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Withington and Fallowfield need to smarten up

Untidy public realm and empty units among districts’ ‘identity problems’

Published on October 19th 2010.

Withington and Fallowfield need to smarten up

Withington is performing ‘below its potential’ and Fallowfield suffers from a lack of identity, according to a council-commissioned report into both areas.

The council appointed commercial property consultancy CBRE to carry out studies on both South Manchester districts last September.

The reports have now been published and reveal that top priorities for residents of both suburbs was reducing anti-social behaviour, increasing security at home and on the street and improving the street environment.

The report said Fallowfield had a ‘strong district centre’ that performed well in the evening, particularly amongst students, but lacked a diverse retail offer, ‘with a danger that the demand for evening use of units removes the opportunity for other retailers to move to the centre.’

It said the lacked a ‘strong civic identity’ however, and had poor quality shop fronts and public realm. ‘The demand for retail units is strong in Fallowfield, and at the time of the report there were only two small units available. This is evidence of a strong centre, but it limits the opportunities for multiple comparison retailers, who generally require larger units, to move into the centre.’

Withington had a diverse retail offer, but was often used as a ‘top up centre where visitors spend little time.’ The number of empty units in the area also ‘creates a poor image.’ ‘There is a good number of independent shops which adds character to the centre and should be encouraged, however more multiple retailers would contribute positively to the offer,’ said the report.

Traffic congestion along Wilmslow Road also affects both districts through ‘cluttered and narrow pavements’ and a bottleneck of traffic caused by the number of buses. ‘The junction at Wilbraham Road and Wilmslow Road is an accident hotspot,’ it said.

The popularity of Fallowfield as an evening destination often resulted in ‘conflict’ between the students and residents. These problems were ‘less acute’ in Withington.

More than 1,200 people were surveyed during the study, with 51 per cent visiting Fallowfield most often, and 38 per cent visiting Withington most often, with the remainder using other districts.

The full report is available to read here.

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

GMSOctober 19th 2010.

So, Fallowfield lacks a diverse retail offer. Could this be anything to do with the big jack off Sainsbury store planted in the middle one wonders? It's never going to be a retail detsination, so what more diversity does it require?

As with Withington, they've hit the nail on the head with the terribly narrow paving areas. Question is, how do you resolve this without dramatically altering the road layout?

JimOctober 19th 2010.

i personally sat in Highways meetings where there were discussions about how to slow traffic on the Southern Corridor; now apparently this congestion is causing problems. Short-sightedness from our local councillors yet again

EARL OF DIDSBURYOctober 19th 2010.

FALLOWFIELD is one big hugh student drinking hole , Revolution , Orange Grove , Baa Baa , full of students night and day boozing , funny they dont want to pay for their own education , well the partys over you going to have to soon !

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

Absolute dumps, and that includes Rusholme as well. I'm deeply ashamed when we go through these areas with my Norwegian in-laws. They think Manchester is a squalid and filthy place, with overflowing bins and tatty shops. I wish I thought otherwise.

Stupid NorwegiansOctober 20th 2010.

I love Norway and have been many times but it is a country of 4m with only one half way big town which is way smaller than Manchester: Oslo. Be proud man of all we've done, created and achieved in Manchester and if you're ashamed move. If you're in-laws think Manchester is squalid and filthy then they have no understanding of history, no understanding of urban society and display the smugness of too many tiny in population European countries which have no understanding for the urban nature of Britain, France, Italy and so on. These are not the intelligent Norwegians I know.

Dirty Old TownOctober 20th 2010.

So if you have an "understanding of history" you suddenly don't see the overflowing bins and crap everywhere you look?...if you have an "understanding of urban society" you suddenly think Withington and Fallowfield are lovely locations that are a joy to stroll through? Get a grip! 'Urban nature of Britain' my arse - These areas are total dumps! Are you arguing otherwise?

SQUARE HEADOctober 20th 2010.

Apart from some parts of the city centre / salford quays and a few suburbs like Didsbury and Worsley most of Manchester is a dump, Rusholme looks like downtown Kabul , Fallowfield is student toilet and Withington a ghost down.

Ali McGowanOctober 26th 2010.

Norwegians are not stupid; these disticts - Rusholme, Fallowfield (and less so, Withington) high streets are all a mess. The tarted up Rusholme (new lights, paving, bins) was trashed within months of being done. The unit owners (generally, not all) have little pride in their buildings and residents - both transident or permanent - have little pride in keeping the streets clear of litter, chewing gum, fags butts etc... so it's society not giving a shit that's made these areas so filthy. Spending millions on Rusholme's street scape was a waste of money because no one has looked after it. The same will happen in F'field or W'ton... what's one to do? How to stop lazy bastards dropping litter, parking inconsiderately, making unit owners have some pride... it's a mammoth task and good luck to anyone who tries to tackle it. Just don't waste my council tax trying ;)

D KesslerOctober 26th 2010.

Is the IRA bombing threat still a 'cultural' excuse for not providing bins in public areas? Euston and airports station springs to mind. Botswana is tidier!

Mike AmesburyNovember 13th 2010.

Some good points in the report, Fallowfield does need a more balanced retail & recreation offer. Refuge collection has been stepped up to twice a week, more bins have been provided and the Fallowfield Brow & Sherwood estate residents assosiations have been established. A greening Fallowfield project is being driven by both residents and student volunteers. A good start.

AnonymousDecember 2nd 2010.

Too many takeaways in Fallowfield - its ridiculous - they're a hotch potch of businesses who have no pride in how they look but they do serve their audience well.

Withington is always full of drunks! I find it uncomfortable to walk down the road at any time of day. Most of the shops look disgusting - isnt there a new cinema and retail unit being built in the old White Horse? Maybe this might start to entice nicer businesses but to be honest if there isnt the customer base to buy nice products then it'll never improve.

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