Longsight Bowling Green

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Have your say

Our online public consultation is live from 5th July to 31st July to hear what you think about this proposal.

Dive into the local history

Francis and Walter liked their bowls. So much so that when news came that the neighbourhood was threatened, they decided to complete their game before joining the fray.

Francis won, 21 ends to 19, and went on to beat the Spanish Armada in the final. Dapper Francis Drake and wandering Walter Raleigh are emblems of Olde England. So is bowls. The gentle game has ever declining numbers of followers and fewer greens left to play on. The finger post in Crowcroft Park Longsight, points the way to the Bowls Pavilion, but the elevated Bowling Green itself is recently laid out and planted in a decorative walkway. The pavilion is boarded up and abandoned. Too few bowlers to warrant the upkeep.

Games and competitive sports come and go and disappear into the pages of the social histories on the shelves of local libraries. Not many boating lakes, pitch and putt and bowling greens left to tell tales of the long Edwardian summer. Nor, centuries earlier, the legendary green on Plymouth Hoe where Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh might have competed ends whilst waiting for the tide to turn before sailing into the Channel to defeat the Spanish Armada.

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Longsight confronted no such existential hostilities, though the streets have seen plenty of battles in the not-too-distant past.

In the early nineties gangs blighted the area, from Kirmanshulme Lane in the north to Matthews Lane in the south. Houses lost virtually all their value and some were abandoned. Manchester City Council recruited architects and planners, social agencies and community leaders to rethink the streets off North Moor Road. Traffic and parking were rethought, streets remodelled. Today the neighbourhood is more cohesive than it has been for half a century, thanks not least to Northmoor Community Association, operating from the hub in the splendid century old Co Op building on Northmoor Road.

If you travel south of city centre you know Longsight for one thing; most days, and especially Wednesday and Friday, you’ll crawl in traffic through Longsight, because Longsight Market is in full flow.

If the traffic jams drive you mad, pull over one day, and check it out. If you love colour, casual chaos, cheap avocados (4 for £1), kitchen ware, fabrics, braids, frippery of all sorts, mangos, watermelon, okra and Jerusalem artichokes, park up and get a touch of Mumbai without the long-haul flight. Make no mistake, Longsight Market is at the heart of this totally modern community. 

Long straight terraced streets of houses whose front doors open directly onto narrow pavements are what the popular image of the industrial North are built on.

Built for factory workers, small, uniform, with notably few corner shops and local pubs. Stockport Road, the A6 a walk away, bristled with shops, pubs and places of worship. These were essentially hostel streets, built by landlords, without amenity of any kind. Nevertheless, these houses are almost all fully occupied more than a century after they were built.

There have been modifications and multiple generations of occupancy and ownership across time, economic upheavals, wars in Europe, and a global population on the move. Few city neighbourhoods tell the stories of a century of social change quite like Longsight.

And there are a variety of new houses and apartments clustering around East Road and the Hammons Road Area that reflect the ambition to renew the neighbourhood and keep it fresh. Where there used to be brickworks and clay quarries to produce stock bricks to build the infinite worker terraces, is now the Nutsford Vale Park with a flourishing wildlife habitat. There are entrances on Mathews Lane and Bikerdike Avenue.

Longsight Cricket Club has serious history. Founded in 1848, the club played two matches against an Australian touring team in 1878. Longsight’s guest player in one of the matches was W.G. Grace.

They lost that one, and over time, Longsight lost their ground and great numbers of players and members. The clubhouse and bar still flourish, and to continue with their social and community programme, the club needs income. Their bowling green, offers a generous site for housing. And the new ambition for the site is that it adds to the variety of homes that have refreshed this neighbourhood, on the border with Levenshulme.

Looking across the site today it is easy to see why the mood of the area has lifted from the dark days. Kids play cricket in the streets, and mums and dads walk them to and from school. And they’ll make good use of a great market and cross Stockport Road to one of the best used modern libraries in the city. This is family territory. It’s also where students will stay on to work in the city, find their own homes and do what generations have been doing here for more than a century. They’ve been making good their homes and making good lives.    

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This is Longsight Bowling Green

Asset type

Asset type

Residential

Quantum

Quantum

20 homes

Status

Status

Consultation

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Super insulated homes

The new homes will benefit from very high levels of insulation to the walls, windows, floors and roofs. This will have a big carbon benefit compared to existing homes and will significantly reduce heating bills.

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Increasing biodiversity

A significant number of new trees will be planted as part of the development. Green spaces to the streets will be planted with a range of indigenous flowers and shrubs that support birds insects and bees.

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Preventing overheating

Homes will be designed to mitigate overheating through limiting unwanted heat gains and enabling thorough ventilation.

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Travel choices

The site is located in a highly sustainable locations with local shops, schools and other facilities all a short walk away.

Cycling and walking for lots of journeys should be an easy choice for the future residents. Secure bike storage will be included for all new homes, so each resident has space tostore a bike. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be provided with each new home, so any resident who owns a car can swap over to an electric vehicle when they want to.

Bowling provision

In early 2023 the members of Longsight Cricket & Social Club voted to sell their bowling green with the proceeds of the sale to be invested to keep the Social Club open and financially viable.

As part of our feasibility work for the propsed housing scheme, we commissioned Sports Planning Consultants to do a sports study to assess the bowling greens in the wider area and the demand from players. The report identified several bowling clubs are being impacted, just like Longsight, due to players retiring and the lack of new players coming into the sport.

The potential loss of a community bowling green is a significant matter for Manchester City Council. We have liaised with Manchester Active, a not-for-profit organisation established and overseen by Manchester City Council, focused on improving sports participation. They have asked us to investigate how we might improve the quality of Burnage Village bowling green to balance for the loss of the Longsight bowling green.

Burnage Village bowling club is relatively close to Longsight Cricket & Social Club and we understand some of the players from Longsight already play there. We would like to work with the bowling club to agree some funding from ourselves to contribute towards the maintenance and enhancement of the green.

Our proposals for Longsight Bowling Green

The purpose of this document is to set out the design principles, concepts and strategy behind the proposals.

The proposed development comprises a total of 20 family homes, with a mix of three and four bed houses.

Have your say

We’re holding a public consultation to gain the views of local people and businesses.

The consultation runs from 5th July until 15th July.

We reactivate spaces enabling neighbourhoods to truly thrive

With care and creativity, we build what matters now and for the future.