Planting begins at Castlefield Viaduct as £1.8m ‘urban sky park’ set to open next month
A section of the viaduct will be transformed into an ‘urban oasis’ overlooking the city centre
Castlefield Viaduct is springing to life as planting gets underway ahead of the urban sky park’s launch next month.
National Trust gardening specialists and apprentices are busy planting 3,000 trees, flowers and shrubs on the historic viaduct as part of plans to bring an innovative green space to Castlefield.
The selected plants have taken inspiration from what had already started to grow on the viaduct with shrubs, ferns and grasses providing a frame for more colourful seasonal planting.
Sections of the planting will mimic the diamond shape of the viaduct’s criss-cross steelwork, achieved through diagonal blossom hedges and other plants.
The urban park – billed to be Manchester’s very own High Line – was originally poised to open on July 3rd, but bosses at the National Trust have now said ‘unexpected delays’ has pushed the opening back to ‘no later than the end of July’.
Free tickets to the park will be made available to the public later this month, they added.
A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “Due to an unexpected delay to work on Castlefield Viaduct we are unable to open to visitors on July 3rd as planned.
“Work is happening behind the scenes to get the site ready to welcome visitors and we’re planning to open no later than the end of July.
“We’ll be sharing more updates soon and contacting members of the public who have booked a free ticket to let them know about these changes.”
The pilot phase of the project has cost £1.8 million in public donations, and will see a green space stretching half way across the elevation of the viaduct, with trees, flowers and shrubs planted to attract wildlife to the once industrial structure.
A section of the viaduct will be left untouched to demonstrate how nature has reclaimed the space since the site was closed, and will boast several new features including installations, a community space to hold events and other native planting.
The Science and Industry Museum are also planning their own garden with heritage plants, trees and flowers that will be seen from the viaduct. There, they will host themed special talks and events for all ages across the summer and autumn.
The park will be completely free to enter, and opinions and feedback from visitors will be welcomed in order to determine its long term plans.
You can find out more about the project over on the National Trust website.
Built in 1892, the historic Grade II listed structure used to be used to carry heavy rail traffic in and out of Manchester Central, but it closed down in 1969 and has sat derelict and unused ever since.
Police seize 17 dogs after six-year-old girl attacked while playing in the street
The young girl is now in a stable condition in hospital after the horrific attack
Police have seized 17 dogs after a six-year-old girl was mauled in a brutal attack while playing in the street, in Greater Manchester.
The young girl is now in a stable condition in hospital after the horrific attack on Sunday at an address on Ackers Lane, Carrington. Greater Manchester Police say three people arrested on suspicion of owning a dangerous dog have now been bailed.
The force said it was called to the address around 2.40pm and immediately seized four dogs. Four more adult dogs and nine puppies have since been taken away. Officers also said a van had been found in south Manchester as part of the investigation and is currently being examined.
A police spokesperson said: “Shortly before 2.40pm [on Sunday] police were called to a report of a child who had suffered injuries caused by dogs at an address on Ackers Lane, Carrington.
“The girl was taken to hospital and is in a stable condition. Four dogs were seized by officers and have been taken away by specialist partners. Three people have been arrested on suspicion of owning a dangerous dog.”
GMP has since referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the incident. Detective Inspector Matthew Dixon, of GMP’s Trafford district, said: “This is a fluid investigation and so far we have recovered 17 dogs and made three arrests, as well as a vehicle of interest.
“However, the investigation is very much ongoing and anyone with information should contact police quoting log 1612-26/03/23.”
The breed of dog has not yet been confirmed, however it has been reported that neighbours noticed a number of American Pit Bull Terriers in the area.
Man hid from police on rooftop after cannabis farm found at property
He stood on the ledge of a skylight to evade the authorities
A man was found to be hiding from police on the roof of a property after maintaining a cannabis farm inside.
Etmond Lika, 32, of no fixed abode, appeared via a video link at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday March 28th, after pleading guilty to one count of being concerned in the production of cannabis.
Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, told the court that on February 24th this year, a locksmith was employed to change the front door lock at an address at Stanley Road, Kirkdale at approximately midday, when the discovery was made.
As reported by ITV’s Granada Reports, Mr Hopkins said: “He noticed what he thought was a cannabis installation at the property and called the police. He thought someone was inside.”
Later that afternoon, officers searched the large terraced house and found that across the six rooms inside was a whole cannabis growing installation of at least 200 plants — described as ‘plainly a sophisticated operation’.
The force found evidence that someone had been living there, such as food etc, and said there was ‘no doubt that was this defendant’. Lika attempted to evade police by climbing through a skylight and hiding on the roof of the property, but was eventually captured and arrested.
Mr Hopkins said: “Lika had been employed by somebody to manage or run this installation whether that was tending to the plants or whatever else was required.”
Lika was interviewed by police and initially denied being involved, but said he came to the UK via a boat across the channel, in September last year, in the hope of gaining better economic opportunities.
He said he paid 5,000 euros for that trip, but apart from those limited facts, Mr Hopkins said: “the Crown frankly knows nothing else about this defendant”.
He added: “Lika must have been motivated by some significant financial advantage and must have understood what was going on in the house.” Lika has no previous convictions in the UK, and a foreign antecedent record was requested but none was provided.
Olivia Beesley, defending, said her client was offered £100 a day to live at the property, and left Albania for economic reasons. She said: “He wants to work but he knows now that he should have done so through proper channels.
“He simply wishes to receive his sentence with grace and understands he must be punished for this kind of offending.” She said he requested an English Language course while in custody, and was homeless for a week prior to committing this offence.
Ms Beesley also detailed that Lika said he had no previous convictions in Albania. Judge Brian Cummings KC said: “There are lots of January 1st birthdays on this class of case.
“You entered this country illegally, little or nothing is known about you. I note what was said in the case summary by reference to your police interview, and I quote: ‘It was difficult to get an answer out of him, he continuously changed his account throughout the interview’.
“A question mark always raises in my mind when somebody has a January 1st birthday, it seems to be more often than is statistically probable in cases of this class.”
Lika was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment, and forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and paraphernalia was ordered. A victim surcharge applies.
Paul O’Grady’s heartbreaking last post before his ‘unexpected’ death
‘It’s awful when you lose a pet’
Paul O’Grady shared heartbreaking news in his final social media post about his pet just days before his sudden death.
In the Instagram post, created just two weeks before his own death, the 67-year-old animal lover shared his heartbreak at the loss of his pet pig Tom Tom.
O’Grady, who passed away ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ on Tuesday March 28th, said on his social media page how he had returned home from ‘a week in Newcastle playing Miss Hannigan’ in the onstage production Annie to find Tom Tom had been ‘put to sleep’.
Posting a sweet video of the ‘cheeky’ animal, he said he had expected the news as Tom Tom had been diagnosed with a tumour. O’Grady said how ‘fond’ he was of his pet pig, and was mourning his loss.
In the Instagram post he wrote: “Got back from a week in Newcastle playing Miss Hannigan in Annie to find that Tom Tom, one of my pigs had been put to sleep. I knew it was coming as he’d been diagnosed with a tumour but even so it’s awful when you lose a pet.
“He was the cheekiest of the gang and one of the other pigs who was obviously very fond of him is now depressed and gone into mourning and there’s those who say that animals don’t have feelings.
“On a lighter note I’m thoroughly enjoying playing Hannigan again after so long especially with a truly amazing and lovely cast. Next stop Edinburgh. @anniemusicaluk #animals #pigs.”
O’Grady died on Tuesday evening, with his passing announced by his husband Andre Portasio. Best known for his persona of drag act Lily Savage, his wit and love for animals, the comedian became a national treasure loved by many.
He performed comedy acts, hosted Blankety Blank and Blind Date, as well as ITV’s For The Love Of Dogs – for which he won multiple awards. His celebrity game show, Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line Up was also a favourite.
O’Grady was open about his health issues in recent years after suffering two heart attacks and catching Covid-19 last year. Prior to his sad death, the TV and radio legend had been shocked by how badly Covid affected him and the lasting effects it had on him, leaving him unable to work for two months.
O’Grady is survived by his husband Andre, his daughter Sharon and two grandchildren. The cause of his death has yet to be confirmed.