Withington Building

BACKGROUND

Withington Green is a roughly triangular piece of land at the junction of Wilmslow Road and Cotton Lane. It is a valued and important civic public space and one of only two sites in Withington with a recorded history of over 200 years (the other being The Red Lion). It is the only piece of green land close to Withington village as an amenity, it is a very pleasant space particularly in the summer, when it’s used and enjoyed by local residents, patients and staff from The Christie Hospital, who sit, socialise and relax on the seats and grass.

OUR ROLE

idverde was appointed by The University of Manchester to undertake the redevelopment of the existing Withington Green open space located outside the Manchester Cancer Research Centre into a formal communal/meeting space.

Working in close partnership with the lead architect Gillespies; a detailed and extensive overhaul of the existing landscape environment was undertaken. Works consisted of:

  • Site clearance – The whole site was cleared so there was nothing left of the original site. This involved removing the old pavement, tarmac, kerbs, walls, vegetation including grass and shrubs. This waste was then stock piled and loaded on to wagons
  • Earthworks including ground remodelling – The area was re-landscaped to form new contours. Levelling and compacting of subgrades was also carried out for paving areas, kerb lines and trenches for wall footings. Excavation was required for footing to the granite walls.
  • Construction of new footpaths – Running alongside the site requiring traffic management measures
  • Installation of granite feature walling/seating units, granite mowing trims, slot drainage and clear stone, inspection chamber lids, block paving and kerbs to the highways, feature area and planting areas
  • Street furniture installation – The main street furniture is granite. Other items include cycle stands, bollards, a recycle unit and Benkert benches. The granite walls form a continuous bench around the path.

Once the hard landscaping works had been completed, our experienced horticulture team carried out the soft landscaping works. These works included spreading topsoil to all planting areas throughout the site, raking, compacting and mulching in readiness for planting, new turf was laid, tree pits were dug, and new shrubs and trees were planted.

CHALLENGES

Due to the high profile of Withington Green the project involved a lot of public consultation leading up to the redevelopment and during the works as there were a number of people against some aspects of the redevelopment. This required us to work sensitively whilst the consultations were carried out.

The project involved importing 120 pieces of granite from China and to manage getting this to site with minimal disruption to the surrounding area, our team worked over weekends and evenings to bring the granite from the storage area onto the site.

Withington Green is situated on the main highway so Heras fencing was used to fence off the works from the public and ensure public safety, whilst access remained around all borders of the site for the public to use during the works.

As the local media were going to be televising the opening of the Christie Hospital, this project had an immovable deadline for completion so any delays caused by unforeseen project issues had to be mitigated efficiently to ensure that this was met.