Fight to protect public access to the River Irwell continues

Local campaigners are continuing to fight for public access to the River Irwell, which has now been blocked off “at every possible location”.

Access to the river has been a public issue since 2020, when campaigners first objected to the closure of a riverside towpath to make way for the Ralli Quays development.

The Our Irwell campaign was successful in preventing the footpath being re-routed through a hotel lobby – but many other parts of the riverside remain inaccessible to the public.

Local walking and cycling group Walk Ride Central Salford tweeted about the ongoing blockages to the river.

Dr. Morag Rose, a lecturer in urban geography who led the campaign, said that moving on from the success of Ralli Quays, “we’re trying to figure out the best way of increasing access and tackling these various blockages.”

“The campaigners involved in Ralli Quays are all very keen that something else happens out of the momentum, but we don’t know what that is yet.”

The Our Irwell campaign group is continuing to investigate public access to various locations around the river, where they are asking for “better communication about temporary stops.”

The towpaths around the river are under various ownerships, including private landowners and developers, as well as Salford City Council.

The Ralli Quays development. Image Credit: Kate Woodmass

A current focus of the campaign is the area surrounding The Factory, which is closed off due to ongoing building works. Before taking action, Our Irwell “need[s] to work out what’s closed and why and for how long,” said Dr. Rose.

Dr. Rose is also the founder of The Loiterers Resistance Movement, a creative walking group focused on exploring the city in new ways.

Although the two groups are separate, “my personal passion is about public space and about walking and access in Manchester and Salford, so that’s where they overlap for me,” they said.

For further information about the Loiterer’s Resistance Movement and their upcoming events, visit their website.

Further information on the Our Irwell campaign can be found by following #OurIrwell on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.