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Bye Bye To 'The Street'

Confidential has another whinge as new development plans reveal no room for former Coronation Street set

Written by . Published on August 13th 2014.

Bye Bye To 'The Street'

BRITAIN’S most famous street looks set for the chop following the unveiling of plans for the redevelopment of Granada Studios, which will begin in autumn 2015.

"Attempts have been made to get the set listed but English Heritage refused on the grounds that most of the buildings are simply facades and the set was less than 30 years old."

Last week during the unveiling, Allied London chief Mike Ingall confirmed Confidential suspicions that the set would not form part of any new development - see here.

"What of Coronation Street?" asked Confidential at the Old Granada Studios site. "Well," replied Ingall, the man that brought us Spinningfields. "Do you see it on the plans?"

Allied London bought the 13.5 acre site in partnership with Manchester City Council last summer for £26.5m.

Allied London's new plans for the former ITV siteAllied London's new plans for the former ITV site

In the short term the space has been used as a temporary arts and cultural destination for Manchester, featuring pop-up markets, fairs, 'street food' events and even 350 tonnes of sand for a ITV's World Cup beach football stadium.

Under the new plans half of the production studios will be retained for arts and cultural events such as these, including the city's burgeoning Buy Art Fair at the close of September.

'The Street', however, looks doomed.

Whether you're a fan or not, this makes absolutely no sense to Confidential.

We've made the case on numerous occasions that the Coronation Street Tour should remain open as long as feasibly possible, given the economic benefits that it brings to the city and its cultural significance.

In the first two months after re-opening the Coronation Street set in March 2014, 100,000 people took to the cobbles. In which case, it's fair to assume five months later that the number must be reaching quarter of a million (we did contact the management but they failed to provide us with up-to-date figures).

The RoversThe Rovers

250,000 visitors to the city centre in five months, most travelling to Manchester from across the country, some even internationally (Corrie has a healthy following in both Canada and New Zealand), all spending their lovely tourist money on transport, hotels, food and drink.

If we take the average ticket price at £15, add a very conservative £15 for general spend in the city, then the economic boost over that five month period has been £7.5m. That's nearly £20m for the year.

So why exactly is this massive tourist draw and a site of huge cultural significance to the city, instantly recognisable to millions of people (viewing figures peaking at nearly 10m in 2014), going to be torn down?

We fail to understand why the City Council and the tourism authorities would not be fighting to keep this attraction going for as long as it is making a decent profit, providing jobs and bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

The Old Granada siteThe Old Granada site

Coronation Street Tour management were unable or unwilling to tell us if the attraction would be allowed to remain open beyond its current autumn deadline. Such a move could be possible given that work on Phase One of the development will not begin until autumn 2015. Allied London are yet to formally submit their plans for approval.

Attempts have been made to get the set listed but English Heritage refused on the grounds that most of the buildings are simply facades and the set was less than 30 years old. This means that Allied London is under no legal obligation to preserve the set in situ.

At worst, Allied London should be looking to incorporate a nod to Corrie in their new plans. Perhaps a ginnel named after the soap within the 'Village' area of the designs, boasting original cobbles and a store frontage or two. Come on now guys, be reasonable.

Confidential's Sleuth perhaps summed up the ludicrous situation in 'Otter Bigger Than Coronation Street':

"Sleuth is still puzzled, given the cultural significance to millions of people, why English Heritage has refused to 'list' and thus protect the site. They have said: "The criteria against which we must assess the architectural significance of buildings - or in this case, a television set - is extremely strict. The set as it stands today is an active reminder of the long-running television programme, rather than a survival of an earlier era of television productions."

'Up yours Corrie''Up yours Corrie'

"English Heritage clearly think there are more significant sites, such as the hut in a remote part of Devon where Henry Williamson wrote Tarka the OtterEnglish Heritage announced last week it had been given official protection, 'not because of any great architectural merit, but because of its link with a renowned author'.

"So Tarka the Otter hut, hard to get too, fanbase of a few thousand (at a push), listed. Coronation Street in the heart of a major city fanbase in their millions upon millions, not listed. Neither of architectural merit, according to English Heritage, yet they still decide to save one of the two sites.

"Hypocrisy. Sleuth is no fan of Corrie but sometimes the open and outrageous snobbery of middle class institutions such as English Heritage is appalling."

Hear, hear Sleuth old boy.


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47 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

Whatever the arguments about retaining or not, the fact remains that a TV set isn't a building. Do we list theatre sets?

AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

Well said ManCon. We shouldn't even be having this conversation. Only in Manchester...

AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

Tourism is very powerful advert for a city and having interesting mixed environments creates a sense of place - that mystical quality that is more than the number of shops and bars a city has. Coronation St is something unique to Manchester and Salford, it has something that the den of corporate blandness called Spinningfields makes really bad attempts to copy already.

GimboidAugust 13th 2014.

English Heritage are guilty of inconsistency, not hypocrisy.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

... and down right negligence where Library Walk and London Road Fire Station are concerned. They are a destructive QUANGO that has been complicit in numerous planning disasters and heritage vandalism in the city. Name and shame these people.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

Why don't you name and shame them,if you are so sure your case?.Or do you prefer to throw mud for the sake of it?.

Mark FullerAugust 14th 2014.

I think Anon.no. 1 and the above article in general alludes to a perceived anti-northern cultural bias. The tendency to ignore, denigrate and belittle the north is pervasive and entrenched, and often unconscious. Some of the most egregious luvvies and snobs are those originally from the north now safely ensconced in a fashionable London suburb: some b.b.c. presenters spring to mind. Personally, I make a point of refuting most of the cultural memes wafting up like toxic farts from the establishment.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Rather you would struggle ANON 2 to argue the case that English Heritage’s support for things like Library Walk, London Road Fire Station, demolishing Century House, some of the new Ancoats & NQ Buildings and even the tawdry new Chet’s Music School in the supposed preserved “medieval” quarter (blocking views of the Listed Victoria Station facade demolishing the Palatine Buildings) has been anything other than regressive. Their silent acquiescence has undermined many of the “Conservation Zones” and value of our heritage and Grade Listed buildings assigned by a more enlightened Council leadership. That is not “mud-slinging;” it is highlighting the covering the city in architectural excrement. PS. Naming and shaming might start with Sir Laurie Magnus as current Chairman of English Heritage. He is an Investment Banker by trade which may explain a lot.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

It'll be out of date soon and once people have seen it once they'll be no need for them to see it again.

Poster BoyAugust 13th 2014.

Research task #1; Confirm ITV's position...

JoanAugust 13th 2014.

I'm guessing that even if Allied London were interested in preserving it, Granada / ITV wouldn't be interested in letting go of control of such a key icon of the brand. I wouldn't be surprised to find that demolition is written into the sales contract. I'd like to see it stay, but agree that many people only want to visit once.

17 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

Coronation Street was a street in Salford not Manchester,surely that's where any recognition should be.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

So Joan, if people only want to visit once, keep it open until visitor numbers wane. But think of the visitor revenue lost to the city if it is closed before people have lost interest. If the land was needed for phase 1 of the redevelopment it would be more understandable. As it is, this part of the regeneration may take years to come to fruition. Why not exploit "The Street" and use it as a magnet to bring people into the area. The bizarre thing is, they had to build what is effectively a stage set in the Oast House to encourage people into Spinningfields. They have a ready made attraction and want to knock it down without getting the full benefit of it. I am not a fan of the show, neither do I like football, but can appreciate what football has done for this city. Likewise I can appreciate what "The Street" has too. Could it be that the image doesn't fit?

rinkydinkAugust 14th 2014.

Salford is in Manchester

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Coronation Strret was set in Salford and a product of a writer from Salford.You clearly know nothing about the history of the programme.Salford is NOT in the city of Manchester,it's a city in its own right.You might not like that,you might think it all should come within Manchester,but at the moment it does not.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Almost no-one outside Salford cares though. The overwhelming majority of people, when asked where they associate Coronation Street with, will say 'Manchester'.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Manchester is always appropriating the cultural achievements of other towns and cities just because it is the economic regional centre and has the power to do it through the media.When the story is not positive like crime then Manchester will not claim ownership and it will be Salford gangsters or criminal.From Tony Warren Tony Wilson so much of Manchester culture is really the product of Salford.

Jonathan SchofieldAugust 14th 2014.

Salford is in Manchester

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Salford and manchester are connected economically, socially and culturally in the same way Westminster and Lambeth are; two parts of the same city. The same cannot be said for the disparate components of Merseyside however: Liverpool, Wirral, Runcorn are only weakly connected having stronger links with other towns and boroughs.

Sir KennethAugust 14th 2014.

Salford is not in Manchester. It's part of Greater Manchester which is a Metropolitan County.

HbiffAugust 14th 2014.

In the real world Salford is in Manchester. In parochial dullard world, it's not.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

The rest of the world regards Salford as part of Manchester. Only in Salford do they think they are not.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Salford is in Greater Manchester,just like Bolton.Neither are in Manchester and both despise Manchester and don't want to be in Manchester.

James SmithAugust 14th 2014.

Oh god, not this again, seriously? Ok, Salford is not in Manchester, I suspect most people in Manchester wish it wasn't, fancy moving it 30 miles or so away and doing us all a favour? If there is one blight on this area its that hellhole. Please get can you not move it away? And then most of us might have a month or two without getting burgled, car nicked, threatened, or have to put up with seeing utter scum wandering around our streets in tracksuits with their hands down their pants everyday. Yeah, Salford great place. Build a wall around it for me. Oh yeah, and Tony Warren was from Pendlebury, a Lancashire town that's as Salford as Salford is Manchester. Or does that not count?

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Back in the the 80s before vast government and E U investment Manchester was a hell hole,that was not even listed in most of UK travel guides of the time.Moss Side,Hulme,Cheetham Hill were so rough,most people were scared to go there.Now with gentrification Manchester lords itself over the rest of Greater Manchester,as if they are nothing,like some dump in Eastern Europe.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Why are some people obsessed with the whole Salford and Manchester thing? Do you think the people from the City of Westminster endlessly try and distance themselves from London? To 99.9% of people Salford is in Manchester.

rinkydinkAugust 15th 2014.

Salford benefits massively from being in Manchester

ShybaldbuddhistAugust 15th 2014.

I agree RINKYDINK. Everyone benefits, strength in unity and all that! I say Salford, Manchester and everyone i know does.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2014.

It's not 'the' original street though. Look it up.

Nick NameAugust 14th 2014.

Why is everyone being so quiet on this subject? A mention of Piccadilly Gardens being a dump or it being unsafe after midnight in town and everyone comes out of the woodwork running to defend Manchester. How can you get rid of a TV set that has been home to a programme that has been watched by millions and millions of people for generations? It has fans all over the world. It's as if no one has any idea of what a tourist attraction is. I've visited the Vatican, Pompeii and the coliseum. I've done it once so I've no need to go again, so lets flatten them and build some offices? Stupid argument. This is a big part of our culture, it's synonymous with the area. It draws people in and they spend money. I hope to god that behind the scenes someone is fighting to keep this, once it's gone it's gone.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Sad that there's no protest from the cast or Granada.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Since when did everyone defend Piccadilly Gardens?

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Didn't you read Mr Karney on here saying he likes the gardens? I remember him saying it.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Err yes, and if I remember rightly, most comments suggested he was talking bollocks.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

But it's just a TV set that has reached the end of its life. They've built another one in the Quays haven't they? Why keep this one? All you can do is walk along it. It's hardly Disneyland is it?

ShybaldbuddhistAugust 15th 2014.

Well over 200,000 people have paid to walk along it so it must have some appeal? There are all sorts of events that could take place there and i think it's been approved for weddings, so it's clearly making money. Stupid to get rid of it imo.

Kevin PeelAugust 14th 2014.

I'd like to see it stay - keep up the fight, ManCon - planning permission hasn't been granted yet!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Assume there'll be a very details heritage assessment with the applicaiton?

AnonymousAugust 14th 2014.

Ludicracy? That's a new one to me. However, I'm never impressed with the ridiculacy of those pedants who object to the evolution of our language so I welcome the new word.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldAugust 14th 2014.

We're not playing your ludicrous games. But thanks.

JoanAugust 15th 2014.

Not quite yet. Just heard they're applying for planning permission to stay open until Jan 2016.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Thank goodness for that. As I wrote earlier, think of the lost revenue to the city if it were to close before visitor numbers waned. It is win win if they stay open another year or two. By then, I agree, visitor numbers will drop off and it will be no longer worth keeping.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Didn't the original Granada Studios Tour close after footfall declined? Probably the same with this. In a few years it'll be tumbleweed...

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

To 2nd anon No it didn't close because footfall declined, it closed because the show went from 3 to 5 episodes a week. The filming schedule meant that it was impractical to carry on with the tours as they stood. It was financially prohibitive to make the changes to the tour to enable it to continue. It is a common misconception that visitor numbers dropped. I am unsure where this misinformation came from. I was part of the original tour management, and can confirm that it certainly was not the case.

AnonymousAugust 19th 2014.

Its simple - the revenue that this site is currently making is nothing compared to the revenue that will have been forecast from the new development - there will be more jobs created as well as the prospect of bringing bigger/better companies to the area, this in itself is a winner as it will enhance the Mancheste market place and the Manchester economy. As they say green areas dont make money hence why in the last 2-3yrs Spinningfields has lost most of its green areas, wont be long before the Lawns are ripped up to make way for more office blocks (this was originally part of the Spinningfield project). Let's face it, once you have been on the tour there isnt any need to go back again.

Ian ChristieAugust 20th 2014.

Seems to me there are 3 possible futures for the Corrie Street set: (1) Demolition as proposed at the mo (2) Retention of the street facades and repositioning of the interiors from where they are at the moment in the Granada studios to behind the facades so that whole street, inside and out, becomes a visitor attraction with entrance fees and guides as at present (brilliant, knowledgeable and humorous guides too) or (3) Retention of the facades with the space behind them converted or rebuilt into the sort of small business units envisaged for many parts of the St John’s Quarter Master Plan area and with only the Rovers Return housing the studio interior and becoming a pub - under this option the street would become like any other public street in the Master Plan area, it would just happen to be called Coronation Street (which no doubt would attract many small businesses and visitors) and would happen to have a pub called the Rovers Return on one corner. For the life of me I can’t see how options 2 or 3 couldn’t appeal to Allied London, the City Council, Marketing Manchester or even ITV. In option 3 the set wouldn’t be preserved simply as a tourist attraction in competition with the new MediaCityUk set but rather integrated for ever into the fabric of the city as a living and changing element of it. We could still walk the cobbled street where Ena Sharples, Annie Walker, Bet Lynch, Vera Duckworth, Ken and Deidre Barlow, Mike Baldwin, Elsie Tanner, Gail Tilsley and many others characters have walked before us. Seems a no brainer to me.

high-spinAugust 21st 2014.

Maybe there is more to be done. I was at home yesterday and caught 10 mins of This Morning on ITV when they were discussing the soaps. They discussed the fact that the Corrie site was to be demolished and said that it was a sad decision that would be sorely regretted in the future. If the ITV presenters think it's a poor decision, why can't we get national support? An advert to come and visit the site was shown shortly after ...

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