The village has become a historic part of Manchester, and now the council wants to find new ways to protect it.
Commissioning the review just yesterday (27 January), Manchester City Council has announced that they plan to further understand what the Gay Village means to the local community, hiring independent socio-economic consultancy Hatch for the job.
The review will cover a variety of areas, and sets out to understand the importance of the village as a ‘safe space for the city’s LGBTQ+ community’. Following controversy from the community around the Council’s Portland Street development plans nearby, the council has promised to listen to residents and promises the changes on Portland Street will ‘enhance and better support’ the much-loved village.
Hatch’s work will involve gaining feedback from local people, businesses and organisations in the coming months, and will aim to find out what should be protected, what opportunities can be taken to enhance the area and how the local environment could be improved. The council, however, has said that the review is not part of a development or regeneration plan for the area, and ‘will not lead to a rebranding exercise or a formal strategy for the future of the Gay Village’.
Speaking of the review, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, has said:
“The historical importance of the Gay Village for the city’s LGBTQ+ community cannot be underestimated. The area is a beacon for tolerance across the UK, and its reputation internationally renowned. There is no question that the heritage of the neighbourhood – and its future – must be protected.
“We promised that we would undertake this review and it’s important that we do given the significance of the Gay Village to a huge amount of people. To be able to act as guardians, we need to speak to the people at the heart of the community and listen to their views.
“There will be lots of ways for Manchester people to get involved and I would urge as many people as possible to do so. There is so much to celebrate about the Gay Village and we need you to tell us what it means to you.”
Opportunities to have your say on the village will take place throughout February, and those wanting their voices heard are urged to express their interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.