Introducing a vibrant and sustainable community for South Manchester


The first stage of consultation on our proposals has now concluded.

We would like to thank everyone who attended an event, submitted a feedback form, spoke to the team and emailed us with their comments on the scheme. 

Step Places and Southway Housing Trust are pleased to have the opportunity to bring forward these plans and will now be considering all the feedback received to help shape the plans going forward.

This website will remain live so you can continue to view our initial plans for the land, and you can contact the project team using any of the methods at the bottom of the page. 

The Location

Nestled to the east of Longford Park in Chorlton, the Fields cover 4.5 hectares on the boundary of Manchester and Trafford.

Ryebank Fields has a rich history, with the land serving several purposes over the years, and we are excited to bring forward plans for a new chapter.  

Our proposal for Ryebank Fields

We have created a scheme purposefully designed with a strong community focus that is sensitive to the local environment, blending seamlessly into the existing surroundings and retaining many of the features that make this land special. The scheme will include: 

The Plan


Our six core values for the scheme:

Retain and enhance

A third of the land, 1.3 hectares, will be retained along the border with Longford Park and handed back as a community asset, so everyone can continue to enjoy the Fields in the future. Exciting new habitats will be created, including wetland areas to control flooding, green roofs, allotments, and community greens, to support local biodiversity. We will also adopt a 1:7 planting policy across the whole site, replacing every tree that needs to be removed with seven new ones.

Safe and protected heritage

We will adopt a careful and sustainable approach to the land through this development. Working with archaeologists, the medieval Nico Ditch that runs into Longford Park will be protected and further enhanced. Habitats, wildlife and any protected species will also be surveyed by specialist ecologists to ensure no adverse impacts through development and as much of the land and its heritage can be retained and protected for future generations


Our ambition is to include a 250 sq. m community hub that can be used by residents and the wider community for learning, exercise, enjoyment and any other activities. The vision is for a large open plaza, offering pedestrianised space for civic events and activities, with an outdoor pavilion, a growing garden and educational spaces, to surround the hub. We want to work with residents in the area to understand what this space may look like in the future so that everyone can benefit and enjoy from the scheme


We want to deliver 120 homes that will be a mix of private and affordable residential accommodation. There will be a minimum of 20% affordable homes on site, with 24 age-friendly apartments let at Manchester Living Rent. We would like to include up to 35% affordable homes by building 18 houses for shared ownership, which will sit alongside 20 co-housing dwellings and 58 private sale homes

Passivhaus Certified

Plans include all buildings being certified Passivhaus; a tried and tested method of reducing carbon emissions from buildings throughout construction, operation and demolition lifecycle. Way beyond expected levels of energy efficiency, the homes will be super-insulated, have low-flow fittings to reduce water usage, and will be able to support air source heat pumps and solar panels to generate their own energy, keeping bills low


The neighbourhood design will put people before cars, with ample space to walk, run, cycle and enjoy. There will be a network of footpaths and cycle routes, including a new north-south boardwalk along the western edge, which will connect into the local active travel network and create safe routes to local shops, services, schools and public transport links

VIRTUAL Exhibition

Take a stroll through Ryebank Fields

Immerse yourself in what the site may look like in the future by watching our computer-generated video:


Step Places and Southway Housing Trust are bringing forward proposals for a sustainable new development of 120 new dwellings, a community hub, market square, with growing spaces, learning spaces and community resources. 

The area of land known as Ryebank Fields is located between Ryebank Road in Chorlton, and Rye Bank Road in Firswood, to the east of Longford Park

Manchester Metropolitan University has owned this piece of land since the 1970s, but made the decision in 2019 to sell the land to suitable developers as part of its strategy to consolidate onto a single, sustainable, city campus.

In 2019, the University decided to sell the land to a suitable developer as part of its strategy to consolidate onto a single, sustainable, city campus. The University has now chosen a partnership between Step Places and Southway Housing Trust to develop the site. 

Around one third, 1.3 hectares, of the site will be retained as is, along the border with Longford Park, which will be handed back as a community asset. Ecological surveys have shown that the more mature trees and wildlife habitats are located there, and we want to ensure they are protected for future generations to enjoy. With the introduction of new habitats, wetland areas, community greens, allotments, and adopting a strategy of seven new trees planted for every one removed, there will be a total of 2.1 hectares of green space across the whole development. 

Site investigations were last carried out by MMU in 2019 and new surveys are now required. Working with specialist consultants, further trial pits, boreholes and monitoring will be undertaken to fully understand the extent of contamination from any heavy metals, ground gas, or unexploded bombs (UXOs) on the land, particularly in the context of the scheme we are proposing to develop. No planning application will be submitted until these have been completed and we understand the full picture. We will provide further details of these investigations in due course and local residents will be informed prior to any work being undertaken on the land. 

Step Places have plenty of experience remediating sites like this and know there are a number of measures that can be put in place to ensure the safety of the public. We will develop a clear remediation strategy that sets out how we will deal with any contamination effectively and efficiently, in line with government guidance, with minimal impact to the local community. 

The Nico Ditch is a long, linear earthwork dug in medieval times as a defensive fortification or potentially a boundary marker that stretches six miles across south Manchester.

Whilst the Ditch has low ecological value, we want to protect this piece of history and further enhance it into an educational landscape similar to Platt Fields, for everyone to learn from. The current design for the site shows two access points that do not connect, meaning the Nico Ditch can be protected.

We are aware of issues with flooding in the area, afflicting both the fields and neighbouring Longford Park. Our ambition is to include a number of measures to combat against this, with detention ponds, new wetland habitats, rain gardens, and rainwater harvesting. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) will be included across the site, to help manage surface water more effectively and limit risk of flooding in the area. A Flood Risk Assessment will be completed and submitted with the planning application which will outline the risk and the measures to mitigate this. 

Yes, as a minimum 20% of the housing included within the proposals will be affordable. This will take the form of 24 age-friendly apartments let at the  Manchester Living Rent. We would like to include up to 35% affordable homes, by building a further 18 houses for shared ownership (part rent part buy).

The current design has a mixture of apartments and houses with various occupancy levels. The age-friendly apartments will have a mixture of one and two bed apartments, whilst the shared ownership offer will provide family homes. The co-housing development will have one and two bed apartments as well as town houses, located in the centre of the site. The private sale homes will be a mixture of three and four bed properties. 

This is just our initial vision and the exact details of the different housing types and tenures will be confirmed as our design develops.

We have made a commitment to design a sustainable development, and have included space for community gardens and greens, allotments, and growing spaces, to ensure that it can be used to the benefit of those that live there and the local area. As part of that commitment, if the development is approved and goes ahead with access via Rye Bank Road, we would be happy to relocate the community garden into the site.

Ample cycle parking facilities will be provided, with both private and shared parking available. Our target is to be able to provide every residential dwelling with access to at least one secure and covered cycle parking space. For private homes, this is likely to be on their plot, whilst co-housing and shared ownership properties will have communal and shared spaces for storage.

The current vision shows dual access, one from the south via Ryebank Road/Longford Road, Chorlton, and one from the north via Rye Bank Road in Firswood. There is no connection between the two access roads to minimise the volume of vehicles accessing the development from each side, and to prevent through-traffic and rat-running. This design is in line with the development framework, which was signed off by executive members at Manchester City Council in 2018. There are benefits to the local area in Trafford by having dual access from the site, providing significantly improved connections to the local amenities, shops, services and Firswood tram station. The plans for the site are still being developed and we welcome your feedback on this element of the design. 

The current design provides one car parking space per market sale home, as well as extra on-street spaces for visitors and residents, to prevent overspill into local roads. In total, there will be 111 spaces across the development, with 10 more introduced on Longford Road. With the different types of tenures proposed for the site, for instance age-friendly living and a co-housing community, we do expect that there will be a number of dwellings where car ownership will be lower, which will help with the volume of vehicles on site and on the neighbouring roads. 

We are aware of concerns about traffic and parking in the area. 

With the different types of tenures proposed for the site, we do expect that there will be a number of dwellings where car ownership will be lower, which will help with the volume of vehicles on site and on the neighbouring roads.

Assessments of the transport implications of the scheme are being conducted and will be submitted with the planning application.  This considers access to the site, accessibility to local services by sustainable modes of travel, as well as the impact on traffic flows generated by the development proposals.

We want to look at the scheme holistically and use it as an opportunity to address existing issues in the area, working together with Council Highways Officers to find suitable solutions.

As part of the planning process, Step Places and Southway Housing Trust will work with the council to understand the current provision of local services and how new homes in the area might affect them. If the council feels it necessary, a contribution will be made to invest in local services.  

Step Places and Southway Housing Trust are committed to engaging with the local community regarding the plans for Ryebank Fields. During October and November 2022, the project team undertook extensive engagement with political stakeholders, community organisations and residential groups across Chorlton, Manchester and Trafford.

Ahead of a planning application being submitted to the Council, two phases of community consultation will be undertaken to allow local people to contribute to the development of the plans.  The first phase of consultation will run until Friday 10 February, and the second phase around springtime.

We will be holding a second phase of consultation around spring this year on more detailed designs for the Fields. Once that consultation has concluded, and comments have been considered and incorporated into the design where possible, the proposals will be submitted to the council. 


If you would like to get in touch with the project team, ask any questions or request the information in an alternative format, you can:

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