The historic Mayfield site in Manchester city centre will open to the public next month for the first time in more than 30 years – as a unique street-food destination and workspace with a small community garden.

The Mayfield Development Partnership – a joint venture between Manchester City Council, LCR, Transport for Greater Manchester and mixed-use property regeneration specialist U+I – has announced that a small part of the site will open to the public on Friday May 19th.

An artist impression of the Mayfield food fair. 

Land next to the former Mayfield train station building on Baring Street will be transformed by the temporary installation of a series of shipping containers housing street food traders at ground level with offices on upper levels.  

Anchored by Grub Manchester – the weekly street-food fair – visitors will be treated to an ever-changing roster of six of the city’s and country’s best street-food traders along with craft beers created by Manchester’s Runaway Brewery. The food fair will initially operate every Friday and Saturday from 12 noon through to 10pm and every Sunday from 12 noon to 8pm. 

Image from @GrubMCR

A large ‘staircase’ structure will link the levels and provide covered seating and, over time, a community garden will be created next to the River Medlock.

The design for this early use of the site seeks to connect with its industrial heritage, both the railway and the mills, revealing previously hidden cobble stones and taking inspiration from the cross-braced lattice of the existing yellow girders, giving the impression of a giant loom. 

The opening will also mark the start of a project to create a community garden on the site, overseen by the Green Health Alliance, which is made up of Growing in the City/Men’s Shed Project, Hulme Community Garden Centre, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group’s Real Food Wythenshawe, Debdale Eco Centre and The Green Fingers Debdale. 

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “It is good to see the latest chapter of this historic site begin to be written.  The strategic importance of Mayfield to the future growth of the city cannot be underestimated. It’s a critically important part of the inward investment strategy which will deliver many jobs and homes in the coming years.” 

Jason Bailey, of Grub Manchester, said: “I feel privileged to be providing the anchor to such a historic site in the city. We are looking forward to bringing Manchester the very best street and artisan food and breathing new life into an area of the city which has been neglected for far too long.”

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