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Too many bars in the Northern Quarter?

Terrace plans get thumbs down as council claims number of licensed premises becoming 'a hindrance' around Thomas Street

Published on December 20th 2010.

Too many bars in the Northern Quarter?

A planning application for a new bar in the Northern Quarter is likely to be turned down as the area has too many similar venues.

‘It is always difficult to assess at what point a shift in balance takes place and at one point in time a use that has been seen as being an asset to regeneration becomes a hindrance to regeneration, said the report. ‘It would appear that critical point is about to be reached or has been reached this part of the Northern Quarter.’

And a new report by the council’s planning department claims the plethora of bars in the Northern Quarter ‘could undermine the regeneration of the area.’

Proposals for a bar called Terrace, on the corner of Thomas Street and Edge Street, are set before to go before the council’s planning committee tomorrow (December 21), but have been recommended for refusal.

It said the number of bars in the Northern Quarter was ‘starting to cause problems’ for local residents, as the night time economy in the area boomed in the last decade.

‘It is always difficult to assess at what point a shift in balance takes place and at one point in time a use that has been seen as being an asset to regeneration becomes a hindrance to regeneration,' said the report. ‘It would appear that critical point is about to be reached or has been reached this part of the Northern Quarter.’

The building suggested for the new bar – 43 Thomas Street – is currently empty, but the report said there was ‘a growing body of evidence from residents and enforcement and other agencies that deal with this area...that the activities associated with the night-time economy are beginning to change the character and nature of the area especially in relation to anti-social behaviour and crime and disorder.

‘This is a cause for concern amongst both local residents and enforcement agencies and as a consequence there is a growing perception that in parts of the Northern Quarter the mix of uses is becoming over dominated by this sector.’

The council picked out the area around Thomas Street and High Street as an area with a high concentration of bars and restaurants, including Trof; TV 21; Blu Bar; Dough / Apotheca; Odd Bar; The Bay Horse; The Northern Quarter Bar and Restaurant and Marble. The new bar only registered three letters of complaint, but six in support.

‘Regeneration is an important planning consideration and there is a need to continue to build on the regeneration that has already taken place within the Northern Quarter and the continuing investment in the area,’ said the report.

‘However, whilst the reuse of vacant , derelict and dilapidated premises is a key objective this needs to be balanced against the need to maintain a complementary balance of uses which is not detrimental to the character or the area, its attractiveness to potential investors and the amenity of residents living within the area.’

Martin Gibson, a partner at GA Studio Architects on Tib Street and one of the partners in the bar venture, said he was 'frustrated' about the report. 'The plans have been two years in the making and we're investing £400,000 into this,' he said. 'We were always given the impression it would be supported, especially as we are resurrecting an empty building.' Gibson said he would appeal the decision if the plans were turned down.

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

NeilDecember 20th 2010.

How can local residents object? They move into the city-centre for the buzz and the nightlife and the fact that this part of town has lots of options - a few years pass and they realise that getting a good nights kip is very important and then object to new developments.

It sounds as though this spot would have brought investment, jobs and people to the area. No brainer to me.

NQ ResidentDecember 20th 2010.

How can local residents object???

Errrr because we pay our council tax and deserve the right to influence the development of our neighbourhood just like anybody else...?

I'm prepared to deal with the odd night of disrupted sleep but I get seriously wound up by the endless trails of puke, piss and the occasional human turd that decorate the entrance to my apartment block.

I didn't personally object to this bar, but I think the council have got it spot on. Strength in diversity should be the motto for the NQ.

northernrobDecember 20th 2010.

I think the point is 'the need to maintain a complementary balance of uses' isn't it?

There's no point in marooning boutiques and record shops in a sea of 'uniquely similar' bars because they'll disappear when the area is only known for it's multitude of uniquely similar bars.

Good decision.

M30December 21st 2010.

NIMBYism at its worst.
If you don't want to live in one of the livliest parts of the city centre, then don't live in the Northern Quarter.
Wilmslow is that way...

NeilDecember 21st 2010.

I pay my council tax too - and therefore my vote is that it's better to have a bar in a semi-derelict building than it is to continue to allow it to go to ruin.

I really don't care that you made the stupid decision to move to the NQ because it was all funky and studenty and bohemian but recently it's become a bit too popular with *urgh* the wrong sort of people.

I made the 'boring' decision to move to suburbia and love going to sleep in my quiet house every night!

It's not like all these apartment blocks were there before the bars that attracted the residents in the first place. Well, apart from the ones just by the craft centre that is - if you live there I take it back!

Simone13024December 21st 2010.

Why are people so short sighted about this? Surely we all want to make Manchester a better city, so why are people too lazy or stubborn to listen to other's views and instead jump to the lazy and frankly boring position of 'well you shouldn't live in the city centre then should you!'. The Northern Quarter has been succesful because it has a total mix of outlets, overload it with one or another and it loses part of that. Not sure why we English see an area with a few bars and decide it has to be filled with even more, making a local piss up zone where you can go to a bagfull of bars in stumbling distance of eachother. Then when they get their way and the area becomes mainly bars and attracts the inevitable stag nights and the like, they complain the area has been ruined and it's not like it used to be. Give carte blanche to property owners to keep leasing spaces to bars as they'll all get the planning and that's what they'll do, at the same time putting the rent up as bars have a higher income than say, a tailor. When other leases are up, the landlords will increase the rent markedly as next door which was once selling cupcakes is now a Baa Baa with a rent four times what he is receiving. The area becomes swamped, loses it's identity and then a new 'in' place starts which is classed as bohemian (maybe Ancoats next)and the whole process starts again. The people who used to frequent the old 'in' place now chuckling over their gin about the kind of people who go there now. If only there was a system that could prevent this, if only the Northern Quarter could be saved from itself and retain a character through residents, bars, restaurants and other outlets. Oh wait, we do have that system, it's called PLANNING. No doubt the people criticising the planners would be the first to bemoan their lack of action should the Northern Quarter turn into Blackpool in the valley. Rant over.

mDecember 21st 2010.

I'm inclined to agree with Simone. When I first moved to Manchester I absolutely loved the Northern Quarter. If I could've lived anywhere it was there. It's right next to the main shopping core yet it has its own identity, such a strong independent vibe and bags of character. I don't know if it's because I know it so well there's nothing left to explore, or because it's just not as good as it used to be, but nowadays I´m not so enamoured with it.

I had a sober stroll through there on a saturday night a couple of months ago and there was a very noticeable amount of printworksification going on (if I may coin the phrase).

The beauty with the bars used to be that they were hard to find and off the beaten path. This kept them out of the mainstream and only the type of people who put the effort in would find them. Today there are so many on in the High Street/Thomas Street area it doesn't matter if you don't know where you're going. If you can find that junction you've now 'found' the northern quarter and that's not how it used to be.

Saying that, knocking back this application after all that time and investment is not exactly good for enticing small businesses into Manchester. Hopefully The Terrace will be allowed to open but this will come as a warning to others that after this there'll be no more on this side of Oldham Street.

daniel16614December 21st 2010.

There is too much anti-social behaviour in this part of town, walking back form the MEN on Saturday at only 11.30, we witnessed a woman re-leaving herself outside TV21 in the middle of the street, with everyone looking on and laughing - (it was a sight!) she didnt even have the decency, or sense to use a side street!

AnonymousDecember 21st 2010.

*re-leaving* herself? She should be on the telly

ijustmovedDecember 21st 2010.

After 4 years of living in the heart of the NQ we have recently moved out because it has been ruined by way too many bars opening. When we moved there in 2006 it was an early evening drinking culture for a slightly older clientele than the Printworks and the Locks - and it worked very well.

Since Walrus opened everything has changed - an influx of chavvy Locks and Printworks dwellers, fighting, puking and shouting until 4 in the morning.

The council should have recognised this issue a long time ago, they had the opportunity to make the NQ a truly unique area of the city, but to be honest, it's completely f***ed now, no turning back.

And Neil, just to point out that a lot of people who live in the heart of the NQ have done so for many years, way before all the bars moved in. and in this economic climate its not always an options just to move, no matter how much you might want to.

If I was the council I'd be looking at incentives to get the unused shops on Thomas St and Edge St open with independent retailer/cafes etc. like North Tea Power, Oi Polloi and Thomas St Post Office (I know this is owned by a larger company, but it still works well. Why not move the farmers/crafts/xmas markets to the NQ, seems like a more natural setting. The council could do worse than looking at the New Laines in Brighton as a case study of this kind of regeneration done well. Surely it's not that hard??

AnonymousDecember 21st 2010.

I live in the city and I go to bars, but surprisingly enough, I do other things as well.

If the NQ becomes a sea of identikit bars, then it will be a soulless place - especially in the daytime. When Odd first opened (would I be too far wide of the mark to say 8 / 9 years ago?) it was something different, which was part of its charm. But part of its charm, was being in a quieter area of town, where other things apart from Drinking went on (ala. deansgate locks), so the clients were hopefully drawn from a wider selection of people, not just destination drinkers who dip in and out of the area.

For anywhere to be truly vibrant, variety and diversity is the key. The NQ should be the perfect spot for something different.

Terrace might not be a bad idea, but at least the idea has been raised. The council should now look at initiatives that encourage a greater variety of uses in the area whilst they still have the opportunity

(and whilst on this point, I hate to rake over old news, but get the old barrow boys back to the NQ. Thats as different and non corporate as you can get. The market is terrible for food shopping)

Ali McGowanDecember 21st 2010.

Agree with you, anonymous. Diversity is good. Approve this bar and make that it for now...

mDecember 21st 2010.

I agree about Walrus. It did attract a new type of punter to the area. Whether it was actually the catalyst for change or just bad timing, it was around then that things started going downhill.

The older exposed-brick and street art type of NQ bar is perhaps a little uninspiring in a new venture nowadays but the scruffiness of it all helped retain the relaxed atmosphere and didn't appeal to certain types. The more modern, high styled and themed bars have more crossover appeal. I think this change in bar fashions plays a large part in the Northern Quarter´s (current) downhill slide.

Simone13024December 21st 2010.

I wouldn't approve this bar. It's already a bit of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted, this would be like letting a shire horse through at the last minute. They should have got in earlier, they didn't. This isn't some wonderous idea to improve the Northern Quarter, it's cashing in on it. Nothing wrong with that but it shouldn't be to the detriment of the area.

M30December 21st 2010.

It seems abundantly clear that the reason there's so many objections to the NQ is that "It's not our private place anymore, and it's now full of chavs from Stockport. We don't want Printworks types here. We just want Withington students with long beards"

Simone13024December 21st 2010.

Urm, no M30 it doesn't. It's people trying to keep the diversity there and not just turn it into bar street. People have come up with sensible arguments and to just dismiss them by basically inplying they're snobs is lazy.

DaveDecember 21st 2010.

Interesting to see MCR city councils Planning Dept still pretending they will have any relevance going forward. The coalition have already stated they favour a zoned approach to planning as in the States. Advice to the owners if they do get rejected save money on an appeal if turned down wait until April and the new rules and job is a good one.

Where do some of these comments come from though -someone thinks Odd has been open 9 years??!?! (it's about 5). The NQ used to be self policing in terms of it was generally still full of dives and nutcases - not so many of them about has meant more "townies" have felt comfortable in the area. To be fair it isn't strictly speaking correct to blame Walrus for any change - Bluu has only ever been an overspill for the Locks crowd and that's been open for ages.

M30December 21st 2010.

Urm, yes Simone, it does. The word "printworksification" has been used in this argument, and the message from many who have cointributed is that the NQ isn't a secret anymore, and now attracts too many of the "wrong type". How very patronising.
To sum up the denizens of the NQ who make swipes like that as snobs isn't lazy, it's simply being honest.
You talk about diversity with no sense of irony that the NQ is now one of the least inclusive and least welcoming areas to drink in the city. You're all about diversity, but only for certain people.

NeilDecember 21st 2010.

It's not lazy - it's accurate.

The tone of this debate seems to be that people loved the fact that the NQ was a bit 'different' and bohemian so they moved in. Then, it continued to be popular so it began to attract the hoi-polloi and they don't like it anymore. So, they want to control any future growth to go back to the bars just being for them and their skinny-jeaned-Guardianista friends.

This always happens. It will probably happen to Ancoats next, and then maybe Longsight, and then maybe the Bridge Street area.

I come back to the simple fact - someone wants to bring investment and jobs to a derelict building. Let them.

M30December 21st 2010.

Well said Neil. The NQ is a pivotal part of the City Centre of Manchester, and should be enjoyed by all. It seems that so many people are hellbent in turning it into a "We're Full" mentality enclave of Chorlton or Withington.

Simone13024December 21st 2010.

No M30, again you're well off the mark. I explained my comments earlier. Rather than just sniping in calling people nimby's and snobs. Perhaps people compare to the Printworks because it's just a drinking venue and they don't want the Northern Quarter to become 'bar street' anymore than it is already. I'm talking about diversity of people and if you even care to read my original comment I too allude to the slightly patronising nature of some who frequent the Northern Quarter, except I don't use this as a simply lazy argument on it's own. Neil is right in that he says these places always end up the same, but if we can perhaps halt that through decent planning then why not? We all criticise the planners when they fail in this and then criticise them when they try to do something, even if it may be a bit late. M30, you seem so hung up on trying to have a go at the people you dislike from certain suburbs (not just on this topic) that it seems that emotion outwieghs anything else.

culture vultureDecember 21st 2010.

No more bars please, especially the type that is proposed. I moved out of the NQ in 2007 when I say this gentifrication coming. And everytime I go in the NQ there is a new bar or two. WE don't want the Printworks or Deandsgate mentality in the NQ, and that is what is happenning. I should mention that around 2006 the city council's planning department put a stop on new bars in the area - when there was only about 6. Obviously, that didn't last, they decided to let more in for the last 4 years and now look at it. YES MCC, do the right thing and say NO MORE!

NQ ResidentDecember 21st 2010.

@ Neil

You live in Wilmslow. Enough said.

NeilDecember 21st 2010.

No I don't - I'm in lovely Salford!

AnonymousDecember 21st 2010.

About 7 or 8 years ago when this sort of NIMBYism was kicking off in the city centre it was summed up nicely by one of Manchester's (legally dubious) fly posterers who was having his business threatened; "it's like thos c***s who move to the country and then complain when it smells of horse s**t".

PS the northern quarter ceased to be "cool" when Bluu opened - I went to the invite only opening and then returned on the saturday night to be told by the bouncers that no trainers were allowed. At least in the printworks people know that they're chavs.

M30December 21st 2010.

Simone, I've lived in Chorlton, so have had first hand experience of "M21 NIMBYism" so feel it relevant to draw upon. Plus I can draw parallels with what happened to the gay village. Other than that, I have no axe to grind with any suburb/overflow of Manchester. Other that Wilmslow. It belongs in Essex.
Anyway, I digress, and there's no need to be so patronising, love.
The NQ was once a little bohemian oasis in amongst the chain bars of Manchester. People from Blackley didn't know about it, it was just those cool enough to be in the know. It no longer is. Deal with it. I took some of my London friends there, and trainer-related issues aside, they weren't impressed in the slightest.
The NQ today, Simone, is pretty much a product of being bar-led. Yes, there's the odd artsy type thing going on, but the regeneration of that area has been led by the fact that the bars are there and the flats have follwed. Don't be fooled that the area would have had the same regeneration if the sum of its parts were a Womans Art Collective and an Organic Tailor with one small unlicenced cafe.
The NQ has ate itself, and considering the attitude and ill-will which emits from the area, I'm not heartbroken that the Guardianistas playground is being overtaken by brassy girls from Bolton.

NQ ResidentDecember 21st 2010.

@ Neil

Apologies mis-read.

I'm not arsed whether the people who drink in the bars wear skinny jeans or addidas 3 stripe tucked into their socks to be quite frank. I don't want another bar because there are too many already and the negative effects are becoming ever more apparent. I have lived in the NQ for almost 8 years and moved here because the flats were cheap for a city centre location, the buildings and streetscape are exceptional and there was a diverse mix of people... not because it was bohemian, studenty or otherwise.

I don't subscribe to the view that just because it brings investment you should do it - in the case of bars there is a massive argument that they do not pay their fair share when it comes to dealing with the consequences of their trade.

BanesDecember 21st 2010.

I'm one of those who automatically yearns for the Northern Quarter of yesteryear, before it got too packed and towny. But let's not pretend we don't each have our personal rose-tinted spectacles. Halcyon days are never as wonderful as we remember.

Fact is fifteen years ago the barrows produce was mediocre, the area's historical population was minimal (aside from the social housing), it's food and drink scene was crap (aside from curry cafes and a couple of good pubs) and in general the Northern Quarter (as it then wasn't) was infinitely more violent, lawless and unpleasant than it is now with prostitutes and criminals galore.

Many of those bemoaning the launch of Bluu, or Walrus, or Terrace probably don't remember what it was like when The King, Gullivers, The City and The Millstone (full of shop-lifters and smack-heads) were in full flow on a Saturday night (or indeed on benefits day)...

Fact is this the Northern Quarter is a vibrant city centre district and by it's very nature it can't be paused at any particular point in it's development. It will gentrify, it will dillapidate, it used to be the main retail street for big names, now it isn't. It is in a permanent state of flux, as it should be.

Look at New York. Soho used to be low-rent and creative, but when the chains and big bars moved in the cool kids moved to Tribeca. As that came up they went to the Meat-Packing District. Now they've crossed the bridge to DUMBO, or Brooklyn. Keep moving.

So is the Northern Quarter too busy/towny/commercial/corrupted for you? As noted above try Ancoats. It feels half discovered/half forgotten, it's got some decent accomodation and some lovely old buildings, a handful of weird independent businesses, some curious art and some rough old pubs. It's got soul. Just like the Northern Quarter used to be...

MarieDecember 21st 2010.

The Design and Access Statement notes that the applicants had a series of pre-application meetings with the case officer who assured them that the principle of a bar in this location was acceptable. To backtrack on this now isn't appropriate and I would be seriouisly p'd off if I was Martin Gibson. Sounds like someone from above has waded in.

mDecember 21st 2010.

Good rant Banes.

Everyone has different views on when things are moving on but there's no doubt a lot of life in the NQ yet. Ask a bunch of clubbers when Ibiza went commercial and responses could have 15 years between them.

BanesDecember 21st 2010.

Thanks M.

Just to stress I do think there needs to be an underlying planning strategy for the N4 (or indeed any part of the city) as we all have to take responsibility for shaping our environment and reigning in pure market forces occassionally.

Equally I do emphasize with those whose sleep or lives are routinely disturbed by idiots - it's something I cannot personally tolerate and people have every right to complain, though of course it may not always do any good.

I just think city centres will always have complicated, dynamic, exciting and sometimes frustrating lives of their own and will never stand still and will never be quite what people want nor quite what they remember.

That's what makes them fun. If it bothers you to an unbearble degree its probably time to move. In relationship parlance, "it's not them, it's you".

Simone13024December 21st 2010.

M30, interesting how you seem offended to think I may have patronised you yet obviously feel it's acceptable fo you to patronise and stereotype nearly every demographic which enjoys the Northern Quarter. Everything isn't the polar opposites you describe, it's not just brassy girls from Bolton or bearded Guardian readers. Of course the area was always going to be led by bars and restaurants, that's where the money is. I don't think anybody is suggesting they remove half the bars and replace them with cultural centres. However, it's the job of planners to plan and yet another bar is simply not needed, in my opinion it wouldn't overly enhance the area. It is all about opinions though and you need to respect those of others without refering to them as Nimbys or slotting them into one of your polar stereotypes. Like the NQ Resident, I couldn't care less whether the people in the bars were trackies or cords. It's an opinion on what's best for the area. Ne York of corse has had many different areas being the new trend nearly every year - but we're not NYC in any size, shape or form. Marie, I very much doubt anyone who has commented on here was among the very few people who put formal concerns over, however they are not 'wading in' just because they were concerned and those concerns happen to disagree with your viewpoint.

culture vultureDecember 21st 2010.

Totally agree. NQ jsut doesn't need any more bars as it becoming sacturated. Let the rich tossers who have stacks of money and want to make more go and open them in East Manchester to - or save your money for the new Northern CO-OP Quarter in a couple of years or so. This will be more up the street of Blue / Printworks type bars etc

Anon TooDecember 22nd 2010.

So is the NQ 'done' then? Do people with beards, skinny jeans and seemingly hours to while away in Teacup/Koffee Pot have to find somewhere else?

I prefer to head over to the Salford side of the city now -Kings Arms, etc - and am keeping an eye on the area around Bridge Street (Gaslamp, etc) as the next up and coming area for decent bars.

AnonymousDecember 22nd 2010.

Sorry Neil, but you don't know what your talking about mate..the majority of the flats in the NQ have been here a lot longer than the recent wave of several bars that have appeared.
I have lived in this area for seven years and fully support the councils decision on this one..their should be an balance of businesses, and it is definitely time to take a step back and weigh up the future of this area and the regeneration that obviously needs to continue. How many more bars do we need in the city centre ffs!
Also, as this is a conservation area, then maybe the council should be looking at run down buildings more closely, and start making the owners look after them properly, rather than waiting for people like Martin Gibson and the 'Blackdog gang' to do their thing..just a thought ....

SchnizzleDecember 22nd 2010.

Why has no one got the balls to say it. The Northern Quarter now attracts the wrong types. It brings chavs and yuppies. Manchester is big enough to have an area where students, affluent couples and intellectuals can drink and chat without having to wade through wankers.
Call me a snob I don't care. Till the NQ arrived there was nowhere I felt comfortable drinking and now it is getting like the Printworks. How long till it gets a Wetherspoons or Slug and Lettuce?
Why can't these people sod off back to Deansgate Locks?

JewelHousePrincessDecember 22nd 2010.

I live on Thomas Street and I go out all the time but recently over the past few months it has been getting louder and later ! I wear earplugs every night for bed despite living on the top floor and I still get woken up with noise through them! I am in favour of the new bar as long as it's license respects the fact residents have to work and so need sleep! We pay lots of money to have a nice home and that should really be respected by having the right balance of venues and licensing. X

didsbury girlDecember 22nd 2010.

It will be interesting to see if this planning policy covers other areas of Manchester. A recent planning application has been submitted to turn another shop into a restaurant on Burton road, on the old sous chef site in West Didsbury. Will it be turned down on the basis of too many restaurants?

JewelHousePrincessDecember 22nd 2010.

PS I HATE Bluu and Walrus!!!! The crowd is not pleasant and the music in Walrus is awful! X

AnonymousDecember 22nd 2010.

Fully agree with NQ resident - people who live in town didn't necessarily chose to live there for the nightlife (when we bought our flat we ideally wanted a house but all we could afford was somewhere in a rough area or a city centre flat - loved the NQ at the time so it seemed a no brainer), we shouldn't have to put up with this shit - I don't object to another bar providing it's not drawing in more Printworks type people, I do object to the number of drop in centres, drug/alcohol dependancy places on Oldham Street and surrounding areas, as the people who frequent these establishments often hand around getting pissed and up to now good afterwards.

To be fair, getting rid of "Fridays" would be the best way to start.

I'd like to see more things like coffee shops, or even a juice bar - A sushi bar would be even better and would really take off in the NQ - this kind of thing is what will speed up the regeneration, not another bar but I'm not against it.

Just wish there was a bit more variety than just sex shops, drop in centres, bars and vintage clothes shops - it's getting boring now.

AnonymousDecember 22nd 2010.


Spot On! and so many people feel like this, I have worked and lived in this area for near on 10 years and the last 2/3 years I have seen an unbearable change on the area at night. It seems this is now a location for stag parties and where the Printworks used to be a barrier for idiots they are migrating up to the NQ and treating it like shit.

During the day the NQ has everything, arts, culture and community but at night it turns into theme park in certain areas. This isn't being snobbish but being realistic as people live and work here so do actually care about what happens outside their front doors.

As for other areas it's really good to see what's happening over on Bridge St, Salford area with some quality pubs with good crowds of people... Just like the NQ used to be.

AnonymousDecember 22nd 2010.

Why Thomas St?

Common are opening the Port St Bar on Port St in the new year, nicely tucked away in the NQ and not near the chimps tea party zone. There is loads of space around the NQ and lots of nice empty spaces especially near Stevenson Square, seems the Architect wants to cash in on the footfall rather than create something unique and worth visiting.

soulmancDecember 22nd 2010.

Didn't the area lose its boho-chic as soon as it was referred to en masse as The Northern Quarter? Back in the day there was just Oldham St, the craft centre and 'the street with all the sex shops'. It didn't have a handle, it didn't need one - it was just accepted that if you wanted something a little bit alternative, that was the part of town you'd head to (amongst others - what happened to the underground market beneath the Tesco Metro on Market Street?). It strikes me that as soon as the Nathan Barleys christened the place, it seemed to lose its niche appeal...

...but then, maybe I'm a cynical old bastard who resents the fact that he's no longer fashionable, vital or even relevant. I used to be happy to be a Nathan Barley abck in the day, ffs. I'm not even a Noel Edmonds any more.

Off to sob into my pint of real ale (I'd have grown a beard too, if they hadn't turned out to be quite cool these days).

AnonymousDecember 22nd 2010.

I have followed the comments / arguments / justifications with interest and see all p.o.v. However for me it is not necessarily about quantity but more about control. If the opening hours of the bars were restricted to slightly earlier (1am) then all the people that wanted to go and kill off even more brain cells would venture to the printworks who will happily take your money and let you drink alchopops, dance, irritate and make tw*ts of themselves to 3/4am. I'm all for regeneration of old dilapidated buildings and I certainly enjoy the independent bars more than the chains. As most people have said it is about balance however if all bar owners punt for the late licences and have slack door policies then it will inevitably bring the crowd that do not appreciate what is on offer except spending all what is in their pockets or until they offend and ruin the atmosphere for everyone else!!

DibigoDecember 22nd 2010.

No Soulmanc, your not a cynical old bastard, you are bang on mate.

NeilDecember 22nd 2010.

Why Thomas Street? - because that's the most popular area with the most footfall. Definitely the place to locate a bar. If I had money to invest I'd go for a popular place with possibilities than some back-of-nowhere place and hope that people found me by word of mouth.

And to the Anon further up who said I was talking rubbish and that the bars came after the flats - now I have to simply laugh at that comment. When did Cord open or Centro? Or even Dry bar if you're going to stretch it that far.

Of course Bluu marked the true 'opening up' of the area and my guess is that it was around then that the vast majority of the flats started getting developed.

I've worked out that I've been going to the Market Restaurant since about 1994 and to the curry shops at lunch (still the best thing about this whole area) since about 1992. As the lady who runs the Market Restaurant said to me a few years ago, she used to be asked if it was safe to park around there but recently she'd been asked where people could park.

jojobaDecember 22nd 2010.

I moved to the Northern Quarter a few years after the Bars, but there is a resedential council area mainly for the over 55's that was there long before any bars so those people have every right to voice there opinion.

poetofnorthDecember 22nd 2010.

Hmmm, yes there are two many bars. But there are also too many Chain supermarkets and crappy apartment blocks in certain areas. So put restrictions on the bars then put restrictions on supermarkets, i.e. new tesco on Oxford Road.

AnonymousDecember 22nd 2010.

Everyone should be welcome to enjoy the Northern quarter and business is good for the area! But we do need balance. Address late licences in residential areas. Start a considerate bar scheme with warning system from licensing authorities. Bars have a responsibility not empty bottle skips at 4am. Masses of broken bottles, cigarette ends and vomit. Businesses making the profit need to give something back and help keep it clean. Door security need to stay and make sure
crowds disperse without creating too much noise and or aggressive
behavior starts. Transport needs looking at too many cabs blocking the junction at Edge Street stopping the flow of traffic and busses unable to turn sounding horns late night. A decent late night coffee shop and bakery wouldn't go a miss. Manchester is such a cool place to live we just need to Look after it.

homeygnomeyDecember 23rd 2010.

Agh! When will they realise that it's not the clientele of the Northern Quarter Bars, but those from the Printworks, Birdcage et al who leave the trail of detritus. I used to live on the High Street. I never had a problem with bearded men on bicycles - although drunk teenagers/ EDL types/ brawlers and shouters often got a bucket of water over 'em.

The council seriously needs to be able to distinguish between types of venue. We need more independents and less chain-bar drink-sheds. THAT is what is undermining the city centre, as any fule kno.

andydoorDecember 23rd 2010.

I have looked at this application and it looks like they have a good operating policy, and wanted to benifit/give back to the communittee. This looks like a good scheme developing a derilict property and offerng something different.
You would have thought the council would have backed this despite the 35 jobs.

MDecember 23rd 2010.

Has it been turned down then? The article was written the day before the decision was due. How do we find out?

andydoorDecember 23rd 2010.

From what i have been told over the years councilors dont take the time to consider applications on thier merits and as a rule go with the reccomendation of the plannind department. i think we can find out on the council website, i will have a look!

Simon BinnsDecember 23rd 2010.

The plans were refused - we're expecting a response from Martin Gibson at GA Studios shortly, which I'll post here.

johanDecember 23rd 2010.

one of the issues with the northern quarter at the moment is that the rent prices on commercial property can only be afforded by the chain bars or big brands. Also a lot of the buildings are in need of a lot of repair or investment.

it is difficult for a small trader to start business in the area.

JOHANDecember 23rd 2010.

although did notice TV21 bar was for sale on a property website at a cool 550K.

traceybDecember 24th 2010.

good point johan, many of the creative industry start ups and the social enterprises were helped by grants and funding from the likes of the arts council.

very hard to secure this at the moment.

maybe a little help from landlords in terms of getting building into a good state and offering empty shops on cheap short term deals would help.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2011.

I lived in the NQ for many years. Moved out last August.

It used to be a quiet place to go for a few pints on a night.

The cross-roads development of Bluu, Walrus, etc.. changed all that. Groups of lads turning up in taxis on a friday/Saturday night. People turning up to get smashed rather than to relax.

It also attracts the champagne-swilling, ten-bob millionaires, hanging out in bars like Keko Moku.

I agree with the poster above who said it used to be a much darker place in the 1990's, but the bar-lead development of the area, turning into just another destination for a Saturday night, has definitely removed the relaxed charm of the area.

M30January 6th 2011.

Schnizzle, the welcoming, inclusive and egalitarian voice of the Northern Quarter.

"Why can't these people sod off back to Deansgate Locks"

Not a million miles away from saying "Why can't these gay people sod off back to Canal Street", or "Why can't these black people sod off back to Moss Side".

Bobby BJanuary 7th 2011.

The Northern Quarter is classed as a large city centre residential area, it is plagued by serious noise pollution most nights until the very early hours, we have noticed an increase in crime related incidents, vandalism, and litter problems, we also suffer from people urinating against our homes from customers using the many bars which are now saturating the whole of the Northern Quarter.

Whilst we accept that city living has its advantages and disadvantages, we are thoroughly fed up to the back teeth with noisy and mostly inconsiderate licensed premises. On any given weekend you can feel apprehensive to walk along Thomas Street at the junction with High Street, due to having to pick your way through large groups of rowdy drunk people staggering about in the street, some screaming, urinating, fighting etc. The area is littered with bottles, broken glass and cigarette butts that most of the bars feel they have no responsibility for.

We are not effectively policed in the main as we are on the border of Ancoats and City Centre, is causes particular problems with allowing its customers free reign to drink from glasses in the street, congregate, and use our car park as toilets and a place to have sex or take drugs.

We strongly oppose any further licenses granted in this small and heavily populated area.

There needs to be a balance between business and residential needs and i do not feel that yet another/restaurant will bring anything positive to this area.

It is clear that the Northern Quarter is becoming saturated with bars and clubs, and we would urge the council under the Licensing Act to use the Government capping scheme and block any further bars from opening in this over populated area
The council needs to remember that the Northern Quarter is a heavey populated Residential area and not a entertainment zone unlike some people may think it is , and residents like myself have been living here for over 17years longer then most of the bars

M30January 11th 2011.

Bobby B, with all due respect, I think you're talking a load of crap.
If you want to live in a "residential area", move to Cheadle Hulme.

CerysRebeccaJanuary 11th 2011.

Hi all,

I am filming a news feature on this and am looking for a interviews with some long standing NQ residents. A few of you are quite active in this debate and I was hoping someone might be available to comment further on camera? If you're around the NQ in the day time, perhaps even better, own one of the indie shops and have strong opinion on the evolution of the NQ then send me a facebook message (same as name above).

Many thanks,

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2011.

My suspicions are that the individuals behind many of these new licensing applications are the leisure industry's equivalent of absent landlords. That is, remote, opportunist chancers out to make a quick buck and who don't really give a stuff about the impact of their venue on the local area. Plus ca change you might say; wasn't Manchester always thus with the wealthy captains of industry of old travelling from their semi-rural South Manchester / Cheshire villas though the smog and the squalor to their mills, factories or offices? I would point out however that the local economy and make up of the city centre has changed immeasurably over the last 150 years. The the city centre whilst still being the largest centre for employment also now contains a significant residential population and the two are to some extent symbiotic. It is therefore unacceptable for licensees to claim priority over the pre-existing residential population. There has to be a balance here and it is clear that the tipping point, if not already reached, is fast approaching in N4. If the aforementioned chancers lived in N/4, fair enough, but I think we'll find that they are happy to exploit the area to the max but live very far away...

rinkydinkOctober 17th 2014.

So in 2010 there were too many bars...

TonyNovember 21st 2014.

Just reading the comments makes me angry, so anybody who had had a pint at the printworks or the locks is a chav, what dies that make you then but a cheap arsed student type wearing second hand clothes attempting to come across as smart and edgy. Face it the NQ gained popularity because it was cheap, cheap people drank there and cheap bars opened there. Dont try to come here and say, oh yes an artsy bar opened there to cater for us refined types and us artsy people, bollocks the bars opened because they couldnt afford to rent on deansgate plain and simple. It was only known to the student types as a place to get a cheap drink before the term NQ was coined ie before the bearded lookalike twat hipsters tried claiming the place as their own. The laughable fact remains that that most of the people who try to claim the NQ as some kind of urban oasis free from chavs and so exclusive, have no fucking idea that this area even existed save for afflecs before the much slated bluu bar opened its doors. To a person with no affiliation to the prententious, I am an origional spouting, bearded full sleeved clone the NQ is just another area of the city, however to those within, that think they are something unique and special if you dont remember the likes of troff or tv 21 opening or what they were before then you dont have a clue, and are just another asswipe poser trying to be cool. Get over yourselves!!!

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