In the latest MCFly (issue 13) we led with a story we called “Murky developments threaten MERCi”.
The story was stitched together from information that we’d obtained from a public meeting, and we did our best to check it before running with it. Unfortunately, after we’d printed and published, we found out there was slightly less to the story (printed below) than we thought.
A source at MERCi tells us “It seems that the letter received was actually notice from a private firm that there will be an issuing of CPO’s in the area The letter itself was not a CPO. According to the plans, MERCi is not a building to be demolished.”
We will update this as we get more information, both on this blog and the paper edition.
Here’s the story exactly as we ran it:
Manchester’s first centre for sustainability is reported to have received notice of a compulsory purchase order to make way for a new super-development to be named Holt Town. Cibitas – a consortium that includes private developers and an international investment bank- are leading the project and describe Holt Town Waterfront as a new quarter of Manchester.
The development will span an area of 38 hectares (around 38 football pitches) across East Manchester, including Ancoats where MERCi (Manchester Environmental Resource Centre iniative) is based. MERCi is a charity for sustainable living and established Bridge-5 Mill in 2001 to provide a space for debate and action. The old converted mill has been carefully renovated to high ethical standards, demonstrating the latest in green technology as well as some simple but effective measures. Key features include a living roof, compost toilet, the use of reclaimed timber, straw bale walls and a vegetable patch.
The building hosts a number of progressive projects and organisations, acting as a hub for Manchester-based activist and campaign groups. At the same time, MERCi prioritises the needs of the less privileged and more immediately local population. Although this can be a difficult balance to strike, the project has plenty of success stories to boast of. Local school children with special educational needs are regularly seen volunteering in the garden and the doors are often opened to the community for internet access, open days and fun days. One of the fastest expanding projects is Herbie fruit and veg van that delivers cost-price fruit and veg to streets that lack a local grocery store.
MCFly awaits news of this case as MERCi is soon to begin negotiations with the developers. An optimistic view would note that planners for the new district will be looking for ways to boost their green credentials, and the publicly available plans do not show Bridge-5 Mill as a building to be demolished. None the less, tenants of Bridge-5 Mill brace themselves for a battle.