Action plan launched to preserve and protect character of Manchester’s Gay Village 

  • Monday 25 March 2024

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Image of Canal Street in the Gay Village

For decades, Manchester’s Gay Village has been an essential safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have made this city their home.

It should be celebrated for the role it has played over the years, from being a haven and sanctuary from discrimination to a place of protest, to being the focal point of Pride celebrations in Manchester. 

Therefore, an action plan has been created which looks to address how the character and spirit of the Village can be maintained and preserved, as well as what improvements can be made to ensure the needs of the LGBTQ+ community are at the heart of anything which takes place in the Village. 

Globally recognised, the Village draws tens of thousands of visitors every year and is truly on the map as one of the most welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. This is something the Council is intensely proud of, and a reputation it hopes to enhance and promote for years to come. 

As part of the Council’s commitment to the Gay Village, a series of listening exercises have taken place so that a better understanding can be gained about what the priorities, desires and needs are for the community who live in, work and visit it. 

A range of proposals have already been identified to enhance the area both in the short and long term.

They include: 

  • The development of a neighbourhood management plan to bring improvements to the physical environment. 

  • Replacement of damaged trees in Canal Street 

  • Conduct a CCTV audit to ensure coverage is being met, and enhance relationships with GMP to ensure resident and business safety 

  • Identify new opportunities for street art and murals 

  • Develop a social history and heritage trail for the Village 

It is important to note that collaboration has been at the centre of the development of this action plan and will remain so during the roll out of any changes. Action groups will be utilised to engage with key stakeholders and encourage participation. 

Click here to learn more about the action plan and regeneration.

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “The Gay Village is not only an incredibly vibrant, welcoming and safe space for our LGBTQ+ community but is a living monument to the progress made by those who fought against bigotry and hatred, and those who dedicated their entire lives to building a more tolerant and inclusive society. 

“I am immensely proud of the Village and as leader want to make sure that its character and history is preserved for generations to come. Through the launch of this action plan, we hope to harness the energy of this community alongside other stakeholders and partners in the community, shaping any future development so that it fits the needs of the people who live, work and spend time in the Village.” 

Hatch’s Urban Solutions team, based in Manchester, were commissioned by Manchester City Council to prepare the Action Plan, building on their previous Strategic Review and engagement work in 2019-2020. 

David Watson, Associate Director of Hatch, said: “Our team recognizes how important the area is to the LGBTQ+ community, and to the part the neighbourhood has played in shaping Manchester’s modern identity. We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders over the two commissions, to listen and learn, ensuring we heard from a wide range of voices and views regarding the Gay Village and to inform the development of the Action Plan 

“The Action Plan draws on these valuable insights and outlines a clear framework of needs and opportunities within the area, with a focus on three key themes – Management, Diversification and Activation – with Actions developed under each theme. The Action Plan represents a coordinated approach to outlining those priority interventions and activities that are most needed for the Gay Village and its community and stakeholders. It also outlines how the Council and key stakeholders will work collaboratively to deliver them."

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