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The Regeneration Of Salford

Jill Burdett with all the stops and the starts

Written by . Published on June 13th 2014.

The Regeneration Of Salford

THE REGENERATION of Salford Central and its environs has been the next big thing for as long as I can remember. 

“We have a university, a Cathedral, two train stations, a river, new housing, hotels, and we're on the doorstep of Spinningfields, one of the most successful developments outside London."

Its proximity to Manchester made it an obvious next step for investors to bridge the River Irwell and continue the march of prosperity into another city. 

But it never quite happened. 

The Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company spent many millions but never did what it said on the tin. An increasingly desperate City Council gratefully agreed poor quality schemes and tinkered round the edges with random public realm work while buildings on Chapel Street were razed and burned.  

Salford Central MapSalford Central Map

The main route from the west into Manchester became a gap-toothed grimace of decay and the area little more than an off-street car park for Salford's glitzy neighbour. 

Five years ago in May 2009, Salford adopted an ambitious development framework for a big swathe of the area, from the Irwell to Salford Central along Chapel Street to Oldfield Road. It was commissioned by the Urban Regeneration Company (URC) which little more than a year later was wound up when major funders, the North West Development Agency (NWDA) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), pulled the plug on the staff heavy Salford Quays based quango. 

The Framework mantle was taken up by the English Cities Fund (ECf), which this time harnessed a commercial developer in the shape of Muse Developments alongside Legal and General Property and the HCA in a joint venture to deliver change.

Its 73 pages long and you can read it here.

Salford CathedralSalford Cathedral

Phil Mayall is Development Director at the ECf and he has been involved with Salford Central since 2008. You have to admire the man’s tenacity. Still, he is from Oldham.

So finally... finally, stuff is happening in a joined-up place-making kind of way. 

The first most people noticed was the annexing, or 'calming', of Chapel Street, and it’s still hugely controversial. Personally, I don’t see why they can’t have two lanes of calm traffic, not just one, to help keep things moving. Also why the quality of the realm design is so dreadfully uninspiring. The calming seems very aggressive. 

Still, here we are, ready to walk Mayall's 50 acres. So we turn our backs on Chapel Street, head off down Trinity Way and tick off on-going development.

Salford risingSalford rising

The old Brown Brother’s Building is being converted by Artisan into a 60 bed hotel called The Ainscow in tribute to founder Carol Ainscow. 

It seems a long way off a touted autumn opening and the basic website does not give much away, but ECf are delighted this private investment is happening and have chipped in with some improved paving.

Under the railway arches to the busy Trinity Way and Irwell street junction where a nine-storey 615 space multi-storey car park is taking shape.

Multi-storey car parkMulti-storey car park

The design looks great - for a car park - far more inspired than the hotel and office element also under construction there. With direct access to the ring road it will free up the current surface car parking for more development. It will be operated by NCP and is due to open by the end of 2014. 

Next door, Riverside House, once worryingly decaying, is now scaffolded and the roof is being repaired with the exterior brick cleaned. There's still no application in yet on what its future may be. 

On the opposite side of the road a 143 bed Premier Inn is on track to be handed over in September and open by Christmas. Even Mayall admits that "the jury is out” on the design by RHWL Architects for such a prominent riverside location.

Riverside HouseRiverside House

Next door to the hotel is Plot A5 earmarked for a 90 unit apartment scheme which they hope to start next spring. “There’s a lot of work to do between now and then," Mayall says about the potential development. "We don’t have planning or detailed designs but we are keen to keep things moving." Riverside apartments a short walk from Spinningfields should not take too much consideration.

Head into Spinningfields and across the new bridge (part of the framework plan) and while the dated Ralli Quays with its 1980s blue is staying, the demolition of Ralli Courts has begun to make way for One New Bailey, a speculative eight-storey office block with ground floor bars and restaurants. Construction is due to start in September, with hope that “a new public square, extensive landscaping and an outdoor events space” on the sunny side (Mark Addy side) of the river will deflect from the mundanity of the office design.

Ralli Courts: dullRalli Courts: dull 

City Wharf plansCity Wharf plans

Next door Irish developers McAleer and Rushe got permission in 2012 to replace the dull brown City Wharf buildings with a 271 bed hotel and offices in a 12-storey tower. 

Salford Central Station has already been vastly improved and it is hoped that work will be done soon to raise the platform - so you'll no longer have to risk a broken ankle getting off. 

Back along Chapel Street, where crossing the Trinity Way junction takes ages, and into the historic Cathedral area. This bit of Salford has eighteen listed buildings, the Cathedral and former Town Hall among them. 

The former Town Hall is being converted into 122 apartments by X1 Developments. They are already being sold on to investors with promises of a 6% net yield for five years. Advertised price is £84,950 for a 30sq m one bed. That’s tiny.

X1 Town HallX1 Town Hall

X1 is also developing student residential further along Chapel Street, again being sold on to individual investors. 

The walk from the Town Hall behind the Cathedral to St Philips Church is unexpectedly leafy and tranquil, with random sculpture and squares the legacy of past regeneration initiatives. 

A grassy plot here, officially F4, is earmarked for residential, more than likely to be town houses given the current demand from buyers. 

Cathedral House is being renovated and will soon provide accommodation for priests, while the gardens have been replanted and are now a fine place for wedding photos. There are plans to open up more of the Cathedral site. The Diocese also owns the handsome former Education Offices building.

Vimto Gardens DevelopmentVimto Gardens Development

Facing across Chapel Street is Vimto Gardens, so named because the original Vimto factory stood just up the road. It will deliver 83 apartments and fourteen townhouses built around an inner courtyard with four retail units, including a supermarket, at street level. 

The distinctive facade of the former Bell Tower pub frames the western edge of the scheme and thirteen units in this section will be the first to be completed in September, with the remainder due for completion in December.

Sales launch early next month.

While the apartments front Chapel Street, the townhouses are at the back with front doors onto Barrow Street and there will also be a first floor communal garden and courtyard parking.

Vimto Gardens TownhousesVimto Gardens Townhouses

This mix of apartments, townhouses, communal gardens and street frontage is a model that works well for Muse. Their Islington Wharf Mews scheme in New Islington is an example of how developers can provide good looking inclusive street scenes and still offer secure areas and private spaces.

Of the 800 or so inquiries that have been logged for Vimto since the scheme was first announced, around 30% have been for the townhouses. That Help to Buy is available on 100% of the properties will undoubtedly help sales. Get in while you still can.

St Phillips C of E Primary School (by Vimto Gardens) once at risk of closure, is now being extended.

We stop for a brew at Islington Mill, rescued from ruin by former St Martin’s College student Bill Campbell who is saving it one brick at a time and providing an outlet for all sorts of creative arts.

Islington MillIslington Mill

Mayall said: “This shows the ambition of what we are doing here. We have Islington Mill but we also have Grade A office space at New Bailey.

“We have a university, a Cathedral, two train stations, a river, new housing, hotels, and we're on the doorstep of Spinningfields, one of the most successful developments outside London.

“Salford Central is a place in its own right but it would be completely false of us if we did not see its proximity to Manchester as a huge opportunity.”

Is he convinced that this time it will work, that the investment and improvements and place making will be wholescale and long lasting?

“Salford had made previous attempts but it had been disjointed repairs and improvements, nothing joined up, no cohesive plan. Developers had no comfort that the whole area would be regenerated.

Phil Mayall has his hand eaten by a wallPhil Mayall has his hand eaten by a wall

"A lot of time has been put into the framework and we do expect other developers and landowners to make progress to the same time scale as ECf.

“We have implementation agreements on three schemes and it removes the temptation for developers to sit back and simply wait for values to rise without making a contribution to the initial impetus.

“We have secured £100m investment in the last twelve months, more than the area has had in the last decade. We want to get the first elements done to help drive the area and lift values.

“To my way of thinking, if we can get the people back in, repopulate the area, then everything else should follow.

"It’s a long term view and comprehensive approach.”


More on the development of Salford Central and Chapel Street.


City Wharf currentlyCity Wharf currently

City Wharf plansCity Wharf plans

Town HallTown Hall

Ralli Quays (left), City Wharf (right)Ralli Quays (left), City Wharf (right)

St Philip's ChurchSt Philip's Church

Chapel Street Education OfficesChapel Street Education Offices

Cathedral GardensCathedral Gardens


Salford SquareSalford Square

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

Alex24June 13th 2014.

Really good read as always. It's not always a popular sentiment but the sooner Salford and Manchester officially fall under the city of 'Manchester' (interestingly the BBC uses 'Salford' less and less) the better for both areas and our city as a whole. I've also noticed many younger people who live across the Irwell now refer to it as Manchester. Manchester and Salford are not East/West Berlin or Shenzhen/Hong Kong - it's juvenile and counterproductive to sound agglomeration economics to keep them separate - regardless of what the mayor of Salford, who would be out of a job, says. Hopefully increased development along Chapel Street will help the inevitable process of making both areas one and the same.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Agglomeration economics is precisely the thing that binds salford and manchester together. Economies do not respect arbitrary and archaic administrative boundaries.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Yes, I think Manchester should have a 'Hug a Salfordian' Day. It would help inner city cohesion. I would gladly hug someone from Salford, just as long as they weren't actively involved with that 'shopping with violence' event back in August 2011.

Alex24June 13th 2014.

You're right it does, but my point is that Manchester and Salford being both classed as cities is still counterproductive to this. Not to mention the confused messages it sends to tourists and international businesses. Copied and pasted below from Wikipedia: The ultimate end to agglomeration economies is the formation and growth of A city

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

I think you have misinterpreted the word word "end" in that quote. Think of it more as 'end result'.

Peter CoppingJune 15th 2014.

Westminster and Camden haven't found the need 'to get together' in London.

Peter CoppingJune 15th 2014.

When is Salford's Unity Development Plan and where is the Master Plan for this Area?

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Jill I think you'll find that the recent impetus was the result of one of the largest compulsory purchase orders of recent times finally being granted, allowing work by public-private outfit EcF to progress in earnest on the first few schemes. That and the dramatically improved environment in and around chapel street.

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

Encouraging stuff.....I LIVE in one of the "BEST" areas of City of Salford (BETTER than your usual DIDSBURYS & CHORLTONS to be honest..!!) and proud of it...Sure we MUST work together as a CONURBATION ..UNLIKE Birmingham and region, OUR TEN councils do and IS a GOOD thing....Greater London has the TWO cities (Westminster and Square Mile..) AND 30 PLUS London Boroughs....

8 Responses: Reply To This...
TerraJune 15th 2014.

Hi, could you tell me what area of Salford are you referring to when you say its better than didsbury & chorlton? I'm genuinely asking as I do not know of any area in Salford that can be even compared...

Poster BoyJune 15th 2014.

Do you have to shout...?

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

Is Worsley really that good?

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Must be Monton???

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Monton is really nice. Loads of deli's café's and bistros, some nice bars plus a couple of nice restaurants I'd happily live there. Just as good as Didsbury and Chorlton but about a third cheaper as its north Manchester. Worsley and the Quays are also great places to live in Salford. If it's good enough for the likes of Fred Done and Christopher Ecclestone then it's good enough for most. I suspect most wouldn't mind being a few quid behind them?!

rinkydinkJune 16th 2014.

Terra, Chorlton is nothing special. A bit rough looking in parts, really

AnonymousJune 19th 2014.

Monton and Worsley and Broughton Park..Chorlton is rough in parts...

AnonymousJune 19th 2014.

Definitely Monton. Really nice area and some lovely new bars and restaurants. Looking forward to Monton marina and Duke's Drive Park being established too.

SparkleJune 15th 2014.

The heart went out of Salford when they removed the Market two and a half years ago and replaced it with yet another supermarket !!!! Salford people are about community and if you speak to anyone from Salford they will tell you how much it is missed

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 13th 2015.

That market was nasty. That whole shopping precinct is nasty. They would be better razing that to the ground and building houses on it and build a waterside market at the Quays and an indor village shopping centre. There is one in Skipton and it is very pleasant with nice shops and cafes in it and for our bad weather it has a roof on it. Something like that would really enhance the Quays.

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

EDITORIALLY REMOVED: It's just so depressing that people such as this 'Anonymous' are so narrow-minded. Jonathan Schofield - editor

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Yesssssssssssssss. I was coming on here to rant back at them, but NO NEED. "I get so tired living such a pathetic sad life that all I can do is moan and bring down the vibe of this otherwise generally nice website." THE MIND BOGGLES. Let's all get drunk and be friends. Also, isn't it about time to ban Anon ranting... Love from Anon.

AnonymousFebruary 13th 2015.

Would someone explain to me why Salford does not have a proper centre? There has to be a reason. It is not because it has close proximity to Manchester because all the towns in the conurbation are close and they all have a centre. Is Salford the only city in the world without a city centre. Is the rightful centre Chapel street? and if this is the case why is it so scruffy and neglected. I find it odd that development on that side of the Irwell has never really taken off. Is there anyone out there who knows the reasons why?

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

It should be pointed out that Salford isn't a shanty town in the Central African Republic; what never ceases to bemuse me is the amazement of the denizens of places like Levenshulme "Oh my word, Penelope, these people actually have a DELI here!!"

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GetJune 16th 2014.

And that's something that actually happens in reality, is it? Or is it something you've conjectured in your head?

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Exhibit A: The BBC types who have begrudgingly made the move North. Exhibit BL People who think Didsbury or Chorlton is the be all and end all.

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Lived in Monton for 42 years. Still not been stabbed. Amazing. Maybe it's not as popular as Didsbury to the Southerners who come up for University or the BBC-funded-types who think they're so adventurous for leaving Camden and replacing it with a near replica in Chorlton.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Completely - there's a very patronising attitude towards Salford. I personally think both Didsbury (far to far from the City Centre, ghastly traffic) and Chorlton (crime hotspot, next to worst areas of MCR, frightful parking) are both over-rated and attract the most sanctimonious and pretentious people outside the London media set.

rinkydinkJune 16th 2014.

Chorlton a near replica of Camden? Don't make me laarf...

Adam CarlisleJune 16th 2014.

The newly laid road on Chapel Street (particularly opposite the Cathedral) is already collapsing in many places. Why can't they get the original contractors back?(!) The concretes practically still wet.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Friends of Angel MeadowJune 16th 2014.

The Galliford Try and BAM Construction workmanship around the new NOMA estate, the ringroad and the Angel Meadow residential estate is similarly appalling (and even dangerous) in places. Despite numerous issues highlighted and promises made by MCC and the Co-op, nobody seems capable of holding these people to account.

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

That City Wharf thing looks 20 years out of date already. Really nasty looking. I hope it doesn't get built.

1 Response: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistJune 16th 2014.

It will. Any development is good development is the new mantra it seems at the minute. I agree though the design is average at best.

Andrew SpinozaJune 16th 2014.

Jill, a super piece but did you get tired out and so not bother making it to Greengate? It's in Central Salford you know. As it's probably the only bit of CS which Muse don't have their claws into, you could have wandered unescorted by their PRs and had a look at all the residents, commercial and leisure buildings flying up and in the planing right on the very border of Salford and Manchester city centre.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

And be escorted around instead by ASK's PR I guess?

AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

No mention of the Alto development either, which is well advanced.

Bernadette GriffinJune 17th 2014.

What a pity the regeneration doesn't extend to Eccles. We are well placed (proximity to motorway/good public transport). Second class citizens yet again.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 17th 2014.

Eccles is shocking! It was great when it had the big open market. The shopping centre was always full of people, the bars were always full and it was a good night out. Total opposite now. The pubs I used to frequent are now 99p and 89p shops?! West One, what a waste of space! The big bingo hall on Liverpool Rd seems to have been empty and derelict for 20 years. And to think Eccles is minutes from The Quays, Monton & Worsley!

AnonymousJune 19th 2014.

But do have Ellesmere Park....

AnonymousJune 18th 2014.

Rather irritating assumptions in the article. Firstly the foundations for the regeneration was laid in the work done by the regeneration company. It was not the English Cities fund that provided the impetus but rather a partnership. Secondly Salford does not see itself as an appendage of Manchester but having its own identity. Had we simply been a surburb of Manchester I dont believe the regeneration of Chapel Street or Media City would have happened

3 Responses: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistJune 18th 2014.

Salford is it's own city but why can't it be a city within another city? Manchester and Salford should work together, strength comes from unity after all. You never hear the city of Westminster wanting to distance itself from being in the city of London do you?

AnonymousJune 18th 2014.

But you do have the "City of London" working on its own agenda (as in the actual city, not the conurbation of London)

AnonymousJune 18th 2014.

The conurbation of London and Westminster both work together and see the the point in doing so despite both being cities in their own right. When people think of Westminster they think London likewise when most people think Salford they think of Manchester. Don't see the point in trying to be separate and weakening what we could achieve together.

AnonymousNovember 4th 2014.

I am Salfordian. End of.

1 Response: Reply To This...
rinkydinkNovember 4th 2014.

And obviously open to discussion

AnonymousDecember 24th 2014.

Salford = Hackney

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