Manchester City Council

Pragmatic not Perfect

Not often I talk about Hulme but this the second entry on the trot where it takes pride of place.

Regular travellers on Chester Road, Chorlton Road and the Mancunian Way will have seen the external transformation of four tower blocks in the St.George's part of Hulme. The work, carried out by City South Manchester Housing Trust , which is essentially a partnership between the Council and tenants, is matched by refurbishment of the inside, making them fantastic places to live. This afternoon I take part, with pleasure and pride, in a ceremony to mark the work's completion. I've spent a lot of time in Hulme recently for reasons that should be obvious from my last post. As somebody centrally involved in Hulme Regeneration I was very pleased to see how well the rebuilding that took place in the central parts of the area is holding up, in some places after almost twenty years. At that time very little was done to areas like Monton Street, St George's, and Shawgreen, and it is great to see that they now are getting the major investment they need through City South.

A bit of a housing day as before going to Hulme I go to Moston to look at the houses Redrow are building up there. Good product, proving popular and very affordable, especially when shared equity is factored in. But they, and more importantly their prospective buyers, are suffering a little from City Council planning requirements. This isn't meaningless red tape but important rules about accessability. However we have to be sure that we are not being over prescriptive and so our Regen and planning people will now sit down with Redrow to look at solutions for problems that also impact on other housing developments in the city. Over the last few years it's been hard enough to get houses built without making it unnecessarily harder.

There are 10 responses to “Pragmatic not Perfect ”

  1. ABU Says:

    I have to say i have noticed the refurb of the Tower blocks at St Georges. When they were first stripped I was assuming it was for demolition but the work that has gone on is fantastic and shows what can be done with old stock. Any plans for any further renewal…perhaps up the road on the ‘7 sisters’?

  2. Dave Bishop Says:

    I regularly travel through Hulme and Moss Side on the bus and I have to tell you, Sir Richard, that they fill me with deep gloom. I'm sure that they are inhabited by lots of decent and interesting people but physically these districts are dull, dull, dull! Very few gardens, very few shops and very few green spaces - just lots of brick boxes to 'store' people in. And I believe, to add insult to injury, one of the only scraps of green space - Birley Fields - is to be built on!

  3. Amina Lone Says:

    Regarding your comments Dave, I think they are not only offensive to residents in Hulme and Moss Side, they show a sneer of snobbery and narrow-mindedness. If you cared to venture out of your comfort zone, you would find that Hulme is a vibrant, bustling ward which is a microcosm of the city. Having knocked most doors in the ward over the last six weeks, as well as having the experience of working with many residents through my day job, I have witnessed a sense of pride and belonging that is heart-warming. Hulme boasts little delights like Britannia Basin, ( where there is a waiting list for private rental property), St Mary's area, Aquarius estate and Monton Street estate. The investment and improvements by City South Housing in the latter estates have uplifted the estates and resulted in a surge of housing applications. Whilst there are many things that could and will continue to be improved, Hulme is far from being dull or as you suggest a 'concrete jungle'. Might I be so forward as to suggest next time you catch the bus into town, you get off a few stops earlier and walk through Hulme Park which incidentally is recognised as an example of best practice in park design by CABE space, the national body dedicated to encouraging excellence in the planning, design, management and maintenance of parks and public space in England's towns and cities.

  4. William Says:

    I live in Hulme there are plenty of gardens when you know were to look we have an enclosed courtyard with great gardens well looked after by tennents, so yes its no leafy subhurb but it is home to us.

  5. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    Why is it that people that tend to criticise and denegrate parts of our City are those that are either passing through an area and don't actually reside there or have preconceived ideas gained from hearsay and not knowledge. Passing through an area on a bus or by car doesn't give anyone the right to make snapshot decisions that tar a complete ward or more with the same brush. I live in, and am proud to live in, an area of North Manchester, Miles Platting to be precise, that has a reputation for being an unsavoury, tough and unsafe area of the City. I have lived there for over 30 years and can honestly say, from experience and not a bus window, that there are some parts that are unsightly and some residents of the area that are unwelcome, work shy and petty criminals. They are in the minority but they get the publicity not the vast majority of residents that are law abiding, hard working, salt of the earth residents. The huge ongoing regeneration of the area that borders East Manchester and New Islington has seen the early beginnings of a new horizon for Miles Platting with refurbed property and lots of new build housing and apartments that has given the residents an even bigger sense of pride in their area. So if you want to criticise or put an area down get off your bus and out of your car and visit the wider area not the just the bus route you use to either enter the City Centre or return home at night.

  6. Squidge Says:

    Dave Bishop, I believe you have mistaken Moss Side for somewhere else. You say there are very few shops in Moss Side and Hulme. Have you not seen the retail park with the giant Asda store? Have you never seen Princess Parkway with it's wide variety of shops? I recommend that you get off the bus and walk through these areas before passing judgement.

  7. Dave Bishop Says:

    Curious, isn't it, that though I went to great lengths not to denigrate the good people of Hulme and Moss Side I'm still labelled as a snob? Mind you when I receive such extreme reactions to my comments I get more than a sneaking suspicion that I might be on to something!
    I still believe that these areas, which ought to be vibrant and interesting, are dull and depressing. I feel that that is not the fault of the people who live there but the fault of the planners and architects who seem to believe that only their grand, drawing board schemes have any meaning and the actual street level environment is irrelevant. Perhaps it is they who should 'get off the bus' occasionally (or out of the Porsche and the Merc, perhaps?).

  8. JS Says:

    Give Dave a break. He made some very valid points without denigrating Hulme or it's Residents. I have seen massive transformation in the area having studied, worked, shopped and travelled through the area over the last 20 years. There is little visible green and public space (one reason why residents campaigned against the building of offices and felling of the Birley tree). There are some great examples and very poor ones - abandoned land on Leaf St being claimed by squatters, graffitti in other parks. The crescents were terrible but they have been replaced with small, poorly constructed high density housing much of which is showing wear and tear - and as Dave says is dull. Hulme is an area of great character not reflected in the built environment. Perhaps the new Councillor (wasn't green and leafy Chorlton the first choice?) could look at improvements rather than jumping on non offensive comments. You refer to 'little delights' with the clear implication that these are the exception - the whole of the area deserves to be a delight not just the most visible parts!

  9. Amina Lone Says:

    I am not going to repeat myself, suffice to say that you are 'not on to something' Dave. If you cannot understand that labelling an area you do not reside in as 'dull and depressing' and the impact this labelling will have on the people who live in these will take more than comments on a blog to enlighten you.
    JS, thank you for your advice on how I may fill my time being a councillor. However I should point out, cheap political shots do weaken your argument somewhat.

  10. Dave Bishop Says:

    Dear Ms Lone,

    I still think that Hulme and Moss Side are dull and depressing - and I'm sorry if that upsets you or anyone who lives there.
    On the other hand I don't think that the people who live in Hulme and Moss Side are in any way dull and depressing - I just think that they deserve a better environment - as do we all!
    Sadly, we live in a world in which the environment is seen as irrelevant and can be concreted over with no consequences whatsoever. Every time I travel through Hulme and Moss Side I see a microcosm of the way the whole world is going (including Chorlton where I live). In my opinion we all have an absolute right to live in a rich, healthy and diverse environment and it is an outrage that the world is being rashly destroyed and impoverished at an increasing rate.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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