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<b>Monday 18 February:</b> Ashton New Road closure, mortgage mayhem and Band on the Wall underway

Published on February 18th 2008.

A BLAZE has forced an industrial site to close in East Manchester. Ashton New Road is currently closed in both directions after a garage near an industrial unit on Stokes Street, Clayton caught fire. An evacuation zone has had to be created in the area through fears the presence of oxyacetylene cylinders in the building could spark a huge explosion. Motorists have been urged to avoid the area.

MORTGAGE debt is on the increase in Greater Manchester. Reports confirm that up to 9,000 homes were repossessed following over-due mortgage payments in 2007. The cause of the rise is said to be increasing interest rates and is also causing problems for homlessness agencies who fear the problem is only going to get worse.

CONSTRUCTION has begun to transform Manchester’s Band On The Wall. The live venue is being made into a space for music for the 21st Century according to organisers. Band On The Wall, was awarded nearly £4m in combined awards by Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Manchester City Council to transform it into a revitalised venue with more resources and facilities. Work is due to be complete in early 2009.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON is hopeful that win over Arsenal on Saturday will psychologically scar their league aspirations. He told MUTV: “I hope this result has an impact on the title race. When Arsenal come here in April they know they're in for a really good game. This result has certainly whetted our appetite for that game.”

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