William Mitchell – Collyhurst

It’s April 2020 and I’m here again.

Having been before and before and before.

It’s lockdown so we can’t go far, so from home in Stockport to Collyhurst is within my daily exercise allowance.

There is talk of relocation for the diminutive Mitchell totem, but as of today no sign of any action – all is in abeyance.

What we do see is the encroachment of flora, cleaner air, low or no level human activity encourages growth between the cracks.

And at the base of the plinth

I took the opportunity to get in close.

Move around in a merry dance.

Quite something to spend time in an ever changing urban space – devoid of company, save for the calming sound of birdsong and the distant rumble of a distant train.

Eastford Square Collyhurst – Nobody Home

Stasis is the order of the day – the last stand for this forlorn stand of shops.

Once the realm of cobbles, railings, high rise arrivals and urban cowboys – an area overwhelmed by the weight of its past and the insubstantial promise of a sustainable future.

Where once productive and fulfilling lives were lived, buddleia now blooms, whilst thin grass entwines around forlorn fencing and betwixt ever widening cracks in the uneven paving.

Development in South Collyhurst will take the form of residential-led, family-focused neighbourhoods. We’ll be providing a variety of housing types and tenures to encourage diversity, along with a mix of social and community infrastructure that supports a family lifestyle in close proximity to the city centre.

Northern Gateway

There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.

William Jennings Bryan 1896

Indeed, You have turned the city into a heap of rubble, a fortified town into ruins; the fortress of strangers is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt.

Isiah 25:2

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.

Isiah 58:12

The putative William Mitchell cast concrete block stares stolidly at its surroundings, overseeing a slow and painful decline.

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

Manifesto of the Communist Party

There’s no business like no business – it’s no better out the back.

This is an unprecedented opportunity to deliver a significant residential-led development connecting the north to the centre of Manchester. Working with our partners we’re re-imagining the essential neighbourhoods of our city.

Rochdale Road – Manchester

Each and every time I wandered by, I wondered.

The whys and wherefores of your seemingly unknowable comings and goings.

Standing alone, aloof and unloved on the corner of Rochdale Road and Sudell Street.

Something was missing.

I was missing something.

1813

In 1813 there’s a field

1836

In 1836 something’s there, but not it’s you.

Yet.

1900

By 1900 the days of the two up, two downs are numbered – sanitary dwellings are the order of the day, plans are drawn up, the local council have decreed that workers dwellings are to be built.

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1905

1912

1932

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Local Image Collection

Known as Alexandra Place or The Dwellings.

You must have been home to many too many to recall, then you were gone again.

Save for one old triangle, refusing to jingle jangle to the modern dance.

I do not know what fate awaits you, I only know you must be strong.

A change is gonna come.

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Eastford Square Collyhurst – Slight Return

I’ve been here before and after.

After now seems further away, forever awaiting redevelopment – waiting.

No more Flower Pot Café and a warm welcome from Lee and the lads.

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Nearly nine years on – the shutters are down and nobody is home, save for the Lalley Centre – offering food, support and care to the community.

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Though Sister Rita Lee has now move on to pastures new.

The homes and shops remain resolutely shut, un-lived in and unloved, though the City plans to re-site the resident sculpture, the residents remain absent without leaving.

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Needwood Close – Collyhurst

Deep in the heart, just on the edge of central Manchester, there exists a dilemma.

Once a place of full employment and home occupation, time has not been kind to Collyhurst. Work is scarce and the area blighted by a reputation for crime and social problems. Yet it sits by an area of inner city wealth, economic expansion and a growing professional class.

The plan is to expand this growth outside of the fringes of city and into north Manchester, since 2008 this has been the stated aim of the local authority. Tram stops, academies, and retail parks apart, change seems slow to arrive.

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There is a chronic shortage of public funding and seemingly an absence of private capital and speculative development – life is elsewhere.

In the mean time there are properties tinned up awaiting a new dawn.

Needwood Close is one such example.

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Collyhurst

It’s the end of the road, for the middle of the street.

Needwood Close Collyhurst is closed.

An area that has suffered the slings, swings and arrows of failed PFI bids, absent partners and putative city fathers.

2012

After missing out on £252m of state investment when the Government cut the Homes and Communities Agency budget, Manchester is now trying another approach to deliver the much needed regeneration of Collyhurst.

As reported by Manchester Confidential

2014

The masterplan is part of Manchester Place, a joint initiative between Manchester City Council and the Homes & Communities Agency that looks to create a pipeline of development-ready sites to help the city meet its ambitious target of creating 55,000 new homes by 2027 as set out in the Manchester Residential Growth Prospectus.

Manchester Place will work with investors, such as Manchester Life, a £1bn, partnership between Manchester City Football Club and Abu Dhabi United Group, the privately owned investment company which also owns Manchester City Football Club, to bring 6,000 new homes to east Manchester over the next 10 years.

As outlined in Place North West

2016