Bridgefield Street Pocket Park

Shoppers, diners and businesses in Stockport will soon be able to enjoy a town-centre parklet and pocket park; a mini park featuring seating, greenery and cycle parking. The pocket park has been installed in a previously under-used part of Bridgefield Street which has been transformed by planting and a vibrant art wall, with a concrete table tennis table and chimes for children to play with.

Bridgefield Street is one of Stockport’s most recent regeneration projects, instigated as part of  Commissioner Chris Boardman’s Bee Network; a 15 Step plan to make Manchester a great place to live and grow up in. The initiative targets walking and cycling potential across the city, with the introduction of parklets and pocket parks as inviting spaces to stop, rest, socialise and park up a bike.

Working alongside Stockport Council, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) highlighted potential areas that have been utilised alongside their fully connected walking and cycling network. Bridgefield Street is a fully pedestrianised space with active ground floor uses all along the ground floor of the new Redrock Cinema. Sitting along this street was a small eleven by eleven meter underused space. Planit was given the opportunity to work alongside Wright Landscapes to develop an active, colourful, playful and bold proposal that would give the space a purpose and create a destination.

As ‘year out’ landscape students at Planit, it has been a great experience for myself and Emma. We’ve been able to see a project from inception to completion. We were the first point of contact with the client, liaising with people from all sides of the design team, whilst problem solving along the way.

As year out students we jumped at the chance to take on this amazing opportunity. I don’t think that you ever forget the first project that you see go from sketch to site. Seeing the design evolve on site has been a real learning curve. We’ve had to stand up for the key landscape-focused elements, such as retaining the density of planting, and it has been a challenge to retain those features that will hopefully make the scheme ‘unique’. However, we’ve also learnt that sometimes you can fit more within the budget than first thought!!

The parklet and pocket park’s use will be monitored over the next 3 months. It is exciting to know that, if successful, similar pocket spaces could be rolled out across Greater Manchester’s ten districts to enhance residential streets, business locations and areas near schools. These flexible mini-parks could be delivered through the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund, and TfGM has launched a mapping tool for people to comment online about exactly where they think parklets could be located across the city-region.

Reclaiming the streets and making journeys on foot and by bike will help improve the happiness and health of residents, and make our towns and cities more ‘liveable’!

Planit-IE designed the Bridgefield Street pocket park for Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council in conjunction with TfGM. The landscape construction was undertaken by Wright Landscapes and The Cunning Craftsman created the art wall mural.

Written by Ashleigh Davis, Year Out Landscape Student