There is a long history of flooding in Salford with the most severe event occurring in 1946 when over 5000 properties were flooded. The new scheme was in response to the ongoing flood risk and difficulty in regenerating a deprived urban area. The main aim was to construct a large flood storage basin to protect against a 1 in 100 year flood. This works in combination with the existing flood defences and will better protect 1,900 homes and businesses. The construction works started in March 2015 and the basin, which has a capacity of 650,000,000 litres, became operational in December 2016. The site was open to the public in early 2018.
There was a lot of public interest in the site with a big aspiration to create an asset for the local community. From the outset a good relationship was formed with the local community with a steering group set up to help guide the design. Specialists were brought in to work with the group, listen to their suggestions, and come up with a design for an urban wetland. The wetland forms the heart of the site and is surrounded by a network of paths which provide good opportunities to observe wildlife. A large mound, named Harry’s Hill, sits next to the wetland and from the top there are great views over the site and beyond to the Salford skyline.
Our lasting memory of the scheme has been the strong community spirit and dedication of the community groups who worked tirelessly to deliver a great scheme.
Luke Blazejewski from the University of Salford, has made a film about the scheme, which can be viewed below. On his website (https://www.lukeblazejewski.com), there are a number of other environment – related films which you may find useful and interesting.