Openshaw plans get green light and councillors unveil public art feature
Government Office for the North West has given its backing to the plans to redevelop Openshaw district centre in East Manchester, just weeks after Manchester City Council gave their support to the proposals at planning committee.
The regeneration proposals will transform a run down industrial area into a retail, leisure and commercial complex which will create 750 jobs, and ward councillors Neil Swannick, John Longsden and John Smith, will this week unveil a scale model of a 20 ft high sculpture of a steam hammer which will sit at the heart of the development.
Designed by award winning sculptor Robert Erskine, the stainless steel sculpture has been designed to celebrate Openshaw’s rich industrial heritage. Many engineering firsts evolved in the area, such as steam engine production, hydraulic engineering and design and manufacture of heavy machine tools and plant.
Sir Joseph Whitworth was amongst the many pioneers who came to Openshaw. He was the first to perfect the truly flat surface, inventor of the micrometer, the screw cutting lathe and the method of exact measurement. He standardised the system of the screw thread, still known today as the ‘Whitworth Standard’
The Openshaw redevelopment site was home to Joseph Whitworth’s factory, and also a company who produced steam powered hammers. These hammers were responsible for the manufacture of most, if not all, the machinery employed in the area’s heavy industry and archive material suggests that steam hammer vibrations could be felt across the whole of Manchester.
Andrew Malley, from developers Dransfield Properties said: “We are delighted that Government Office has backed the proposals and are looking forward to getting on site and delivering this much needed regeneration scheme. The public art feature will stand as a reminder of Openshaw’s rich industrial past, while marking the transformation of the area into a thriving district centre once again.”
Councillors Swannick, Longsden and Smith will unveil the model at Manchester Town Hall (main reception) on Friday, 23 March at 2.00 pm.
For further information, contact:-
Public Relations Department, Dransfield Properties Ltd
Tel: 01226 360644