There is a growing public campaign to Save Pomona from the grasp of developer Peel Holdings which wants to concrete over the urban green space and former docks to build ten and eleven storey blocks of 164 flats.
The site is officially in Trafford but is just across the Manchester Ship Canal from Ordsall in Salford and many local people are getting involved in the fight to oppose Peel Holdings' scheme, with the date for objecting to the developer's plans now extended by Trafford Council until 13th August.
In the planning application to Trafford Council, Peel states that Pomona is "derelict brownfield land" but campaigners are out to prove that it's a green paradise, with 150 flora species recorded on the site, including 33 that are on the Site of Biological Importance Flora List (see here). Meanwhile, birds ranging from the protected Black Headed Gull to the Kingfisher, Sand Martin and Whitethroat have been spotted.
Campaigners are now trying to have the area recognized as a SBI (Special Biological Importance) site, with people being encouraged to report any wildlife sightings they feel are important at http://gmwildlife.org.uk/wildlife/records/
To underline the cause, there are two events this week. Thursday 13th August is Pomona Day, traditionally a day to celebrate Pomona, the Roman Goddess of Fruit, Agriculture and Abundance. To mark the occasion, the Manchester Ship Canal World Heritage Group is hosting an all-day wildlife recording session at Pomona from 11am. On Saturday, 15th August, the Save Pomona campaign is holding a Pomona Festival at the site with details to be announced nearer the time.
The campaign is aimed at persuading Trafford Council to block Peel Holdings application in favour of creating a `green lung' at the heart of the `regional centre' where Salford, Trafford and Manchester meet.
"Not only is Pomona historically and ecologically important but the site has actually demonstrated incredibly successful examples of the kind of uses we want to see for its future" says Hayley Flynn, City Curator of Manchester for National Trust, and a fervent advocate of the site "In Victorian Manchester the site was botanical gardens and tourist attractions. If we once had aspirations for the site such as this, why can't we be as ambitious with it now?"
James Walsh, of the Manchester Ship Canal World Heritage group, who has been tracking the both the area's industrial history and its wildlife and flora, explains: "There is very little on The Quays to even illustrate to people that it used to be a working docks where 5,000 men worked very, very hard. Many people visit Salford Quays and don't even know about the history of the site, and that needs to change."
And campaign member Ash van Dyck adds: "We are asking for sufficient time for public consultation, we want to look at what may be possible with this large and one off space and ask that there be nothing done yet. We want to consult with ecologists, landscape architects, wildlife and water experts, land management and clean energy professionals and lift every stone in an attempt to make the best use of Pomona for now and the future."
Pomona Day - Thursday August 13th
Pomona Festival - Saturday 15th August
More details on the Pomona Day Facebook page – click here
There's also lots of information about the site and the plans at the official Save Pomona website – click here
To sign the Save Pomona petition – click here
• Main photo shows a snap from a Salford Star article about Pomona `Ordsall Beach' starring Nigel Pivaro from issue 8 (page 31) of the printed magazine – for the PDF click here