Back in 2009, Salford Council was talking about £3million to realise its vision for The Meadows, "a superb natural asset that will complement the transformational proposals for Chapel Street and the Crescent, and the University of Salford's masterplan for its estate".
The Meadows Masterplan included visions of grazing animals, a visitor centre and two footbridges - one to the Salford University Campus, and one to The Crescent and Chapel Street - to create "a new gateway between Croal Irwell Regional Park, Salford's new Corporate Centre/Greengate, and Manchester City Centre".
Around £250,000 was to be set aside for "detailed design and technical assessments" alone, with (according to a Council report) The Meadows needing a budget in 2009/10 of well over £500,000.
The Meadows was seen as key to the "recognition of the role of green spaces in terms of enhancing economic growth"…in other words, to make the area more attractive for developers.
Three years on and we've no idea how much has actually been spent on The Meadows but there certainly ain't no visitor centre, animals or bridges – just a wild meadow, a board saying `Welcome to The Meadows' and planning permission in place on its boundary for a load of student flats.
Salford Rangers and Red Rose Forest are trying their best to make The Meadows come alive, with a family fun day and open air Tai Chi classes running recently. Now they are planning a sowing day on 19th July, to plant the Yellow Rattle plant which restricts grass growth and allows other species to thrive.
They are asking for community volunteers to help initially gather seeds up at Blackleach Country Park and then sow them at The Meadow.
Given that the initial plan for The Meadows was about `economic growth' and enhancing the experience of Chapel Street and the University of Salford, we do hope that Chapel Street developers and speculators, students and University Estates managers will also be asked to join in…
Perhaps someone from Salford Council might turn up too and explain where all the money's gone...
Yellow Rattle Day
Meet at Blackleach Country Park, Walkden on Thursday, July 19th.
Lunch is provided.
To book a place or for further info call 0161 793 4219
or email email@example.com.