Media City promotional photographs following construction, showing central piazza

BACKGROUND

Media City was designed to provide a purpose-built home for creative and digital businesses including (but not exclusively) the BBC. The first phase, spread over 36 acres, was completed in 2011 and there is the potential to use up to 200 acres of land for development over the next decade. idverde was employed in the creation of the first phase of Media City, providing extensive hard landscaping services to the project alongside soft landscaping works.

In recognition of the hard work and challenges involved in the Media City project, we were honoured to be awarded the Principal Award for a Hard Landscaping project over £1.5million and the overall BALI Grand Award in 2011. Since then, our landscaping teams have built a number of other elements throughout the site too and we continue to deliver grounds maintenance services on behalf of Peel Media Group, for which we have won a BALI National Award for Grounds Maintenance.

OUR ROLE

idverde (contracted as The Landscape Group)  was awarded the contract for the external works by Bovis Lend Lease in Salford Quays. Our works included the laying of 30,000 square meters of natural stone paving, the cladding of walls, steps, terraces and a footbridge over the Canal. The creation of the central piazza area saw the planting of large semi-mature trees and other general planting, together with the creation of resin bound footpaths, the installation of granite planters, lighting and the installation of surface water drainage. Individual pocket parks were created; these included ornamental planting, resin paths, lawns and dividing walls.

The developers and their subsequent tenants were keen that this long term development provided a social legacy in this previously deprived area of Salford. Idverde’s contribution to this was the recruitment, training and development of Landscape Apprentices during the project.

CHALLENGES

There were exceptionally high expectations surrounding this high profile development, as well as its sheer size and complexity. At any one time there would be in excess of 2,000 personnel working in and around the site. As building fit-outs were taking place after the hard landscaping elements had been installed, trying to protect the paving created several logistical and planning-based challenges. These were overcome by liaising with other contractors, forming close working relationships, and interfacing with other groups, including the builders of a new metro station which is adjacent to Media City.

We employed a dedicated Logistics Manager to coordinate all deliveries to and movements on the site. A large part of this project entailed the coordination of granite imports and planning ensuring that the right materials got to the right part of the site on a just-in-time basis. The materials arrived in Liverpool where they were transshipped onto the barges for its onward journey. Around three quarters of a million pieces of granite were delivered by barge along the Manchester Ship Canal. This was not only a low environmental and traffic impact delivery solution, but a fitting mode of transport for this development on land formerly owned by the Canal Company formed in 1885, a previous development that transformed the economic prosperity of Manchester as this one is set to do again.

Upon unloading, the Granite was logged and coded according to its eventual destination, stored and subsequently transported to each site zone, as required. The result of this hard work is a unique and modern, yet surprisingly green urban cityscape that is at the heart of this remarkable development. Media City is one of our most prominent private sector grounds maintenance projects and one that we take immense pride in at idverde, especially given our involvement in the creation of its external landscaping.