Streets across the city will be cleared of disused items which look scruffy and make areas feel unsafe under a project funded by a £14.5m airport windfall.
Items such as broken or damaged street signs, benches and unused planters are to be removed from streets in north and east Manchester as part of the scheme, paid for by Manchester City Council’s clean city fund. If successful, the project may go on to be extended across the rest of the city.
The project will also pay for the removal of fencing and trimming back of overgrown bushes and trees which can reduce visibility and make residents feel intimidated about walking through some areas near their own homes.
As well as complaining that these items make their streets look scruffy, residents have also pointed out that unused planters attract people to drop litter, or even to flytip large amounts of waste, in or around them.
Removing the disused items will also mean City Council street cleaners or ground maintenance crews will be able keep pavements and pieces of open land cleaner, as they block sweepers from getting down pavements.
There are thought to be around 100 items which need to be removed in the area, including many which are several decades old. Wherever possible, any metal items removed as part of the project will be recycled.
Richard Searle, chairman of the Bay Tree Residents’ Association in Harpurhey, which along with other residents will be volunteering on the project, said: "This will help with our continued work of making the neighbourhood greener, boosting wildlife and bringing back areas of woodland so they can be enjoyed by local people, not just used for fly tipping."
Meanwhile, the fund will also enable youngsters from a primary school to work with residents, encouraging them to take responsibility for their neighbourhood by keeping it clean.
Manley Park Primary School in Whalley Range will run the little hands make big changes scheme, which includes organising litter picks, growing edible food and improving the school’s recycling facilities.
The project will aim to recruit other members of the community to join in these activities, encouraging adult residents to keep their streets clean by not dropping litter and using their recycling bins properly.
While it will start off by dealing with the area immediately around the school, the scheme will later be extended to other parts of Whalley Range and Chorlton.
Chris Charnock, a teacher at the school who will be leading the project, said: "This is about developing children as citizens, ensuring that they have a positive future and a real awareness of the importance of not littering and taking care of the community in which they live. We’re hoping that local people will take an interest in the project when they see the children getting involved."
These two projects have cost just over £250,000 and more schemes are now being developed, with officers working with residents on a large number of ideas aimed at cleaning areas of the city.
The City Council is now asking for more ideas from residents about how the money can be spent between now and 2016.
The council received the extra airport dividend this financial year as a one off, largely due to Manchester Airport Holdings Ltd’s purchase of Stansted Airport.
The money cannot be spent on projects which would create ongoing costs, such as hiring extra staff or supporting existing facilities, but must go to one-off investments which would make a lasting difference to improve the quality of the environment.
Cllr Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council’s deputy leader, said: "Disused and broken items such as benches, signs and planters sadly build up over the years and not only make areas look messy, they can attract flytipping and other kinds of criminal activity, and so this project will make a big difference to streets across large areas of the city.
"We have received hundreds of suggestions from members of the public and our officers are now working on new schemes which will be announced over the next few months, but we want residents to continue sending in ideas that will help to make the city a green, sustainable place to live."
Residents are being invited to visit www.manchester.gov.uk/cleancity with their ideas about how to make Manchester greener and also to 'like' and share their thoughts or offer their help to the current approved projects.