A6 Partnership / Stockport Road Corridor
A6 Stockport Road Corridor SRB 3 Initiative
The A6 Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) Initiative was financed through the third round of the Government's SRB programme and ran from 1997 until 2004. The boundaries of the SRB area focused on the A6 Stockport Road, which connects Stockport and Manchester and forms a significant gateway to the city centre. The A6 SRB area principally incorporated the three wards of Ardwick, Longsight and Levenshulme. These three wards differ substantially both in the nature of their land use and housing and in their socio-economic composition. They are also perceived as distinct neighbourhoods by those who live in them.
You can download a map of the A6 Stockport Road Corridor SRB 3 Initiative.
Given the level of socio-economic need highlighted by the baseline analysis of the area, six principal strategic objectives were identified at the outset of the programme:
- the development of initiatives aimed to enhance the levels of employment, education and skills of the A6 area residents;
- sustaining economic growth through wealth creation and support for existing businesses;
- developing the physical environment of the area, respecting its traits and promoting good quality interventions;
- improvements to the housing stock and housing conditions;
- targeting initiatives to the ethnic communities in the area; and
- tackling crime and promoting community safety initiatives.
The implementation of these six objectives was sought through a threefold thematic programme: economic (on which out-turn expenditure was £2,180,895); social (£1,985,658); and physical (£4,265,654). SRB resources over the lifetime of the programme amounted to some £9 million.
The programme was successful in attracting considerable additional resources, especially from other government initiatives and from EU sources. In total, this meant that £66,595,061 went into the area, 13% of it was SRB spending, 27% private and 59% public. Every pound of SRB spending was associated with £4.4 from the public sector and £1.2 from the private sector.
The evaluation of outputs from the programme show that 39% of the outputs underachieved their targets, to varying degrees, 57% of the outputs overachieved their targets, and the remaining 4% fully met their targeted figures.
An analysis of outcomes in the A6 area focused on the measurement of socio-economic changes, drawing on data from both the census and administrative sources. Between 1991 and 2001, the total population in the A6 area increased by 2% with slight falls in the proportions of children between 0 and 9 years and people aged 65 and more. The ethnic composition of the area changed substantially, with an increase of 13% of Asian population and a 15% decrease in the proportion of whites. During the decade, fewer households lacked access to a car, and 5% more households were in Housing Association/Social Landlord tenure, whilst 4% fewer rented from the council. The rates of economic activity decreased both for the A6 and Manchester as a whole, nevertheless unemployment, both total and young people, has decreased significantly following the national trend.
The changes measured through administrative data between c1998 and c2002 confirm these generally positive trends in outcomes, with some exceptions. A small increase in the proportion of Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance claimants is registered in Longsight, Levenshulme, and Ardwick, with the latter having rates higher than the comparator areas. The proportion of Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance claimants increased in all A6 wards, whilst the percentage of Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance claimants decreased in all wards, except Longsight. In terms of education, all A6 wards have registered a decrease in the proportion of pupils achieving below level 4 in the Key Stage 2 exams and have increased, even though slightly, in the proportion of students accessing University.
The area appears to have become more desirable as a place in which to live. This is reflected in the increase in average house prices and the volume of property sales. Furthermore, the data obtained by the largest social landlord in the area suggest that level of turnover of tenants has decreased, reflecting a higher level of residential stability across the area. Crime rates too have decreased, particularly burglaries and thefts from/of cars, whilst criminal damage rates appear to have increased both in the A6 and the city as a whole.
Attributing these changes to the operation of the A6 Initiative and its impact on the area would be too simplistic. Clearly, many of the changes simply reflect broader regional and national trends. Nevertheless, the fact that many of the positive changes in the A6 have exceeded those for the city as a whole suggests, at the least, that the SRB Initiative has been a valuable part of the package of interventions that have impacted on the area. In this respect, the evidence of a more buoyant housing market is especially significant since it suggests that perceptions of the area, not least in terms of falling crime rates and the improved environment, have grown more positive during the lifetime of the SRB.
The A6 Initiative has played a useful role in focusing attention on the needs of the three wards of Ardwick, Longsight, and Levenshulme. For a programme that worked with very limited funds, it has left some valuable legacies:
- the undoubted success of the Northmoor Home Zone project with its innovative development of refurbished design to the terraced streets and housing;
- the partial physical improvements to the Anson/Hamilton estates;
- the success of the Bangladeshi-based IT computing project which has a solid record of training a wide range of local people;
- the Ardwick PFI scheme and the start of the Grove Village development;
- a wide range of small community-based projects which have encouraged greater participation in local affairs and strengthened local communities within the A6 Corridor;
- and the greater residential stability and desirability of the area, reflected both in lower levels of residential turn-over and rising sales and house prices.
The A6 Initiative has achieved some useful outputs over the course of its lifetime. The work of the partnership has left a legacy of valuable and strong relationships with a diversity of agents and organisations, facilitating the introduction and development of mainstreaming. The comparison of socio-economic circumstances before and after its work suggests that, in terms of residential attractiveness and stability, the area has improved, and that improvements in unemployment and educational attainment have either exceeded or at least kept pace with those in the wider city and the country as a whole.
Despite the small scale of SRB funding, the SRB programme has performed creditably.
There are obvious strengths from this legacy that should be built on in the future - not least the strong community input that underlay the Northmoor developments. Equally, there is unfinished business: for example, the challenge of developing community facilities in Levenshulme; the completion and rolling-out of the concept of the Quality Bus Corridor; and the need to encourage further business formation in the area and tackle the still high levels of unemployment.
Its work has left a legacy on which the City can build, not least in taking forward its new Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy. The City's current development of a ward-based approach to the co-ordination of service delivery should provide a helpful framework to tackle the different challenges and potentials of the three wards. The City's new framework for regeneration, guided by its Local Strategic Partnership, will provide a new structure through which the remaining challenges of the A6 area should be tackled in the wider context of south Manchester. It aims to develop strategies and to oversee the implementation of programmes through the work of the regeneration team and other agencies as part of the proposed Public Agencies Forums.