Cutting Room Square closed to traffic for six months in new Manchester city centre trial

Town hall bosses say they want to create a ‘European’ cafe culture feel in Ancoats.
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A square on the edge of Manchester city centre is set to be pedestrianised for six months starting from this week as part of a new trial to make it permanent.

The streets surrounding Cutting Room Square in Ancoats will be closed from Friday (August 26) for half a year as part of the trial by Manchester council.

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It comes after the square off Blossom Street, which is home to many cafés, bars and restaurants, was temporarily pedestrianised during the pandemic.

Local councillors say the move, which saw businesses spill out into the square with tables set up in the streets over the summer, creates a ‘European feel’.

The town hall now wants to gauge public opinion about permanently pedestrianising the Cutting Room Square, launching a new consultation.

Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council.Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council.
Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council.

Manchester councillor Tracey Rawlins, who is the executive member for environment and transport, said the council is excited to start the trial.

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She said: “It’s a well-used and vibrant part of this growing neighbourhood and during the pandemic the emergency pedestrianisation of this area made it clear what benefits can be brought by limiting cars and other vehicles from some of our streets.

“This consultation will be running for an initial six months so I would encourage people to use the square during this period, experience the new environment and give us your feedback.

“Ultimately, we want to see Ancoats as a green and clean urban space, an ambition we are working to realise through a wider strategy to put green space and active travel at the heart of the Ancoats community.

“The trial to pedestrianise the roads around Cutting Room Square is another step in this direction.”

Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council.Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council.
Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council.
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During the trial, cars will be banned but bicycles will still be allowed through.

Pay-and-display parking bays will be removed, while car club bays and disabled parking bays will be relocated to areas outside of the pedestrianised zone.

What streets will be closed in Ancoats?

The Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) includes:

  • Closing Blossom Street to vehicles between Cotton Street and Sharrett Street
  • Closing Cotton Street to vehicles from its junction with Blossom Street to a point just to the south-east of Hood Street
  • Closing Hood Street from its junction with Cotton Street to a point just to the south-west of the Halle building’s servicing door
  • Closing Hood Street (except for vehicle loading/unloading) from its junction with Murray Street to a point just to the south-west of the Halle building’s servicing door

Measures will come into force from Friday (August 26) and stay in place for a provisional six-month period to seek feedback from the public and businesses.

Depending on this feedback the TTRO could be extended, changed or made permanent if the measures are found to be beneficial for the neighbourhood.

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Labour councillor Irene Robinson represents Ancoats and Beswick ward.

She said: “I’m really pleased to see the square being pedestrianised.

“It adds a really European feel to the area and makes it more accessible to residents and visitors.

“Accessibility is going to be key as we are using a lot of space for local businesses.

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“We’re hoping that it doesn’t affect people using wheelchairs and prams.

“Overall, we think it’s a really good thing for the area.”

Lib Dem councillor Alan Good, who also represents Ancoats and Beswick, said: “Pedestrianising Blossom Street is a no-brainer, we were calling for it before the pandemic and were disappointed to see the temporary scheme come to an end.

“We’ve spoken to many locals about the plans and they’re supportive so I hope that at the end of this latest trial we’ll finally see them made permanent.

“In previous temporary closures, poor signage has caused traffic problems elsewhere in Ancoats, with speeding and cars driving the wrong way down George Leigh Street distressingly common.

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“I’ve been asking council officers to make sure these concerns are taken into account with this latest scheme.

“Closing Cutting Room Square to vehicles should be doable without causing problems elsewhere.”

People can comment on the TTRO by emailing [email protected].

The deadline to respond to this consultation is February 26, 2023.

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