The cycle hub at Wythenshawe park is set to open in the summer. The £1.5m cycle investment will add a learn to ride area, a skills zone, pump track, family tail and woodland trail to the park.
While the majority of the upgrades will be taking place on the land where the golf fields used to be, the woodland trail will snake its way through Gibb Wood. Many people see the upgrades of the park as positive assets to the area, some believe the woodland should have not been a part of the park’s plans.
Readmore:How £1.5m will change Wythenshawe Park’s cycle hub development
Kay Banford and Jacqueline Naraynsingh are volunteers at Wythenshawe park and believe the investment in the area is long overdue and an excellent way to help people become fit and healthy.
Kay, who lives in Wythenshawe, said: “The changes are great! They’re really putting an emphasis on all of the health. This is an area that needs a boost. 99 pc of people, we get asked a lot, and they all say they’re really excited. There’s woods behind us here that are really lovely and we’ve got Simply Cycle so that’s great for accessibility.
“I can only see positives. There’s benefits with just coming out into nature and enjoying it.”
Jacqueline, who lives in nearby Levenshulme, added: “It’s going to join the park up, it’s a whole walking and cycling route. It’s only the outskirts of the park.
“What I’ve heard is that other people want it in their parks. I don’t live in Wythenshawe but everyone else wants the investment too.
“As people’s health is so poor after Covid, in Wythenshawe we need it, I just think it’s great. Since Covid too, people are coming out to enjoy the park.
“There’s going to be something for everyone, it’s fantastic. We’ve been working in the park for nine years so we’re so happy with the investment.
“It’s a lovely park, we’ve got a farm, tennis courts, so much green space. People are really for it.” Hannah Bateman, from Wythenshawe and who regularly walks her dog through Wythenshawe Park and Gibb Wood, thinks the resurfaced path is a good addition to the infrastructure of the park. She said: “The new path is great because it’s lovely for dog walking.
“It makes it more accessible for people too, it means you can enjoy the scenery and when the weather is bad, it isn’t all boggy. It’s also nicer for families, you’ve got a bit of both worlds at the park, you’ve got the open fields and the forest too.”
Brian Partridge is a builder and lives in Wythenshawe, he visits the park to walk his dog Sid. He thinks the bike hub and tracks are an asset to the park but he is worried about safety when the park gets busier in the summer months.
He explained: “I know it used to be a golf field, it’s a bit of a good thing. It’s time for a change and if the gold field isn’t being used then it’s better giving something to the kids that they will use.
However, Brian had some concerns about the locations of the new bike tracks. He explained that he would be concerned about safety and thinks the bike hub could do with its own access point.
He said: “It’s a good asset, but is it in the right place in the park? It does need its own access. I do think it needs its own access point, if for the kids’ safety as much as anyone else’s. It gets rammed here around the summer.”
The city council have confirmed that the cycle hub will have its own entrance at the athletics track so that cyclists are directed away from pedestrians. The family trail will be a bike path which follows an already existing path around the park, helping keep everyone safe and not directed onto the main road.
For Jamie and Rachel, who asked for their first names only to be used, the upgrades in Gibb forest are a positive addition to the park but they are against disrupting nature to make such changes.
Rahcel said: “It’s good, a lot easier for the pram, and the bike track, it’s something for kids to do. But what gets me is them cutting down trees in clean air zone.
Jamie agreed and said: “It was all muddy and slops, it’s good now if you want to go for a run and it gives the kids something to do. What does my head in is people littering in the park.
“I told a lady off last week for dropping a cig end in the park.”
However, Dr. Robin Hadley of Baguley is concerned about the level of disruption the alterations of the park have caused to nature.
He said: “There’s a section running through Gibb Wood and it’s a small little wood and they’ve put this path with dips and bumps through it and there’s no need for it, it’s a small wood!
“It’s so people can test out their skill, but there’s the big cycle hub where they can do that anyway and it’s just ruined the wood.
“I think this is so they can have events to a certain standard, parks these days aren’t parks for rest and relaxation. The city council want to generate income from them, so obviously this will be where the cycle trail comes around and they dipping into the woods to do their leaps and what have you.
“But that’s just one particular section of the users of the park and it excludes other users of the park.
“There were dirt tracks were people could walk through but now small trees and things are being cleared, sheeting has gone down, layers of stone and some topping or other.
“The golf course wasn’t really being used, trial biking or BMXing is green, it’s an olympic sport, so yeah convert that.
“Why cut through the wood? There’s an existing cycle path on the outside of the park and there’s a cycle path to one end of the park which is not being maintained. But they could have incorporated that rather than building a new one through the wood.”
A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “The investment into Wythenshawe Park is a brilliant scheme that will see the creation of a brand-new Cycle Hub that is due to open in the Summer of 2022. It will be a safe space for both new and seasoned riders to develop their skills and confidence in a traffic free environment.When asked if the facility was needed, over 1300 people voted in favor of the development.
“No mature trees have been removed and we have established a way to protect the tree roots. However, a small amount of young, self-seeded trees have been removed from the woodland as well as, some non-native, invasive species such as rhododendrons.
“The removal of these trees will allow the native species to thrive. There is also an ongoing program of tree planting in the park, with over 100 trees planted already this year.”
The best playgrounds in Greater Manchester
Outrage as Heaton Park’s outdoor café pods are vandalized overnight