Greater Manchester Gentrification

Manchester Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter is an area of Manchester City Centre, England, generally marked out between Piccadilly, Victoria and Ancoats, and centred on Oldham Street, just off Piccadilly Gardens.

The cotton industry helped to foster economic activity in the Northern Quarter into the 20th century. The cotton trade reached its peak in 1912, when 8 billion square yards (6,700 km²) of fabric were manufactured and sold from Manchester. Following the First World War, the high cost of British cotton, and the increase in production elsewhere in the world, led to a slow decline of the British cotton industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, mills were closing in Greater Manchester at a rate of almost one a week, and by the 1980s only specialised textile production remained, although clothing manufacture and the wholesale trade continue to form a strong part of Manchester’s economy.

Following the Second World War, attention focused away from the Northern Quarter as Manchester began to build itself a modern city centre in the ruins left by German bombers. As a commercial area, Oldham Street became quieter, particularly as nearby Market Street and the Arndale Centre grew in importance. Over time certain types of business were attracted to the area, which offered low rents and an alternative feel to the typical British high street. This became the main strength of the Northern Quarter — today it is known for hip, independent stores, cafes and bars, and for offering a distinct alternative to the shopping experiences to be found elsewhere in Manchester city centre.

Salford Quays

Salford Quays is an area of Salford in Greater Manchester, England, near the end of the Manchester Ship Canal. Previously the site of Manchester Docks, it became one of the first and largest urban regeneration projects in the United Kingdom following the closure of the dockyards in 1982. At their height the Manchester Docks were the third busiest port in Britain, but due to containerisation and the limit placed on vessel size by the ship canal, the docks declined swiftly during the 1970s. The docks finally closed in 1982 resulting in the loss of 3,000 jobs.

In 1984 Salford City Council acquired Salford Docks from the Ship Canal Company with the use of a derelict land grant. The area was rebranded as Salford Quays, redevelopment by principle developers Urban Waterside began in 1985 under the Salford Quays Development Plan.

In 2007, it was confirmed that the BBC would be moving five of its departments to a new development on Pier 9, to be called MediaCityUK. The MediaCityUK project is being developed by Peel Holdings Group. The departments to be moved are BBC Children’s, BBC Children’s Learning, BBC Sport, BBC Radio Five Live, and parts of BBC Future Media and Technology (including a small number from BBC R&D), involving about 2,300 staff. The move, expected to be completed by 2011, marks a major decentralisation of the corporation’s operations, and will represent the BBC’s largest presence outside of London. The arrival of the BBC is expected to attract other media, broadcasting, and filmmaking companies to the area.

It is claimed that MediaCityUK will create up to 10,000 jobs and add £1bn to the regional economy over 5 years.

Some of the first developments in Salford Quays were residential, initial builds consisting of traditional low-rise flats and town houses in Grain Wharf and Merchants Quay. As the area has prospered, more high-rise buildings have been constructed to increase housing density on the naturally limited pier space. Because of this premium on space, apartments have also been constructed on the opposite side of Trafford Road to the Quays.

Part of the success of Salford Quays is its Metrolink route to Manchester city centre which was opened in 1999, and its link to Eccles which opened in 2000. The section of the Eccles Line from Pomona to Broadway serves the Salford Quays area. Trams operate every 12 minutes throughout the day and every 12–15 minutes on Sundays. Commuter services into Salford Quays are often extremely busy, and the Eccles Metrolink line faces many delays, frequently due to vandalism around the Langworthy Road area. Current bus services are patchy and infrequent to and from The Quays. A new Metrolink station is due to open at Mediacity:uk in 2010.


In 1979 Castlefield was designated a conservation area due to its wealth of historic buildings and canals which although valuable were mostly derelict, with much of the land belonging to the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

The designation flagged up the area’s potential, although property owners initially found difficulty in obtaining private sector development funding. The 1982 City Centre Local Plan actively supported the opening of the Museum of Science and Industry as a flagship project, and Castlefield’s self-nomination as Britain’s first Urban Heritage Park in 1983, coupled with its conservation area status, led to £40m of public sector funding for regeneration.

In 1988 the Central Manchester Development Corporation (CMDC) was created to formulate a regeneration policy for nearly 187ha of central Manchester (approximately 40% of the city centre), which included Castlefield, and to pump-prime private sector development using Government grants. CMDC’s proposals were based on the City Centre Local Plan, and its mixed-use approach to Castlefield’s revitalisation included several key aims – strengthening the tourism base, consolidating and supporting business activity and establishing a vibrant residential community were to accompany the imaginative and sensitive conservation and enhancement of listed buildings, canals, viaducts and spaces, and all was to be achieved with high standards of urban design.

A wide range of grants to aid in building refurbishment and landscaping was provided by CMDC for projects such as Merchants Warehouse and Middle Warehouse, which attracted private investment and development partnerships. Several significant development projects, including Eastgate, Merchants Warehouse and Dukes 92, were undertaken by local entrepreneur Jim Ramsbottom, through his Castlefield Estates company. They employed a philosophy of high quality restoration of old buildings for commercial and residential accommodation, rather than new build, which accorded well with both the City Council’s and CMDC’s approach.

The Castlefield Management Company was created in 1992 as a non-profit company to provide services and events as well as maintain the environmental quality of the area. An Urban Ranger service was set up to assist visitors, guide tours and oversee the Urban Heritage Park. Many of the key projects proposed by the CMDC during its eight years’ existence, including hotel, housing and leisure developments, an interpretation and information centre, environmental works and improved parking facilities have now been realised. Visitors soon flowed in, attracted by the industrial heritage elements, but also by tours of Granada Television Studios.
Eastlands Manchester

In the shadow of Manchester’s gleaming glass architecture, a £2 billion regeneration programme immediately east of the city centre is making its own mark according to eminent urban regeneration guru, Professor Michael Parkinson. In a report published today he describes New East Manchester (NEM) as ‘a very good example of a truly comprehensive urban regeneration company’.

Four years on from successfully hosting the Commonwealth Games, a catalyst for the regeneration of this part of the city, NEM is driving forward the transformation of an area nearly 2,000 hectares in size with public and private sector investment totalling an average of £200 million a year. The report highlights the fact that the hosting of the Commonwealth Games together with the City Council prioritising east Manchester has been critical to the success of the programme so far. East Manchester has infact ‘added value’ to the economic success of the city centre over the past decade.

Covering an area just east of the city centre to the boundary with Tameside, the strategic framework for east Manchester links in to Manchester City Council’s overall vision and strategy for Manchester and the city region.

Now in its sixth year, the urban regeneration company is on track to achieve its target to build 12,500 homes in its first 10-15 years, with more than 3,500 new homes already completed or on site and a further 6,000 in the pipeline. In the first five years more than 3,000 jobs have been created or safeguarded, unemployment is down from 14.2 per cent to 5.7 per cent and 500 local companies supported. The area has two new primary schools and two state-of-the art health clinics are near completion.

Professor Michael Parkinson, commenting on New East Manchester Ltd, said: “The success of New East Manchester tells us a lot about how we should manage our hard-pressed urban areas in future. NEM provides many important lessons about the processes, people, politics, and powers that are required to achieve successful urban regeneration. It is a very good example of a truly comprehensive urban regeneration company. Their ability to make a real difference to both the physical and social environment of this important part of the city in a relatively short space of time is remarkable and pays testament to the working relationship between New East Manchester and their funding partners Manchester City Council, NWDA and English Partnerships and the private sector. This is not only a fine example of best practice but raises the bar for urban regeneration.”

Robert Hough, Chairman of New East Manchester Ltd said: “We were very fortunate to have Professor Michael Parkinson undertake this work. As a leading figure in urban regeneration, we could not have found anyone better placed to conduct our review. Our task is to regenerate a huge area of former industrial concentration, very close to the centre of one of the most dynamic cities in the UK. Our holistic approach is clearly working. We have achieved a tremendous amount but there is still a great deal more to do to ensure we leave a lasting legacy for the communities who themselves have contributed so much. Vital investment needs to continue to guarantee a sustainable future for the area.”

Paul Spooner, Regional Director of English Partnerships said: “NEM works to a well developed strategy and sees the bigger picture, which this report clearly indicates. Partnership work, across both the public and private sector, is also key to success. Without it regeneration on this scale simply cannot be achieved. English Partnerships is pleased to continue to support NEM and the URC programme nationally.”

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency said: “New East Manchester is a real success story for England’s Northwest. This report highlights the impressive scale of innovative, high impact regeneration activity that has taken place in East Manchester since its establishment which is creating significant numbers of new jobs, levering in major investment and importantly, greatly improving the quality of life for local residents. It is through strong and effective partnership working that we have been able to achieve these levels of success and I am sure that East Manchester will continue to witness these benefits for many years to come.”

Projects highlighted in the report as examples of successful regeneration include Central Park, Sportcity, New Islington and Beswick Neighbourhood Planning and the Education Programme.

Central Park – will ultimately provide 1.4 million sq ft of business space and generate up to 10,000 new jobs. The report stated that “many of the key goals on site, acquisition, remediation and provision of a high quality business park with good maintenance arrangements have been successfully achieved”.

Sportcity – thanks to the successful delivery of the Commonwealth Games, Sportcity became an important catalyst for regeneration in east Manchester. In the report Sportcity is described as becoming “a new regional magnet and district centre”.

Beswick Neighbourhood Planning – on completion, over 1,100 homes will have been created alongside a new high school and improved retail facilities. Professor Parkinson remarked that Beswick “is an example in microcosm of the added value that NEM brings to the overall regeneration programme – pulling together funding partners, engaging private sector and attempting to secure holistic redevelopment”.

New Islington – a 12.5 hectare site featuring an eco park, new canals, apartments, houses and a health clinic. Professor Parkinson observed that New Islington “has positively influenced private sector attitudes”.

Education Programme – From a baseline pass rate of 19 per cent A*-C grades, educational attainment has risen dramatically to over 50 per cent. The report stated the education programme is “one of NEM’s success stories, with its multi-stranded approach meeting virtually all its targets”. Two east Manchester primary schools were included in the top five most improved schools nationally in the Government’s recent performance league table. St Anne’s RC Primary School in Ancoats topped the table, while a mile down the road, Nicholas Varley Community School in Miles Platting came fifth, making them two of the ‘most improved schools’ in the country, having made the most sustained improvement since 2003.

Over the past ten years New East Manchester Ltd (NEM) has been working to transform East Manchester into a location of choice to live, work and invest.

Key achievements from 2000 – 2010: Rebuilding the economic base

  • 197,000 sq m of new commercial floor space built
  • Nearly 1,300 local companies supported by business advisors
  • Completion of Eastlands, building on the successful delivery of the Commonwealth Games held in 2002
  • Major investment at Central Park
  • Development of the Sharp Project underway

Helping local people who can work to work

  • More than 6,200 residents have been assisted into employment
  • Nearly 600 local people given free training through the East Manchester Construction Training Centre
  • Over 180 local people have started their own businesses with the advice and support of NEM
  • More than 1,000 East Manchester residents recruited and trained through partnership programmes with local employers including Tesco, Asda
  • and Matalan
  • Currently supporting Morrisons and Fine Lady Bakeries with their recruitment
  • The percentage of working age residents claiming benefits has reduced from 40% in 2000 to under 33%

Restructuring the housing market

  • Nearly 5,000 new homes built
  • 6,700 properties improved and thousands more underway
  • The creation of family neighbourhoods, including 3 new shopping
  • centres, 2 new health centres and 7 new children’s centres
  • 10 parks improved and 12 community gardens created
  • House prices have risen by 400% since 2000 (from £20,000 to £100,000)
  • The proportion of people wanting to move from the area has reduced from 40% to 24%
  • The population has increased by over 4,000 since 2001

Improving the physical appearance

  • £24 million investment in the Ashton Canal corridor
  • £45 million investment in leisure amenities including Medlock Valley and Clayton Vale
  • £106 million investment in sport facilities including those at Eastlands
  • Revival of high streets
  • £400 million public and private sector investment into Ancoats and New Islington with major infrastructure and public realm improvements
  • There are now six Green Flag Award winning parks in the area

Improving the education offered

  • Secondary school attendance is at its highest level in 10 years
  • Three high schools rebuilt and a fourth under construction to be opened in September 2010
  • Two new primary schools and two more underway
  • 66% of pupils are now gaining 5+A* – C at GCSE compared to only 21% in 2001.  An increase of over 200%
  • GCSE and Key Stage 2 results are above Manchester average