In the world of Eco politics there are many shades of green.
There is the green world of the so called radicals like Sea Shepherd who are tired of the platitudes and the blood stained hands of big corporations and have literally decided to ram raid their murderous operations and then there is the green world of people like the current Tory Party who think using a green tree as their logo sand filming themselves pretending to cycle to work and dropping right catch phrases is going to save the planet.
Somewhere in the middle of this fuzzy green hinterland is the new university building being built in Hulme Manchester. The Birley Fields Campus in Hulme is proving to be a quite a controversial project.
There’s a Facebook page to join if you want to have your say.
The university have their side of the story as well.
Of course having a big university campus built in the middle of your neighborhood is going to get a mixed reaction and Hulme is used to this sort of things. The last twenty years has seen the area turned into a permanent muddy, dusty building site so another five years of it will seem like business as usual. Initially it was to be be built in Didsbury but residents objections meant a bit more there and it has been dumped on Hulme where residents objections don’t mean so much.
There’s nothing wrong with having more university buildings- the students bring money and a youthfull culture vibe to the city and the green spaces getting built are only just green- being the remnants of the old flats- I should know I used to live in one before it was demolished.
The bit that really rankles, though, is that the project claims to be the greenest campus in Europe- this morning they were chopping down a lot of trees on the site- not that green then. Although my spies tell me that they are on course to retain 60 per cent of the trees by moving some and replanting others- the sight of the chopped down trees is still sad though and makes everyone feel uneasy- we have had a lot of promises over the years in Hulme and they have not all been kept- other lost trees and a drained pond spring to mind.
There is also a plan to build an 8 story multi story car park- unsurprisingly on the other side of the main road from the campus and in the residential part off Hulme meaning that the car park won’t be dumped on the university side but right next to people’s houses- not sure what the green part of that is, maybe they will paint the concrete green so it will remain the greenest campus in Europe?
Locals are not against progress and many welcome the shared space and the rush of energy the students will bring but most are unhappy with the loss of trees and the big car park and uneasy about promises being broken like they were in the past.
The university have promised to make the project work with locals interests taken into consideration and most people feel that as long as it’s not one of those sealed in campuses and the space is shared as much as possible and we don’t lose our valuable trees and maybe just maybe they shift the car park to their side of the road or better still not build it all and make the students get the bus and teach them about the real meaning of Green transport- then we could be onto something here…afterall a building project in another residential part of the city like this would seem unimaginable.