Irwell River Park

For many years, the River Irwell and Manchester Ship Canal led the resurgence of the waterfronts within the regional centre. Places such as Salford Quays, Chapel Wharf and Castlefield have been the focus of investment with award winning development.

Planning Guidance for an exciting £72 million urban river park – Irwell River Park was developed in partnership with Manchester City Council and Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council and adopted in March 2008. The Irwell River Park project is now well underway, transforming an eight kilometre stretch of the Irwell corridor across the regional centre between MediaCityUK and Peel Park creating:

  • connections between employment areas and visitor destinations that will enhance and increase economic activity and help create future employment opportunities.
  • new premier public areas to improve the way it looks and feels, to help attract further investment and enable residents and visitors to enjoy the space. 
  • a traffic free route from MediaCityUK to the heart of Manchester and City Centre and beyond.

Progress to date

Projects delivered to date along Irwell River Park include:

  • a promenade at Imperial War Museum North linking to MediaCityUK via a bridge connection
  • enhanced walking and cycling routeways and links to the river through Ordsall and Castlefield
  • the transformation of Riverside at Chapel Wharf in partnership with Bruntwood
  • a new bridge connection between New Bailey and Spinningfields
  • new connections at Greengate
  • a range of improvements to The Meadows including new routes across the space, a wetland area and the animation of the space and the refurbishment and re-opening of a bridge connecting The Meadows and Peel Park

New maintenance regimes are in place to protect investment and a litter boat operates along the Irwell removing debris and litter from the waterway, operated by APEM Aquatic Scientists in conjunction with Salford City Council.

Strategic walking and cycling connections across Irwell River Park will continue to be created in the future:

  • work is ongoing to design a new bridge connection between Clippers Quays and the proposed new Metrolink stop on Trafford Wharfside. This will significantly enhance walking and cycling links between Salford Quays, Trafford Park and Manchester City Centre by providing a more direct and traffic-free link. This is a longer term objective for the project
  • an international design competition for a proposed new bridge connection connecting The Crescent to The Meadows took place in 2015. The proposed bridge will provide access to the largest area of open space in the regional centre
  • the council will continue to work with private sector partners bringing forward development along Irwell River Park to improve access along its route and widen cycle ways, underpinning Irwell River Park’s designation as a National Cycle Route by Sustrans

Key Stats

  • 8km strategic walking and cycling route
  • International waterfront destination
  • Connects £3 billion of investment along its length
  • Over £660 million overall investment to date
  • Projected £734 million new GVA growth
  • 13,000 potential new jobs over the lifespan of the project

Downloadable documents

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

This page was last updated on 7 April 2016

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