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The Grouch – 09/09/2010

Peel plays nicely (for now); long live the King; Rangers explosion and Spinningfields’ helpful traffic wardens

Published on September 9th 2010.

The Grouch – 09/09/2010

Peel prepares to make an exhibition of itself
Peel Group, eh? What are you gonna do with ‘em? The cheeky monkeys had Manchester City Council in a bit of a flap last week, submitting a bid to create a local enterprise partnership. Scramble time at the Town Hall, who – unlike everybody else –didn’t see it coming. Peel have backtracked now, of course, but perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at the chutzpah, especially when you consider what the developer is up to in Trafford.

From what The Grouch has heard, Peel is in the latter stages of ensuring everything is in place before switching its unconvincing Museum of Museums (next to the Trafford Centre) into a huge exhibition centre, fairly and squarely in competition with Manchester Central – owned by Manchester city council.

Cynically minded folk might consider the museum use a cover during the planning stages, of course, with just a final tweak needed to allow exhibition use. A stroke of genius really.

So although Peel seems to be in line with the council over LEPs and Atlantic Gateway, its £50bn regeneration scheme that spans the North West Manchester Ship Canal corridor, the pair could be at loggerheads again. When Peel opens its rival exhibition offering, Grouch hears there will be several organisers more than willing to leave Manchester Central to go with them.

The Avenue prepares for lift-off
The Avenue, the retail arm of Spinningfields, will (finally) open for business on September 11.

The shopping units will open next weekend anchored by Armani. Retailers such as such as Flannels, Mulberry, Brooks Brothers, Ermenegildo Zegna, Oliver Sweeney and Joseph have also signed up to the scheme.

Posh shops, basically, and as much as Allied London will be keen for The Avenue to work, the city as a whole will be praying it takes off. Several prominent city types are privately hoping the new scheme will boost the flagging trade on King Street, which is currently dogged by empty units.

One friend recently referred to the clump of three empty units that includes the former Virgin store and the old Lotus restaurant as the ‘broken teeth in the King Street smile.’

The Grouch wonders how high-end occupiers like Brooks Brothers and Oliver Sweeney will sit next to the Magistrates Court that already exists there. Three months suspended and a £1000 three piece suit, sir?

It’s as if 1996 never happened...
Overstatement of the week? Judge Andrew Blake, who jailed 11 Rangers fans for their behaviour during THAT UEFA Cup final two years ago. He said the rioting by some Rangers fans was ‘the worst destruction Manchester has suffered since the blitz’. Presumably, he forgot all about the IRA bomb of 1996, which also did a fair bit of damage if I remember rightly.

Security standstill on Spinningfields
Finally, some Spinningfields gossip. As you are probably well aware, The Grouch lives in a blimp high above the Allied London office development, constantly looking down at repeats of Come Dine With Me on the big screen. But what he also saw recently was a Group 4 security van turn up at one of the large banks to drop off some money. Not remarkable in itself, although the over-zealous traffic warden that clamped the van while it was unloading certainly caused a stir.

The Grouch is brought to you by Head of a Man (with Red Eyes) – LS Lowry © Lowry Collection. You can see the real deal at Lowry Favourites.

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

Kevin TilleySeptember 9th 2010.

I can't see any exhibition centre in Trafford competing with Manchester Central. It's too far out from the centre & public transport links are limited to the bus.
I guess they'll offer free parking, but even so...

Smyth HarperSeptember 9th 2010.

Traffic wardens in Manchester haven't clamped cars since, I think, 2003...

Eddy RheadSeptember 9th 2010.

Peel show complete contempt for planning laws and the lapdogs at Trafford Council just roll over and have their bellies tickled. Manchester planners are not perfect but at least they stand up to Peel and their conniving schemes. Any fool could see what Peel had planned for their 'museum' - it seems Trafford's planners are a particular type of fool.

EugeneSeptember 9th 2010.

Don't forget that Trafford council have a duty to attract investment into their borough and provide jobs for the locals...

Lets not forget that Peel are huge landowners who make huge amounts on investment into Greater Manchester and create or support thousands of jobs. If this museum is turned into a convention centre, it will create more jobs for the locals of GM.

As a previous Mancon story has suggested, it will provide some (much needed) competition for GMEX. Don't forget, GMEX (sic) has had its fair share of criticism for being pricey...but it can be, if there is no other viable alternative!

mSeptember 10th 2010.

From the general public's perspective, I can't see any glaring reasons as to why an exhibition centre would not be good for the people of Trafford. It should even add a little weight to the Positives list for Peel funding for a Metrolink extension.

So if the perceived hurdle was the council's fear of new competition for Manchester Central/GMEX, that's doen't sound like protecting the resident's best interest. You could argue that Peel's sly tactics we're devised to get around Trafford/Manchester Council's equally sly, anti-competition tatics.

Eugene's right, Peel do provide investment - and Salford will miss out on such investments because they refused the new racecourse - and despite their bluster they are something of a neccessary evil for Trafford.

These planning 'winners' that work for the Tesco's and Peel's of this world will become more and more sought after as they continue to prove what advantages they can offer to large businesses.

AnonymousSeptember 10th 2010.

Dear Smitty, it may not have been a council parking person. Much of Spinningfields's public realm is private as residents discovered when they wanted to make a fuss about something

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