Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & culture Castlefield Conservation Area

Control of development

Castlefield, Britain's first Urban Heritage Park, is the place where industrial innovation occurred, particularly in the area of transport.

Events are now organized which require large areas of paving together with new buildings such as a grandstand with a stressed-fabric, tent-like roof. The purpose of a conservation area is to preserve, and even enhance, the character of those elements which are of historic significance, but this does not rule out further development provided that it respects the character of the area. There is already some commercial property in Castlefield and there is room for more.

Present uses in Castlefield are mainly directed towards tourism and recreation, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. However, this does not preclude further uses being introduced provided they are appropriate. For instance, in recent years a number of warehouses have been converted to residential use.

Ideally, new development should incorporate a mix of uses. In places where existing buildings have narrow frontages, it is important that new proposals have similar dimensions. This will ensure that a vertical rhythm in the 'street wall' is maintained when viewed obliquely. The height and scale, the colour, form, massing and materials of new buildings should relate to the existing high-quality structures and complement them. This policy still leaves scope for innovation, provided that new proposals enhance the area.

The extreme diversity of form and style in Castlefield's existing structures makes it permissible for designers to use their imaginations freely. Where buildings are arranged along a street, new structures should follow the street frontage and no attempt should be made to iron out 'anomalies', such as a slight bend in the street.

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