Last November, Trafford Council gave the go-ahead for Rowlinson Developments to build two ugly blocks of unaffordable flats on Peel Holdings' land at the site of the former Pomona Docks (see here). Conservationists have been fighting ever since for the rest of the huge area to be turned into a kind of Eden of the north.
Now, thirty of them have got together to produce a book, Fruitful Futures - Imagining Pomona, that makes the case for the business, science and political communities to work together to build a world class urban nature reserve.
The site, across the Ship Canal from Ordsall, is named after the goddess Pomona, and originally housed the Pomona Pleasure Gardens, complete with a `people's palace', the largest hall of its kind in the country. Later, much of the land became Pomona Docks, before being filled in and left abandoned when they closed (for full history – click here).
Now, nature has reclaimed the land and ecologists have recorded more than a hundred bird species and a hundred and fifty flora species during years of professional standard observations.
The area, right next to Manchester city centre and MediaCityUK, now has Kingfishers, Northern Lapwings, Little Ringed Plovers, Skylarks, nesting Sand Martins and Falcons amongst its inhabitants, while rare flowers such as Cornflowers and Bee Orchids have sprung up. As have a whole posse of activists, ecologists and conservationists try to save what's left of the area after the Peel bulldozers have finished.
Fruitful Futures, part of the LIFE (Living in Future Ecologies) project, includes chapters by Skyliner journalist Hayley Flynn, Nature In Salford presenter Luke Blazejewski, global conservationist Stuart Marsden, film-maker George Haydock, artist Liz Ackerley, ecologist Zoe Barrett, heritage activist Adam Prince and project organiser, Fabrizio.
"It is great to see the Pomona community working together in such a progressive and harmonious manner to create this book, a positive document that records alternative views of looking at the urban environment" says James Walsh, Chairman of the Manchester Ship Canal World Heritage Group "A beacon of social justice working in the interests of the people could see Pomona be the centrepiece of Manchester National Park City, Manchester Ship Canal World Heritage Site, Northern Greenhouse and Green Atlantic Gateway."
Fruitful Futures - Imagining Pomona
Tuesday 18th October 4:30pm-6:30pm
The Pilcrow Pub, Sadler's Yard
Redfern Street, Manchester M4 4AH
The event is free and open to everyone.
Copies of the book are £15 – "A limited edition artists' book, created with eco-ethical materials and printed with an experimental, three-colour riso process (commonly applied in the making of radical, activist material). With variations in ink aesthetic, each copy is beautifully unique" state the publishers, Gaia Project with Manchester Metropolitan University. For more details see here.
See also the Life Salon: Fruitful Futures Facebook event page for more details of the book launch – click here