We have been working hard to make the Great Northern a great neighbourhood in the city centre. We’d love to know:

  • What’s missing from the city centre that would be great to have here?
  • If you could wave a magic wand,  what would make the Great Northern a really special place?

Pin your ideas to the noticeboard

Things this place needs … or could do with … or that you’d love to see here . . . Add your idea

Colour and seating

The mini amphitheatre is such a unique area but I feel like it’s quite soulless and could do with a sprucing of colour. I’ve lived in Manchester for three years, and as much as I love the city, a lot of Manchester (e.g - UoM north campus, Picadilly Gardens) feels a bit dull, with just the greys of…

Greenery and non-alcoholic options

It would be great to make this area feel like a green oasis. The city centre is definitely short of earthy, relaxing spaces.
Dairy and gluten-free offerings would be brilliant, and also late night alcohol-free venues would be a very welcome change from the usual cliched boozy norm.

commitment to sustainable management, zero waste and no single use plastics

Could the Great Northern become known for its environmental credentials, including how waste is managed?
So for example, no single-use plastics, waste food collected and redistributed or sent to composting facility, an audit trail of how all waste products are disposed of to prove that…

Street acts / entertainment

In European cities you get really good quality street entertainment. I think that would be great. Shows / theatre / entertainment for all the family

A hub for people of all ages to meet and be creative,

maybe a makers space for teenagers and place to get coffee and relax late into the evening.I would also love to see some vertical planting to bring a softer feel and look to the area, bringing nature into the greenery whilst softening the brick and concrete. Ambient lighting and street entertainers…

Better disabled access and toilets and covered mother and baby feeding areas

My house mate is disabled and finds it difficult to gain access to lots of places. Also friends with babies have to use toilet to breast feed children, this is not acceptable. Let's make life simple.

Late evening non-alcoholic venues

Would love to see cafes or non alcoholic bars opening to give people the option of a social night out without alcohol- yes we can go to pubs and bars and clubs and choose non-alcoholic beverages but sometimes you want to be out in the evening not surrounded by alcohol. Would love a late evening…

benches, bins, public toilets

It would be nice to have more benches, bins (to be collected frequently), where anyone can sit and relax. It would be ideal if clean public toilets are available, too.

A fenced off skateboard ramp

There are so few free places for young people in the city to exercise. This would be a fantastic place.

Independent street hawkers!!!

We need more international food like street hawkers centre in Singapore…

A place for high school children and teens

My teenage son and his friends are always looking for things to do that doesn’t cost lots of money. They want to stay active and love sport but when it’s raining there’s not much they can do without a good chunk of money.
Pool tables, darts boards, bowling or skittles, indoor basket hoops…

Make it a safe public space through interactive street furniture

Please see the article below from the UK body for Skateboarding

Let Flecky Bennett do the ghost tour!

Please could you let Flecky Bennett productions do his ghost tour here. He is keeping a lot of the history of Manchester alive as well as keeping it’s spooky folk lore Alive. Please allow his tours to continue.

Cycle storage

Needs covered (who wants to sit on a wet saddle) safe, well lit and prominent cycle parking. Maybe a discount at some places if you use public transport or a bike to encourage sustainable transport.

intergenerational activities

getting people involved with sharing their skills with others, handicrafts, cooking, growing, music, arts. We can all learn from each other!

Flrckey Bennits

Fleckey. Bennitt's. under ground. tours restarting

Green Space!!

Manchester can feel really muggy in the summer, in comparison to London we simply don’t have city centre parks. More green space and any water whatsoever would be a massive step in the right direction.


Absolutely been making process in this area - but more is always welcome! Diverse plant life, with benches etc for people to be able to enjoy it is always welcome.

Manchester as a whole needs a lot more work in this area, great northern could and should lead the way

More: atmosphere, lights, special events

An indie street

A “street” with every unit filled with independent eateries and shops selling locally made artisan products - like a permanent artisan market in the middle of the city. You could have indie pop-ups too and indie shopping events to make more of a hub, building on the couple of indie businesses that…

Crime and Disorder

I lived in the city centre for 25 years, some of those in the Great Northern Tower l, but have moved out due to low level crime, lack of police, graffiti everywhere and dodging Deliveroo cyclists on the pavement. Also, the soulless, 1950s Soviet Union style blights on the landscape with ever higher…

Better lighting

More atmospheric / soft lighting for the evening.

Places to sit and eat, somewhere to be creative, meeting places for all ages

Places to sit and eat, somewhere to be creative, meeting places for all ages. Please don't change the history of the building with too much glass.

A space for all

Somewhere suitable for teenagers and young people, with access to fun activities to try out like fitness classes, cooking, managing money. A way to engage to engage with young people of the city to help them to make friends, and find opportunities in a a safe, supportive environmemnt.

Create a food market space in the centre

a permanent food market- independents, selling locally made things. Accompany this with live music and entertainment on a weekend

A safe, quiet space

Somewhere safe to sit and wait for friends/read a book/quietly enjoy the surroundings away from the busy city. Nice comfy seating and plants

Fundamental things .

It is indeed the fundamental things that apply when renovating a neighbourhood . Good lighting ✨️ is important and essential . We are not talking operating theatre lights here but a happy medium for ambience and safety . Good refuse is also important . Plaenty of areas to deposit rubbish . The…

Street theatre

Free performances in collaboration with local theatres.

Outdoor calisthenics park

A variety of outdoor pull up bars, monkey bars, dips station (which is lacking in manchester) to encourage recreational activities for the promotion of public health and reduction of anti social behaviour.

Keep the mews as a spot for small independent companies

Environmentally Friendly

Green roof, vertical wall planting, pollinator, bird and bug friendly. Give back to the environment and offset the concrete in the areas. Save the history of the building, QR code trails to scan that tell you about the area, the building etc.

Temporary art exhibitions

No shops

Doesn’t need shops . Doesn’t really need bars . Does need spaces to just sit and be . Perhaps family based places ? Somewhere that kids can feel involved .
It’s a great building but it’s surrounded by bars / restaurants etc . Try something that we don’t already have lots of .

Places for all ages to play...

... Not just off the shelf playgrounds for 5 year olds, but well designed areas for all, including teenage girls who are usually designed out of public spaces, look at examples in Copenhagen for social, ageless, protected play spaces

Mini Amphitheatre Events

The amphitheater needs to be used for more highly advertised events, special acoustic shows from big artists who are in town, comedy nights and even theatre could all make use of this, it is a beautiful area and needs to be used more

Independent Businesses

Keep the chains out and pride yourselves on being a place for Independent small businesses.

More food festivals

Love to try new food, street food style. Something like the makers market but with a focus on food. Also, not paid entry to buy food,.

A produce market

Central Manchester really lacks a good produce market.

A place for young people and culture to meet.

A safe place where the youth of Manchester could go to like the Youth Zone in Warrington.
Children today need a place where they could go to to learn life skills and stay safe for nominal outlay or free. A place where they can get a meal or chat to some one about their lives.

A home for creative independents

A permanent home for independent small businesses. Think a mix between the makers market(content) and afflecks place(format).

A winter garden

There's one in Melbourne and an amazing one in an old train station in Madrid as inspiration.

Still like the idea of bringing Deansgate Mews down to surface/street level.

Reduced car parking. A residential or office tower to link the defrost and back, increase…

Fresh produce market

A weekly fresh produce market would be excellent. Fruit, veg, meet, cheese, bread etc. Nothing too fancy just good quality locally sourced good food

An ambient coffee

An ambient coffee shop that plays soft jazz with soft lighting like the relaxing videos on YouTube!

Green space and seating

More space with green space (trees and shrubs) with seating area


Get rid of the cinema leisure box and build a couple of tall residential towers with active ground floor uses to activate the streets which are currently very poor

Low price start up locations

The chance for new businesses to open in good quality but low price outlets for a set period to test out their business model and build a following then move to a more commercial basis.

Karaoke Bar

Apart from China Town, there isn't that many karaoke bars that are open at a time earlier than midnight. It would be great to have bars that celebrate mass singalongs.

Exhibition space

An exhibition space which features a permanent exhibition that explains the history of the warehouse (railway, canal etc) and links to Science Museum (first passenger station) and people's history museum. And includes space for rotating temporary exhibitions

Something quirky

Boutiique shops and lots of special events (music etc).Art.Fairy lights.Just a bit of magic.

A large covered and secured bycicle parking

In addition to lots of good ideas already mentioned, a decently-sized covered area where bicycles could be parked safely would be really useful for people travelling to the city centre and encourage travelling with a bike. A lot of the time, deciding where to leave the bike prevents people from…

Leisure/sport provision

Some publicly bookable sport and leisure provision such as indoor tennis, badminton, football, netball etc. There's a really lack of this in the city centre and I think this site has the space to provide something like this.could even be underground

Food/craft/vintage/craft/gift fairs

Stalls selling all tge things people love to browse and buy!

Bring back Beat Street

…or something similar - it was my favourite place in Manchester. Lots of different bars/places to eat with of communal outside seating.

Better cinema

It would be good to have an independent cinema back because Odeon have betrayed AMC, nearly tripled the prices and ditched the arcade.

Welcome under 18s

More focus on children and families because a lot of the city centre is still quite adult oriented, or venues require adult supervision. You want kids coming in after school for bowling etc

A green oasis in the city

More trees and greenery - especially plants native to the UK for the bees and butterflies!

Weekly/monthly themes

So for example a magic month and invite people to have individual stores related to magic or even do careers weeks where you could have different careers come and talk to the public health week/ story weeks / animal weeks/ history weeks the list is endless

A green space the community can look after

Picture this - a community garden like similar popular ones in Manchester already where local people spend their time planting, growing, caring, watering the garden. You could grow wild flowers in the spring/summer, grow vegetables and fruit and so much more! You could create a seating area within…

A large covered area outside that can still be removed when not raining .

A large covered area outside that can still be removed when not raining . More benches and plants . It’s a great outside space to sit and people watch before/ after a visit inside

Qr code noticeboards

Noticeboards with qr codes which offer guides signposting different services.
Areas for food

Art studio spaces to exhibit

It would be nice for independent artists to have the opportunity to display and show work to the public

Alcohol free/Mental health

As a recovering alcoholic (8 years sober in August) the one thing that I'd love to see in the city that has brought me back to life is a trendy bar that mainly stocks alcohol free beers/ciders and mocktails no obviously you don't want to shut off those that drink like my partner so…

A European style square

With lots of cafes and restaurants, people sitting outside, greenery and music

Communal activities

Yoga classes, wreath making, zumba sessions etc, a mixture of accessible activities that appeal to the diverse community that is Manchester! Stuff for people to get involved in, learn new skills and meet people!

Eat by day, Party by night

It would be a great place for people to have lunch brunch and dinner during the daytime but then party out for the night. A safe space for bars and clubs like Printworks but better. Rooftop party spaces and clubs to give it a lively scene.

Activities for children

Finding more ways for children to be active is really important given the rising childhood obesity levels. So any activities that will get children moving would be great eg climbing wall.

A butcher

Butcher shops with meat from a local farm.
Forest Tots Sessions in the Square

Community garden where we can grow food

An urban oasis inside the great Northern and outside. Where we can grow food and educate people about it. A place for calmness, play, recharge. A mental health oasis where everyone is welcome to unwind from the hustle and bustle, with an area for more active play for kids
Community gardening

Love theatre in the amphitheatre

A space where live outdoor theatre happened within the amphitheatre that already exists would be a nice addition. Additionally reserving spaces and units for independent businesses and restaurants instead of chains would be good.

A bicycle park

A place to store my bike with washing and repair facilities

Recycling Bins

Could you add recycling bins across the site?
Yoga in the Square

Disabled Access

Access for people with disabilities needs looking at. It is not possible to access the amphitheatre, and much of the paving in the square is at complicated levels

More seating in the square

We'd like to sit in the square and watch the world go by, but don't enjoy sitting on the cold stone steps of the amphitheatre. It would be great to see some alternative seating options on the upper part of the square that are accessible.