Save the New Islington Marina Community
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We are calling on Manchester City Council to reconsider their decision to evict a close knit community of at least thirty residents from the New Islington Marina in Manchester. The council claim that the boats need to leave in order to carry out necessary repair works in the “most cost effective and safe manner”.
New Islington Marina is the only residential marina in the center Manchester, and is located in the “regeneration” area of Ancoats and New Islington, close to the city center. In the eight years since the boats first arrived the area has gone from the wasteland of a demolished council estate to the Council’s flagship housing development. The boats have been at the heart of this regeneration - ensuring that the area stayed inhabited and safe while the initial works were undertaken. The council now wants to hand over the Marina and Cotton Field Park to a private management company - and it seems the boats no longer fit their “vision” for the area.
To suddenly be told we have to leave our homes, with just three months notice, the decision has been a massive shock to us all. With no other residential moorings available in central Manchester we are being asked to choose between our homes and the city we all love.
As a community we live, work, and play in the neighborhood of Ancoats, and our residents make a positive contribution to the area. Many residents are involved in community projects, including with local schools, and several have set up their own local businesses. The residents spend much of their free time socialising with each other and our land-based neighbors in Cotton Field park - one of the few open access green spaces in the city center.
The Marina remains one of the few places where the new and old residents of Manchester can come together - people from all walks of life come to walk their dogs, have picnics and barbecues and enjoy the peace and quiet of a wonderful park just minutes from a bustling city center. The boater residents play a big part in creating the lively and colorful atmosphere at the Marina, and can often be seen sitting out on our boats, watering our plants, chatting to visitors, playing with dogs, and handing out everything from cups of tea to dog water to puncture repair kits to plasters - we are delighted to share this beautiful space which we are proud to call our home.
Our community understands that the works need to take place. The poor quality of the original building work means that after just a few years walkways and pavements are subsiding and the drains are struggling to cope with increased demand and the rapidly diminishing natural drainage. However we believe that these works can be carried out without the full-scale eviction of the marina and that, if the council were willing to discuss this with us, we could come to a solution that would allow the works to continue quickly without making at least thirty families homeless.
Our loving and diverse community is more than willing to work with the council to prevent our brutal eviction and work around the building works, moving around the marina if necessary as the works take place (as we have done before). Given that at no point did the council come to talk to one single resident whilst making decisions, no consultancy on how this would affect us. It is clear that we are the victim of gentrification, that the best course of action for the council was to simply disregard and displace a whole community for the pockets of the few. Seeing us as non-human that can be shifted, no matter the immense stress that we would be put under, financially, socially, and emotionally. Surely in 2017 we can move forward from the displacement of communities in the brutal race to gentrification, in the name of progress. Surely we should not be the victims taking the brunt of somebody else's bad planning and construction.
Please sign this petition to help a community of lovely people keep our homes, stay together and continue their lives as boat dwellers in Manchester.
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andy fordham needs your help with “Manchester City Council: Save the New Islington boating community”. Join andy and 3,306 supporters today.