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How a groundbreaking new £1.3 million park will help prevent flooding in one corner of Manchester

Posted: 10/03/20

A groundbreaking new park which will re-use rainwater and help reduce flooding is taking shape in east Manchester. Dubbed ‘the park that drinks water’ or ‘sponge park’, the £1.3 milliion project represents “a whole new way of thinking” about rainwater and the risk of flooding bosses say. The un named park is due to open this spring.

The size of three football pithces, it is being built on land bounded bounded by Kniveton Road, Bennett Street and Clowes Street opposite the TV production hub Space Studios in West Gorton. It is the “last part of the regeneration jigsaw” in the area which has seen more than £100m investment since 2010 say council chiefs. As well as being an area of green space, with a play area for kids, the park is specifically designed to manage the flow of rainwater into the existing drainage system.

Design features such as swales, wide shallow trenches planted with aquatic vegetation, will help capture excess water from nearby roads and slow the rate at which it flows into drains. Inside there will also be ‘rain gardens’ containing water-loving plants such as native alder trees, yellow flag iris, royal fern and featherleaf rogerseria and which can handle being waterlogged. Tree pits will also capture and store rainwater and allow it to be gradually absorbed into the root systems of specially planted trees. A woodland play area and seating will be installed, as well as a place for locals to grow their own plants and flowers.

The £1.3 million for the EU funded project has come from the £11 million euros Grow Green project  which began in 2017 and is designed for projects which come up with innovative solutions for dealing with climate change. It’s a partnership between Manchester City Council, the Guinness Partnership Ltd, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the University of Manchester who will be carrying out key research at the facility.

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