St. Ann’s Church Urban Garden

City living is fine for the most part but it has long been missing one thing. As metropolises sprout up into the sky, the ground beneath often goes neglected which has led to a rise in popularity for urban gardens and their green fingered fans are championing them in the populated areas of Manchester.

This summer Manchester played host to the ‘Dig the City’ event, which showcased twenty eight gardens including an award winning bee garden and a community garden made with no overhead, bringing some much appreciated green back into the city.

St Ann’s historic church yard is set to get the urban garden makeover, aiming to be completed in 2016 as part of a tireless campaign to help with the regeneration of the city. The churchyard to the south of the building leading to King Street has been barren space for many years. Reverend Nigel Ashworth whose unrelenting passion for the area has been charging forward with refurbishments for the St Ann’s Church for the past three years has been working with Thomas Chop House’ founder Roger Ward to create a beautiful space within the church courtyard that the two buildings overlook.

The church’s courtyard regeneration is part of plans for better connectivity between King Street and St. Ann’s Square. There are overall plans to improve the connectivity of the city, which is currently a hard place to navigate, especially with the work in and around Manchester’s public transport. It is aiming to get rid of the zigzagging maze of the city centre and become an oasis within the built up urban area.

As with most churches that have been around for over three hundred years, there are always going to be ongoing vital refurbishments.

St Ann’s Church has been in the heart of Manchester since it was first dedicated on the 17th of July 1712, named after the St Anne and also the patron of the church, Ann, Lady Bland. It includes a window by legendary William Peckitt, famous 18th century stained glass painter.
The historic church has been around for longer than most buildings, the city essentially growing around the church. Grade I-listed St Ann’s Church is currently undergoing a £1.5m repair, but work came to a standstill with £880,000 spent.

The budget for the garden has yet to be revealed but plans for the garden are ones encapsulating the creativity, beauty and life of Manchester and bring a sense of community pride to the area. The weatherproof dining of the Mr Thomas’s Chop House makes a beautiful attraction for the area.

Ashworth has expressed concern about the viability of the project as work on the Metrolink tram network continues to disturb businesses in and around Cross Street. Even with the 10% reduction the council is offering, locals have expressed concern about the amount of business that is being lost because of it.

St Ann’s urban garden plans are hopefully going to be delivered by Easter 2016 as a fresh spring resurgence to the city. The plans projecting to protect conservation areas the project is welcoming comments to be sent to

By Katie Beech   -   23-09-2015

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