, vases, bed linen, towels, dried flowers and a whole selection of homeware accessories you didn’t even know you needed.
And now a H&M Home shop is coming to the city centre too.
The retailer recently closed the majority of its Market Street store while it undergoes a refurbishment, leaving just a small section open for fans to continue to shop at the high street favourite.
This week, H&M announced that the small section will now become its H&M Home showroom so decor lovers can ‘scratch that interior design itch’ once again.
In a newsletter distributed to its members, H&M said: “You may have seen that our Market Street store is temporarily closed whilst we work on our new look and feel.
“But from 23rd September, you can head down to our H&M HOME showroom in the same location where you can scratch that interior design itch by shopping our latest home decor collection.
“The first 100 members in the queue will receive a free H&M HOME gift and an exclusive offer for the full launch in winter 2023.
“There’s even some exciting new AR technology to help you visualise your living space and enhance your shopping experience just that little bit more.
“If you’re looking for the rest of our assortment, you can find your nearest store in the Trafford Centre and we’re always open at hm.com.”
The H&M Home showroom located on Market Street will open this Saturday, September 23rd. The shop will fully launch in winter this year.
Grandkids of 81-year-old man missing since last Thursday urge public to help find him
‘We love you. We miss you. Grandma needs you, we all need you’
The grandchildren of a missing elderly man from Oldham have urged the public to help search for him.
Ronald Webster, known as ‘Ronnie’ by loved ones, has been missing since last Thursday, September 14th.
The 81-year-old grandfather-of-five was last seen at around 10.52am on Walkers Road, in Limeside, Oldham before getting off the 184 bus at 3.45pm at Huddersfield Bus Station.
Ronald is described as a white male of small build, around 4’11″, grey hair and uses a walking stick. At the time of his disappearance he was wearing a black and blue coat with grey trousers.
Ronnie’s granddaughter Paige Tattersall has been spreading the word of her grandfather’s disappearance across social media in an effort to find him.
She told ITV News: “We’re just getting desperate. Grandma’s absolutely beside herself. She keeps trying to get her shoes on to go find him because she doesn’t understand why he’s not come home.”
Ronnie and his wife, Concepta, have been married for 57 years.
His eldest grandson Kieran Rowlett said he was ‘really, really worried’ about him and that this was the first time he’s gone missing.
“He’s gone for a bit of a wander before, but he has gone and come back,” he said.
“Mentally, he’s brilliant, he can tell you stories from all over the show, but he’s just unable to get about like he used to.”
Ronnie has recently undergone a triple heart bypass, and has prescription medication for that as well as for epilepsy. When he disappeared last week, he did not take any of his medication with him.
Local communities have been showing their support for the family by sharing social media posts and putting up posters around their areas.
Paige said: “People have been so kind. Absolute strangers are approaching us online. They’re out on the streets putting up posters… We appreciate that so much. It only takes one pair of eyes to see him.”
Another of Ronnie’s grandchildren has travelled to Huddersfield where he is leading the search for him.
Ronnie’s family have asked for anyone who knows where he is to look after him until help arrives.
Kieran said: “If anyone does see him, don’t let him leave your sight. Keep him safe, and either the police or us will get there.”
When asked what she would like to say to her grandfather, Paige said: “We love you. We miss you. Grandma needs you, we all need you. If you can just get to a phone, if you can just ring 101 and someone will come and get you.”
Greater Manchester Police have issued a photo of Ronnie captured on CCTV as he was leaving the bus. His family have also released pictures of him in a bid to help bring him home.
Anyone who has seen Ronnie or who may know of his whereabouts is urged to contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 quoting 1013 of 16/09/2023.