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Confidential’s parking influence: lower Christmas charges

NCP responds to Confidential’s criticism with a bespoke press release

Published on November 25th 2009.


Confidential’s parking influence: lower Christmas charges

Last week Sleuth invited (click here) all the drivers back into Manchester.

The eternal roadworks had gone, under a prior agreement between the city council and the utility companies.

We’re always banging on about the need to make sure the car driver is welcome in Manchester city centre, and that council or car park company profiteering isn’t jeopardising the future of the heart of the region.

Sleuth had a suggestion.

To help the city centre battle against the Trafford Centre and all its free spaces, as well as the gratis parking in warehouse bland lands such as Handforth Dean, we may want to think again about city fees.

Sleuth proposed a fee amnesty on certain days, particularly Sundays and evenings across the city including NCP car parks.

In response we got a bespoke email from NCP yesterday which announced: ‘NCP Announces Lower Car Parking Charges for Christmas Season.’

This isn’t an amnesty but it’s a start, and very welcome at that.

Apparently this may have happened anyway.

But we’re going to claim credit for it, because we’re always banging on about the need to make sure the car driver is welcome in Manchester city centre and that council or car park company profiteering isn’t jeopardising the future of the heart of the region.

Here’s the breakdown of the reductions with the maximum savings that can be made under the new scheme.

This is the NCP supplied information.

‘NCP, the UK's largest operator of off-street car parks, will reduce prices in key Manchester car parks throughout December. The car parks involved include:

Weekday Rates, between 17:00 and 22:00:

Printworks £3 for 5 hours – maximum saving 63% (£5.20)

Chorlton Street £3 for 5 hours – maximum saving 69% (£6.60)

Church Street £3 for 5 hours – maximum saving 63% (£5.20)

King Street £5 for 5 hours – maximum saving 75% (£15)

Event Rates:

Spinningfields Ice Rink 25% discount (depends on length of stay)

Bridgewater Hall £6.50 for 6 hours – 8% (50p)

MEN Arena £9 per show – set rate

Palace and Opera House £6 for 6 hours (pay at venue) Palace - 32% (£2.80) Opera House (Spinningfields) – 33% (£3)

Sunday Rates:

£3 for 4 hours and £6 for up to 24 hours at High Street (maximum saving £19), Church Street (maximum saving £7.40) and Market Place (maximum saving £9.30) car parks and £2.50 for all day at the Arena (saving £1).

Steve Pyle, regional managing director for NCP commented: "The demand for parking in the run up to Christmas is typically double what we see for the rest of the year. Some of the most popular parking destinations for shoppers will be full at peak times. By lowering our prices in some of our other car parks we can offer our customers an attractive alternative, which will result in less congestion and a better experience for everyone."'

That’s lovely of Steve. And as we say, it’s a start. But maybe we need a city summit of all key players and interest groups about city centre parking in the New Year. We have to make sure that Manchester city centre access is easy for all users whether that be drivers, people who use public transport, cyclists or those who walk in.

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

BOBBYHNovember 25th 2009.

WHEN DO THE REVISED CHARGES COME INTO EFFECT?

east lancsNovember 25th 2009.

When you take your caps lock off! Nah, it says "throughout December".

MurphNovember 25th 2009.

Well I would just like to say goodbye!!£100 / £120 per annum for what is basically a 'free-sheet' advertising newspaper?Bollocks!

^.^November 25th 2009.

A brave but massively flawed business model. As if anyone would be willing to pay for advertisements, which is essentially what you provide. Laters

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

No words - I agree with all rants

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

Thanks for the email/invite Man Con but £10.00 per month is £10.00 too much, Im out. See ya.

John McrNovember 25th 2009.

Agreed very brave, I get to go to many events in the city from openings to launches without the help of ManCon so won't be paying £100 myself , shame to see it go as love the reviews and banter and hope it works for them.There is enough going on in this great city you can see and go to without paying someone £100 a year to make you feel like a 'uVIP'

RichardNovember 25th 2009.

This membership idea is such a dumb idea - I might pay to read the Times every day but there is NO WAY I will pay to read Manchester Confidential. I have no doubt you will reverse this decision, because the membership takeup will be less than 1% of your readership and with your readership will go your advertising revenue. Good luck!

Rob the PeachNovember 25th 2009.

Another follower lost I am afraid. Agree with the other posters and someone else will come along with effectively the same site for free in the coming months. It's a real shame but Confidential cannot survive...

leeNovember 25th 2009.

Pay £10 a month to read adverts? lmfao. Who came up with this idea in the midst of the worst recession the history of great britain? What a genius..... see ya confidential

simonNovember 25th 2009.

10 pounds a month, for this. You have to be joking. I admire the attempt to pilfer so much for so little but really who will pay for what is in essence a restaurant **** fest for 'young' professionals...

currybellyNovember 25th 2009.

Business model?260,000 with 2% conversion rate5,200 @ £120 = £624,000 nice!!But will businesses be willing to pay to advertise to 5,200 people? I think not. BTW I won't be one of the 2%

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

So the £10 a month is just to READ the site and non-members will be greeted with, presumably, a login box and a few teaser headlines? Won't something else just take its place? Confidential's beauty is in the fact that it's a big mass of people getting behind various causes and issues; if it's a tiny minority of people paying to view, that goes...I'm all for Confidential finding a sustainable business model to keep it going, I'm only too aware of the issues surrounding relying on advertising revenue (!), I don't want to see it disappear, I'm just not sure whether this is the right thing.

John McrNovember 25th 2009.

I think they have totally mis-judged their readership, everyone I know comes on here to read the reviews and for food offers so to offer gig tickets, fashion shows and secret sales is so far off the mark.. all of these things are not worth paying for, like ive said if you look hard enough there are loads of events on in the city you dont need to pay for.As I worked for a company that ploughed a lot of Ad money into this site It would be interesting to see them explain to current Advertisers that their site traffic has just dropped through the floor!There are many great foodie blogs around so start reading them instead

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

There are plenty of other place to get restaurant offers, bar offers, theatre tickets etc, discounted, free and to win!!Try - fmanchester.comorwww.manchestertheatres.comBoth… of which have some great offers, and discounts and all you have to pay is errrmmm nothing!!

GKWNovember 25th 2009.

Not April 1st. is it ??

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

£10 a month is a joke.

Social CircleNovember 25th 2009.

I admire your courage to try and get money out of people in the midst of the worst recession ever, membership is a commitment that the average person will just not sign up to, when we have so many papers and magazines now giving us local offers as lets face it the restaurants and bars are crying out for trade. Its at least a 1 year learning program so good luck. Steve

ONovember 25th 2009.

but what about the interview with the Saturday's and their opinion on who should win the x factor this year... surely that's worth a tenner, no?

julianNovember 25th 2009.

Not such a good idea. Great website, keeps us in touch with what's happeng, thought-provoking articles that generate much discussion. I'd hate it to fail because I love the site. But £120 a year? Not for me I'm afraid, even with the incentive of VIP status invites. It's been seen that the web world has very little time for subscription based services, especially.Murdoch is going to try it. And industry experts are predicting failure, calling it a folly. Great though mancon is, is it so essential that we will want to pay? I doubt it. The number of subscribers would have to off-set the fall in visitors (and thus ad revenue) to make it viable. And, as it says above, that's a very risky strategy.

CHSNovember 25th 2009.

I'm just really sad that it's come down to this - £10 a month, or no ManCon. Or are the non-VIPs going to get a cheaper rate?If I could afford to eat out more, I may want to pay to read the reviews. As it is, once a month if I'm lucky. I just can't justify it, when £10 a month could pay for something more essential.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

"Restaurants of Manchester" is crap, Confidential's much better. If anything replaces Man Con it'll be something we haven't seen yet.

chickenkeeperNovember 25th 2009.

Have to agree with everyone else, plenty of other sites to look at & what a great opportunity for someone else to come along & start up a new site. Someone's had a bad idea, haven't you guys! I'm off...

Ed GlinertNovember 25th 2009.

£10 a month? The MEN is free (in the city centre) and funnier, even if not intentionally so. If ManCon provided some editorial quality then I'd happily pay £10 a week. But too many articles are written by ill-informed novices and amateurs, and even the mighty J Schofield wings it too often. (I'm still reeling from his Kraftwerk review at the Festival). But then again, this is Manchester, where sadly the standards are lower than in London.

Ed GlinertNovember 25th 2009.

£10 a month? The MEN is free (in the city centre) and funnier, even if not intentionally so. If ManCon provided some editorial quality then I'd happily pay £10 a week. But too many articles are written by ill-informed novices and amateurs, and even the mighty J Schofield wings it too often. (I'm still reeling from his Kraftwerk review at the Festival). But then again, this is Manchester, where sadly the standards are lower than in London.

CasNovember 25th 2009.

I think the problem, or one of them, is that people have always found ManCon fun and impressive in that you all seem to have a ball and manage to make enough to keep the thing going. Makes it lovable. However when you're asking people in boring office jobs to subsidise what seems to them like 'having a ball' then they're going to see their arse. They see it as your job to make the financial wheels turn and not theirs. Just my opinion on why everyone is so against it. I've signed up though and will be using the econcierge.

Chris PaulNovember 25th 2009.

I agree with Ed, £10 per month etc is completely the wrong price point for an opportunity to be marketed at 24/7. £2 a month might be more like it. £20 a year. Even at that it's a dubious proposition. Paywalls are coming but the more successful ones IMO will begin with micropayments and once settled offer subscriptions for different use patterns. If you want to raise £100,000 Gordo sell shares.

Chris PaulNovember 25th 2009.

PS The implication is that there will be a different deal for the non-Hero lower orders once Gordo's boots are filled. That should be announced as well. Hilarious point from Ed about standards in London. There's some reet sloppy ... (enough, PG Ed)

MittsNovember 25th 2009.

Got to agree with the majority here, the purpose of the site is to appeal to the readers who want a value for money through offers / ads posted by advertisers to entice us into their restaurant/bar/club - it works well, plus the rants are an amuzing spin off too. To pay for this? no sorry - in the middle of a slump too? Dont think so. Leave as is - it aint broke - dont try an fix it & hack off your loyal readers/bloggers!!.

Spice Adventure Social GroupNovember 25th 2009.

Fascinating - love the way this Parking article has been hi-jacked by the Subcription rant, people power. And full marks for not moderating the bad mouthing about you, ManCon, its one of the reasons we have come to love you.However wev'e been recruiting members at £10 a month for 30 years in Manchester, and even advertised with your good selves in the past, so have much insight into these things...and you'r new service better deliver huge savings as its word of mouth that will sell your subscription, not enticing emails for an unproven service. And of course you have to save the £120 fee a year back before 'real' savings start. We wish you well with your plans to self fund from the readers - business suicide or brilliance, we shall see, brave move indeed.

JinkiesNovember 25th 2009.

I've already signed up, the way I understand it is I get free stuff that's going to be worth more than the £10 a month I'll be paying. I like the sound of that. I might regret going for Hero level if a cheaper level is announced, but so long as I save £10 a month through confidential then I'm happy. Aint cost me owt, can't get owt for nowt.

Ed GlinertNovember 25th 2009.

£10 a month? The MEN is free (in the city centre) and funnier, even if not intentionally so. If ManCon provided some editorial quality then I'd happily pay £10 a week. But too many articles are written by ill-informed novices and amateurs, and even the mighty J Schofield wings it too often. (I'm still reeling from his Kraftwerk review at the Festival). But then again, this is Manchester, where sadly the standards are lower than in London.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

I don't mind paying such a small amount on the basis that the offers become considerably better than they currently are. As paying subscribers we would expect a considerably higher level of service and benefit.I have signed up, but I will review it in 3-months and if I don't feel it's worth it then I will be cancelling.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

They tried it last year and it failed, now here we go again. I'll look forward to another misguided and misleading sales pitch next year, which again we'll all ignore. Understand the need to make money, but come on, treat your devoted readership with some respect!

BlameNovember 25th 2009.

Did I miss something? Where does the email say we have to pay for content?

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

Are people actually expected to be saying 'I'm a Manchester Confidential Hero' out loud?

DescartesNovember 25th 2009.

It wouldn't be very Confidential then would it anon.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

Blame, I had the same thought, not having seen anything official from Man Con about paying for content, but assumed based on all these rants that it was the case that we'd be paying for the content we currently read for free.

scoteeeNovember 25th 2009.

hang on i have to jump in here.Firstly i am willing to bet that those of you who rant here regularly would have bugger all to do in the day so Cas I would expect you to cough up,God knows you pay those horrendous bank fees.Mancon is not saying you can't visit the sight get involved in some way or another,they are simply stating that for all the additional offers and savings you will have to start to pay.My question is this, why would you not re-visit the site anymore just becuase you don't get something for nothing?to quote the email "Confidential is changing over the coming eight weeks. The site has been completely re-built and will become mainly a members’ site".

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

Anon and blame, you must have missed the part where it said 'confidential is to close'. I for one will not be taking part in this, terrible terrible idea.

CasNovember 25th 2009.

Scoteee if you can be arsed reading what I said, I have coughed up. Though we both have coughed up others are entitled to their opinions and I think ManCon needs to hear them.

BlameNovember 25th 2009.

I took that as a sensationalist subject to get me to open the email, read scotteee's quote just above, "MAINLY A MEMBERS SITE" doesn't mean full wall and all content blocked like FT.com. Well that's my assumption anyway, and I prefer that to thinking I'll get to a locked door and not have the key.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

I think Confidential probably assumes the passing of some information doesn't it, Descartes? Otherwise, it'd be Manchester Mute.

scoteeeNovember 25th 2009.

Cas- I did read it,and I said " I would expect you to cough up",as in i would expect someone of your inclusion/involvment (ranting etc..) to cough up anyhow.You enjoy it,I know you do,I just hope your team in that office with the dodgy carpets are not as enthusiastic as you...:@P

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

The door is locked, bolted and pad-locked ;)"Therefore we are turning Confidential into a club. Like most good clubs, we will be charging for membership, and membership will have its benefits. Those benefits will far and away cover your membership investment."

Karen HNovember 25th 2009.

The way I read this is that its not subscription but just a membership idea. I will still look forward to the emails and will still open them. I don't think a wall is being put up to us. And I agree with Spice people, no other website would keep these comments up.

CasNovember 25th 2009.

Dodgy carpets? Stripped wooden floors Scoteee. The rest of the computers are barred from these kind of frivolous sites.

GemmaNovember 25th 2009.

Will admit I very much enjoy your site but I will most definately not be paying for the pleasure! Goodluck and take care when you come crashing back down to earth...

GezzabelleNovember 25th 2009.

Blimey! Gordo you have massive great big balls of steel to be doing this, and I hope you're not crumpled in a heap in the office crying because of all these haters. I know you've been planning it for a while and like you've said so many times in the past, you have got to find some way of paying good writers and content etc. I hope you succeed and your old sparring partner Mr Murdoch comes and buys your model off you. Good luck guys x

John McrNovember 25th 2009.

Are there any other websites anyone can think of at this level who have successfully pulled this off???

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

I suppose the biggest operation of this kind worldwide is Time Out NYC, which spawned a whole worldwide industry with magazines, guide books etc and they don't charge. A big ManCon problem is when you Google 'manchester', there is no ManCon anywhere to be seen Even 'manchester restaurants' has it way down the list after competitors. They do have a PPC campaign but need to up the bid amount and come top.

printermanNovember 25th 2009.

Gordo i know you like goose tends to go down very well with a fine wine looks though that you have now cooked it yourself, Sorry its going to stick in your throat along with the last golden egg

bodjNovember 25th 2009.

just finished laughing......People are refusing, en masse, to pay for printed, hard copy magazines.....hence the freefall in revenue for the glossy titles..Why would anyone therefore, in any numberts, pay for an e-magazine ??

emma graceNovember 25th 2009.

Awww. Well it's been fun, but I suppose it's a sign of the times. I won't be subscribing (simply because I live in London now and so won't benefit from any of the Confidential offers anymore). If I was still in Manchester I might consider it, although my participation is limited to reading/ranting/arguing/moaning etc etc. And I can do all that at my boyfriend for free. Good luck Mancon xx

notfooledNovember 25th 2009.

good luck with your subscription, you'll be dead within a year. Been a good read over the years, but this'll kill it. greed - pure and simple

Stuart4940November 25th 2009.

Surprised to see so many negative comments, I was thinking of subscribing till I read all these, now I'm not so sure. How well will it be patronised?

scoteeeNovember 25th 2009.

Stuart,paying members will get the benefits of offers earlier,they will also benefit from some of the many deals available at restaurants and other events.Non paying readers can still visit the site;at least that's my understanding.Not sure what all the fuss is about to be honest.You don't have to pay and if you never use the offers then what's everyone's problem?

Sue DonnhymNovember 26th 2009.

notfooled, it's not "greed" at all mate. Ad revenues have plummeted; to a fraction of even 12 months ago. ManCon have a lot of staff, they work hard, don't let the joviality of Gordo and Schofield fool you, the staff need paying, bills need paying, and ad revenues certainly are not paying.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

Well said scotteee. People are just jumping on something that isn't true and going crazy commenting. I say wait and see, something's bound to come out about a free membership for people that just want to read and never use offers.

jef2020November 26th 2009.

£10 a month! For less than half of that you can get a 200 page full glossy mag! Where the hell did they come up with that price? Well good luck, and indeed goodnight!

The Lampshade with AttitudeNovember 26th 2009.

What a bunch of miserable, mean spirited arses you lot are. You in particular Emma Grace, I know you, you have had great fun with Mancon. Firstly, you don't have to pay, as I understand it, for most of the articles and the rants, If I was Schofield I would make you pay for this facility, secondly, having joined up for heroes, on the trust of what Mancon are offering i will make a profit, and thirdly, I have done so much through Mancon for which i have saved bloody fortunes I am happy to throw a couple of quid a week in. What miserable fckers you are. And let me tell you one thing.. How big are Mancon's balls compared to you negative ingrates by allowing your negative, witch hunt whinging mentality to stay up without cutting it down? Not exactly the Iranian Government are they?

missfleaNovember 26th 2009.

scoteee, you have missed the point. Organisations put offers on websites such as mancon as a way of advertising. It's simply a different way of paying for ad space. So, if only a few mancon subscribers take up the 'heroes' (Puh-leaze!) offer, it is not going to be worth their while to continue offering these deals and mancon will lose content and subscribers all in one hit. Trust me, I'm a publisher. If not a joke, then this is a very bad move for mancon as there are loads of websites out there where you can get cheap meal offers, competitions, etc etc

scoteeeNovember 26th 2009.

jef a 200 page full glossy will at best issue you with a sample hand cream or a free fuking flea comb.why don't you understand what the point is? for thos of us that don't read the details see this from the man himself.Confidential is to close. But will re-open all sparkly, new and better.Confidential was born five years ago. The technology, pretty swizz at the time, is now creaking, so we have spent nine months rebuilding the site and we are now close to launch. At the same time, what started out as an experiment has turned into something far more serious, each week over 260,000 people read us. The majority of our readers look to us for deals and advice and treat us as a trusted friend. Confidential has become the village square for a large community of like-minded people. People who are not afraid to spend money but, at the same time, expect good value. It’s time for us to grow up. We need to get better offers for our community; better deals all round, saving the community money by bringing its spending power into play in a whole new way.To do this we need more resource; advertising income alone will not suffice. At the same time we need to ensure that we are not over-reliant on that advertising income and can, therefore, retain our reputation as being impartial in our reviews and stories. Therefore we are turning Confidential into a club. Like most good clubs, we will be charging for membership, and membership will have its benefits. Those benefits will far and away cover your membership investment. You already have probably seen some of the benefits we can give you by simply reading Confidential. You ain’t seen nothing yet’.

John McrNovember 26th 2009.

Miserable? Mean?If you have received something free for the last few years and then at the height of the worst recession of modern times, you are asked to pay handsomely for something promised blindly... when you can clearly find other free methods on the internet you would naturally question it.I know ManCon is a business and have worked with them before BUT I think this business model is flawed massively and by judging the general vibe on here you can see most people agree. To dramatically send an email around to your subscribers declaring you are closing and you have to fork out to join some sort of elitist club I think goes against the grain of the readership of this site. Again I hope they do well as they are a great bunch of people and like everyone else have to make money but doing it this way won't make them many new readers or fans.

The Lampshade with AttitudeNovember 26th 2009.

'elitist', ooh dear, well we know what your POV will be. If I was the mancon team I would simply say thanks and get on over the the MEN sites that are closing down, they are free for the time being

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

I think you are all talking up your arses. People pay to read quality content in newspapers and magazines. from what I understand, all that will still be free to read on Mancon. What's the problemo?

GordoNovember 26th 2009.

Nice too hear your points of view folks, i am doing a TwitterView at 3.00pm if you want to know the real story, #brazenqt

GordoNovember 26th 2009.

Emma Grace, shame on you, you made Gordo cry with that horrible attitude...

John McrNovember 26th 2009.

Anon clearly talking out of your arse as I don't pay to read the Guardian, The Times and countless blogs which like ManCon are all online.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

How do I get this twitterview thing? I did a search on that #brazenqt thing but all I can see are foodie comments?

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

John McR, do I detect a whiff of methane from your last post. Papers won't be free for long. How do you think journalists get paid? (I might have known you'd be a Guardian reader)

Liverpool WagNovember 26th 2009.

Emma Grace! Are you implying that you have a life now that you live in London?

emma graceNovember 26th 2009.

Lampshade...yes I have had lots of fun with mancon, but my point is, I don't live in Manchester anymore! So £10 a month seems a bit much just to come on here and rant! Have to say though, I will really miss coming on here and giving my ten-pence-worth in all the debates. It has as you say, been great fun. And Gordo, I think you're just crying because I've moved to London.

CarynNovember 26th 2009.

Hey all.I really love this site and if it needed a bit of income to keep it going I would have gladly paid £1 a month. With 260,000 readers.... is a quarter of a million £/month not enough?!!! Real shame. Goodbye ManCon, im sure something will take its place soon.

AnonNovember 26th 2009.

Im well aware of future paid subscriptions as Apple are gearing up for changing the game via their tablet and using iTunes as a method of distributing this BUT I can still find decent content online for free and always will be able to. Nothing wrong with wanting to make money from good content but I wouldn't class this website in the bracket of the content the Guardian or other media outlets deliver.

emma graceNovember 26th 2009.

And lampshade, I did say if I was still in Manchester, I probably would pay because I think the offers are great value for money. If you take Mancon up on just one of those special deals per month, the membership pays for itself.

scoteeeNovember 26th 2009.

£10 a month to generate me improved deals in restaurants and be amongst the first to be offered such deals? Yes, that makes sense to me. I am sure I will benefit from this over the course of each month. How hard is that to understand? what discounts does The Guardian offer me locally? How do the M.E.N benefit me? They don’t, I get no sense of community from the MEN and I cannot air my views and express them without sense checking .You see, to me this site is still unique and going places, the publisher will discuss issues and opinions with me directly the staff are equally as friendly, Do you get that from any other online magazine? It's good to see however that the negative chaff is being separated from the forward thinking wheat ...Ms G I too will miss you and your plastic bottles. I am sure your days will be filled with re-cycling water bottles for your new home.x

JaneybabyNovember 26th 2009.

@john mcr, this site is mainly about food reviews, that is the main reason I come here, and the offers and deals; where else can I find reviews of the same quality? It isn't news; The times etc are going paid for in the spring, now with the BBC there for free, that is a brave move.

John McrNovember 26th 2009.

Okay ill put it this way, look at the current offers on at the moment.. are they worth £120 a year? If your telling me I will be getting something a lot better, something amazing that will make me want to part with that money then like when buying any product... show me.Saying I will be part of a VIP group that will get offers and invites isnt good enough for me, some examples would be great and make me change my mind, like who are they working with and whats actually in it for me. Then I might change my tune and subscribe but I cant seriously part with more than I pay for any other subscription without knowing what I'm paying for!

Behave yourselfNovember 26th 2009.

If there are all these other sites and blogs, how come everyone is ranting on this one? Gordo must be laughing his arse off!

GreatbutnotenoughNovember 26th 2009.

Now the parking fees. Good idea but more needed to really get the city centre back on track.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

From what I can tell from that fairly confusing Twitterview, the majority of current features will still be free to view. If the new scheme will bring benefits to some and very few negatives for the rest of us, then what's the problem? Good luck to Gordo and Jonathan, both of whom deserve credit and monetary reward for creating this unique and entertaining site.

Jennifer_HNovember 26th 2009.

I'm quite disappointed that ManCon are bringing in a subscription fee, if I can validate this as a legitimate business expense perhaps I'll subscribe. However, as it stands i would much rather pay £10 per month to read ManCon than shop in Manchester and use NCP parking. Overnight at G-Mex (8pm Fri- 10.30am sat) at a cost of £17 and under 3 hours at Great Northern on a Tues evening at £8.60! I'm not sure NCP can justify that any more than ManCon can justify £10 per month subscription!

jenniNovember 26th 2009.

OK so I've paid the money for a quarters membership this morning - when am I going to get my welcome email stuffed full of member benefits before the new site is actually up and running next year? I have been promised that this is a completely different kettle of fish to the sham that was the privelage card and it had better be!

John McrNovember 26th 2009.

Behave yourself: because most people are capable of reading/contributing on more than one site a day.Well from reading that last comment it sounds very different from the dramatic email sent this morning declaring "Confidential to close"

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

If what I read on twitter is the case, surely this should have been told to us from the start, in the email. Instead of 'mancon is closing' pay now or 'when we're full, we're full' scaremongering. Can't help but think this all could have been avoided or maybe it was all part of the plan. They do say no publicity is bad publicity. Brazen's idea perhaps, to point everyone in the direction of that particularly weak and confusing interview.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

Emma, reading and ranting is free. Don't believe the hype, read the twitter interview Godon just did. You pay if you want the extreme extras, if you don't then you just read along as normal.

JayneyBabyNovember 26th 2009.

JohnMCR, I saved £50 on my Ramson's dinner this month alone!! get real.

Beefy StewNovember 26th 2009.

<------------ laughing his bollocks off; how old are you lot? Garner is the king of wind up merchants, of course he wants to make you sit up and take stock, he has to get your atention!

John McrNovember 26th 2009.

JayneyBaby thats great for you but how much did you spend to save £50, I'm not sure if you have noticed but times are pretty hard at the moment and as much as this site is great for some offers it's not as if people will take up every single exclusive offer that comes up just so they can justify spending £120 a year. I subscribe to a few industry magazines that are offline and online that I feel are worth it, none of them are even close to £120... lower the price and be realistic rather than alienate people as not everyone wants to pay for something they have had for free for so long.

JimNovember 26th 2009.

So just don't use the friends and heroes stuff John. You can read and rant to your hearts content and not spend a penny.

John McrNovember 26th 2009.

Thats great if that is what will be still available, but after reading that email sent this morning it sounded like it would be "mainly a members' site"

KnowledgeableNovember 26th 2009.

Don't panic! It's just the old format of the site that's closing. The new one looks brilliant, er, allegedly

scoteeeNovember 26th 2009.

You know what John Mcr? why not just stick to railways weekly in the safe hope that you can still enjoy your egg and cress sandwich feeling all proud of yourself with your new locomotive stickers. FFS!

CasNovember 26th 2009.

Scoteee, stop attacking anyone who disagrees with the scheme. I've signed up, you have, they don't have to! They are also free to debate it on here.

scoteeeNovember 26th 2009.

as am i :@)

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

Note to Ed Glinert, before commenting on writing standards best revisit your manchester compendium and the Whalley Range/Chorlton chapters. This will avoid leaving yourself wide open

POGNovember 26th 2009.

Hey, Anonymous, that's a bit unfair on Ed Glinert! He lives in Manchester now, so presumably..... (only joking).Ed, why did you post your rant 3 times?

SibbyNovember 26th 2009.

You know he's not very technical POG!!!!!

Spice Adventure Social GroupNovember 26th 2009.

Fascinating stuff - pity some peeps can't be civil, reflects on them I guess and puts what they are defending in a poor light. I can't wait to see if this version of the old model suceeds. If its mainly great restaurant deals that will be offered, Hi Life have that sewn up in Manchester (well the UK) - at a mere £4 a month membership. Then theres new kid on the scene City Card at £3 a month as the current version of many that have tried and failed before. Anyone remember the V Card! or The Manchester Card? And if its discounts you want, how about the new FreeDiscountCard featured recently on Dragons Den and including a cashback feature. Still, if only 1% of the 260,000 Mancon subscribers payup - thats £26K a month - should be enough to pay the bills and not have to rely on advertisers. I'm still regretting the demise of the wonderful Midland Hotel Dining Club Card - I was a member for 20 years, a clever concept which worked really well enabling the Hotel to charge top doller to the visitors, and yet discreetly keep the restaurant busy w(£120 - you got a room once a year , a free meal everytime you dined, free spa visit when you dined, and other perks), until new management decided to change it so it was only valid a couple of nights a week and not at all in Dec. I heard it crashed and 'The French' has gone very quiet, now it has to rely on all the business accounts and footballers! I've spent thousands there over the years, but not a penny since - love to know if the accounts proved it to be a good move....

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

There are at least half a dozen 'VIP cards' floating around Manchester, along with an equal amount of web sites offering deals without any subscription payments. On top of that, an awful lot or bars and restaurants have their own loyalty cards or discount schemes. At a time when most mainstream web-based media is looking to be totally FOC, this seems a backward step by ManCon. The priviledge card failed badly, this seems no different. Once you pull the plug, ready for your relaunch, the sharks will be circling and along will come one of them with a free, web-based magazine - same format, same readership. If this site was not so biased toward certain establishments, chefs etc., I may have a different opinion but for a long time now, it's been like a stuffy old Gentlemens' club, thriving on gossip and the downfall of the MEN

Old Gentlemen's ClubNovember 26th 2009.

Yes, down with the MEN! And with WOMEN! And CHILDREN! And WRENS!

Jason BrookNovember 26th 2009.

What is that man on about Old Gentlemen's Club? Can't spot this on the homepage. I think it admirable that you keep on these negative comments. Odd that you do though.

Tom EvensNovember 26th 2009.

Mancon is very good at getting everybody talking though. Which is a benefit. And what about the breaking news job. A gimmick or a real sign that there is an alternative path.

Beefy StewNovember 26th 2009.

The last anonymous: WTF are you on this site for then? Mancon is head and shoulders above everyone you have mentioned. Just came back from an awesome meal at The Lowry which I reckon saved me £48. it took Manco five years to get it's readership you simpleton, and the vast majority of us read it because we trust them. God, you mealy mouthed mofo's. Give credit where credit is due.

SnapperNovember 26th 2009.

That Ed Glinert on here is very naughty. Not only does he show he can't stand Manchester with his compendium book but he also gets on the wick of us photographers. Read this: http://tiny.cc/eQmzv

little dNovember 26th 2009.

i will not be signing up either. the offers were fantastic i'm not going to lie, but it's a bit of a cheek to ask people to pay for discount vouchers, adverts and opinion columns. i love ManCon but i can get food deals from toptable - and they give points out too! i say think about the client more, you should have stuck with the format that clearly works, there would have been another way to 'progress' without taking money off an already breaking people!

Beefy StewNovember 26th 2009.

@little d An 'already breaking people'... what, the price of a latte once a week? methinks you are being a bit emotional here.

Furry HatNovember 26th 2009.

Had dinner at Rob Owen-Brown's Mark Addy on the Strictly deal last night. Really great value that one, saved about twenty five pounds between the wife and I. Can I say, mancon, that for two years now I have been using you and I have rarely been dissapointed, apart from a firm that does a lot of Rice and shall remain nameless. Don't let the negative ranters turn you away from your tasks, misery loves company and unfortunately us Mancs appear to be a right moaning lot. Once the negative people try the toptables (useless and no quality control whatsoever) and City Lives (erm, what happened there?) people will realise that Confidential is a one-off, certainly in the region, if not the country. You should open Birmingham by the way. There is bugger-all like you lot. Finally, I am signing up for Heroes on Monday, when my pay hits the bank. My pal on the desk opposite has as well.

basoNovember 26th 2009.

internet is FREE so use it for discounts on eating out discounts on shows discounts on clothes reviews on this reviews on that just GOOGLE what you want and its FREE not £10 a month like mancon want i for sure wont be a mug!!!! GOODBYE.....

JamesNovember 26th 2009.

Baso saying goodbye like that is so dimissive of people's hard work. How were you brought up. Anyway get the full story. Read the job ad on these pages and MAncon says this: "So we’re becoming a membership site - not a subscription site. We’re going to blow members away with extraordinary offers, great events and lots of surprises. BUT there will be free to read access on nearly all the stories for all those who care about Manchester and the region. This way we’ll build readership and gain more members." So you'll still be able to be freely bitter.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

Its difficult to expect people to sign up without being clear what the offer is. i.e. if its a restuarant discount scheme, that will appeal to different people than if its discounts off local food / drink shops, high end clothing shops, chain stores etc. I don't know if I want to pay £10 a month as I don't know what I will get. For example I work in the city but live in Saddleworth, therefore I usually go out in the evening or weekends in my local area rather than in Manchester, so offering me dinner deals doesn't appeal, but offering takeaway lunch discounts or clothes shop discounts might (depending how good the discounts are). ManCon is asking us to take a punt by signing up, and thats a difficult sell at any time, nevermind a recession.

A restaurant ManagerNovember 26th 2009.

A simple way around the fee, and to still keep up to date with restaurant offers; Think of all the restaurants youve visited over the last 12/18 months or whatever... Visit each of their websites, join their mailing list. Done. Every time a restaurant runs an offer/advert throuigh Man Con, they'll always whack it out to their own mailing list too. Easy. My favorites Harvey Nichols wine and dine thing, or the same at Hilton with a cocktail thrown in, likewise at Linen... et the picture? I like my unlimited wine!! Im on all their mailing lists and usually get the mailshot from the restaurant themselves before ManCon!!Unfortunately, having joined Man Con for restaurant news, I wont be paying £10 a month for that. I could get two copies a month of Caterer magazine a month for that! As for the offers, well, like I said, Ill be upping my subscriptions to the individual websites here on in and can only advise you to do the same... Good luck Man Con.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2009.

Caterer magazine is not relevant competition. Another thing about it that would put me off, is the fact it's shit. If ever stories were just thrown into something inbetween job adverts and the like, then that mag is it! You actually pay for that crap?!

A restaurant ManagerNovember 26th 2009.

Im not comparing. Man Con is very specific to Manchester (obviously) but caterer is industry wide news, trends and figures wise it is actually good. I agree about all the adverts, but then look at Man Con... Its full of them. Im sick to the back teeth of getting rubbish advert emails like Seat Servicing, 20% off clothes, teeth whitening, Harvey Nichols Fashion Shows etc... even though Im only signed up for Food News!! Caterer is an industry read, Man Con is fun. But from my point of view, as an industry professional, I wont pay twice the amount of an established publication which covers the whole of the UK, just to get opinion on Manchester. That was my point.. I do like Man Con, and enjoy it very much. I dont enjoy it to the point of parting with £120 a year!

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

You don't have to. It's only if you want the extras that you pay. Why is everyone finding this simple point so bloody hard to compute?!

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

they've put a message up now sayig it's not subscription and mancon don't seem to be kicking off about people not signing jup so it seems that if people wnat to take the punt now without any info they could be the winners if there's limits on some of the memberships, those that don;t want to won't benefit, but may decide they want to when more info is out... simples

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

they've put a message up now sayig it's not subscription and mancon don't seem to be kicking off about people not signing jup so it seems that if people wnat to take the punt now without any info they could be the winners if there's limits on some of the memberships, those that don;t want to won't benefit, but may decide they want to when more info is out... simples

The HamburglarNovember 27th 2009.

The amazing offers that you get from ManCon aren't paid for by ManCon are they? The way I see it local restaurants want as many people to take up these offers as possible because they are still paying customers who help to cover overheads, and if the customers have a nice time then they'll come back with friends and spread the word etc etc. A pretty basic marketing ploy.Therefore what do local restaurants have to gain from this membership idea? I'd like to know the opinion of some local restaurateurs please. Is this membership idea good for you in any way?

C 2 the GNovember 27th 2009.

Hamburglar, I agree local restaurants want as many people as possible to take these offers up! What you fail to realise is that every restaurant owner doesn't have time to market their restaurant properly and keep ahead of the times, even if people like the restaurant they will go elsewhere. When was the last time you rang to book a table or just walked in and staff took basic details such as email address etc this is basics, the fact remains that restaurant owners are concerned about providing good food and service and use people like Man Con to do what they have done so well and provide a marketing service. The marketing ploy you speak about is not quite so simple with so much competition within Manchester and with people moving in and out of the City. There is not 1 restaurant in Manchester that would say “NO I don’t want anymore customers; my restaurant is full at all times”. I would assume the membership will add value and help promote restaurants even more and assist owners with the marketing campaigns they simply don’t have time to do. Only a point of view as I have not fully looked at the paid membership scheme but surely it will be a major plus for any restaurant owner who looks at it from this angle

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

I am a regular visitor to The Bridgewater Hall nad my understanding is that the £6.50 charge by NCP does not represent a reduction on the current charges. The manned Park Avenue car park next to The Bridgewater Hall offers parking at £5 for patrons - thereby beating the offer from NCP and making a visit to the Bridgewater Hall even cheaper - and in my view Park Avenue offer a superior level of customer service.

BlooMoonerNovember 27th 2009.

That Ed Glinert on here seems to have got up everyones nose.(See Snappers comments above), also read the reviews of his book on Amazon at http://tiddlyurl.com/p3mnqi and the reaction of City Fans at http://tiddlyurl.com/cgq8fu

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

@Hamburgler - "The amazing offers that you get from ManCon aren't paid for by ManCon are they?" Who do you think payt for the advertising of these offers? It 'aint ManCon

BBC chappieNovember 27th 2009.

I admire these people because they don't take these 'rants' off. They are clearly so confident that criticism doesn't matter. They may be on to something here. The internet is bedlam at the moment. Good on this lot. **** the whingers.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

Funny how a lot of the responses seem to underline what he said in the first place.

MancunianNovember 27th 2009.

Actually Bluemoon, the more I read of that City thread, the more I feel Ed got it spot on. The guy writes a book with a few aspects you don't like and so the bile erupts along with threats of personal violence and various other schemes. The reviews on Amazon are all from City supporters, this is quite obvious as on page 3 of the city rant you link to, there are instructions on how to do this. Pathetic, childish behaivour typical of City supporters, and yes worth mentioning in any Manchester Compendium.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

I agree with Hamburgler, I imagine the businesses that run paid for promotions with ManCon want as many people as possible to see their offers and take them up. By taking the risk of reducing the amount of people that can/will partake in these offers, ManCon are essentially reducing the amount of marketing/coverage their clients gain? Surely? C2 the G, I think I see what you're getting at, but ManCon are already providing this marketing service, as you call it, with a huge subscription base, it will be the same service but their clients will communicating with a much smaller audience.ManCon are clearly very confident that this will work but as a subscriber for over 4 years and someone who regularly dines out on ManCon offers (most recently Destino which you should all go to btw) I know I won't be paying to be a 'Hero' and I'm not on my own.

BloomoonerNovember 27th 2009.

Further to my previous post, Mancunian, you will note that I did not say I agreed with the comments about Ed Glinert posted on the various sites. I merely offer them as a warning of what may happen to anyone who publishes their strong opinions. Ed probably now knows how Salman Rushdie must have felt. Maybe his offerings are not of quite the same quality though.

MancunianNovember 27th 2009.

Seeing as you were well aware of the City thread and the website almost shares your screen name, it is hard to believe you are not quite involved. This is direct from that City thread 'Get on Amazon and review the hard back and paper back, I've just given it one star and a damming review and it's knocked 1/2 a star off its overall rating....I dare say a large number on here have Amazon accounts so get to it...Don't be too obvious just give it crummy over all ratings..don't go in to a rant about City/United etc... and it will have a real affect on sales..Suggest a rival book in your review aswell such as Crime City etc.. as most people will definitely not buy a book if a few reveiwers advise another one instead'. Pathetic.

BloomoonerNovember 27th 2009.

Dear Mancunian, you are of course entitled to your opinion / suspicions, but I plead "not guilty" to being part of the witch hunt. I have only ranted on this site.

BloomoonerNovember 27th 2009.

As I said before, I don't subscribe to any of those comments and agree with you that they are pretty pathetic. You seem to be giving the comments a wider audience than they deserve. Maybe it's because you're "Mancunian" and Ed's from London? You may be just as Guilty as you accused me of being.

MancunianNovember 27th 2009.

Giving the comments a wider audience just shows people who may not have previously known, what a bunch of idiots the blue side can be. Yes the red side can be too but you guys win by miles and bile. You also expect us to believe that someone with the screename 'bluemooner', who has posted links to the City thread and the Amazon thread, has no influence on either? Your fellow blues may follow whatever you say, I would have thought ManCon readers can see through it.

BloomoonerNovember 27th 2009.

OK, I'll change my screenname to Mancunian2 - if you think it will diminish my "influence".

GlivettNovember 27th 2009.

I would like to agree with Murph- £100/£120 for 12 months is insane- The Hi Life subs are less than that- you are pitching this price way too high- you are being too greedy. For a site that looks out for good value and rip of prices, you should look closer to home. So, here is another goodbye from a previously loyal reader!

C 2 the GNovember 27th 2009.

Glivett - I think we should give Man Con a chance to say what we get for £100/£120 per year. I will make my own mind up then instead of assuming like everyone else. My understanding is that Man Con are not holding a gun to your head saying you must pay this! other options are available. So, here is another hello from a loyal reader, well someone who knows what loyal means

GlivettNovember 27th 2009.

Well, C to the G- I did actually read my email from Mancon- you know- the one that told me what I'd be getting for my £120/year (I'm funny like that- I tend to want to know what I'm paying that kind of money for before I hand it over- call me over-cautious, but that's just how I am!). It was on the basis of the info contained therein that I made my decision. Iam (maybe foolishly?!) assuming that the other ranters here have done the same thing and are not "assuming" as you suggest. We are all free to do that, and the gun Mancon IS holding to our heads (ie- "Mancon to close" email headers, no more offers etc) is not a big enough one for this mad scheme to collect enough followers- just read the rants and the ratio of takers to non-takers!

Beefy StewNovember 27th 2009.

I am a Hero, signed up last week; just got an invite to the Mark Addy for a party for Heroes, Hot pot and free beer, no charge for me and the missus. I have paid £10 membership so far. Got my money back already. Glivett and co, stop your knee jerking, have Mancon ever let you down? Blimey, forgot, they credited my PayPal account with £10 as I had booked a dinner at Kitchen last Saturday. I am loving this Heroes bit. In profit already.

C 2 the GNovember 27th 2009.

Glivett - I read the same email however on reading interviews from Gordo its seems that there is a lot more to the service than first meets the eye. I was saying we should give it chance, the way i understand it we would still get offers as non heroes just not as good as paying customers. I think people need to understand that everything in life is not for FREE! Plus dont you think the Man Con closing email was a good market ploy to get you to read the email? I think we should give them time and see what they come back with, its early days. Quick question, how much money has Man Con saved you over the years you have used it. They have not removed any negativity off the site and i'm sure in time will come back with a response.

C 2 the GNovember 27th 2009.

Beefy Stew - at last someone who speaks in FACTs! and doesnt assume. I have not signed up yet, waiting to get paid and need to understand a little more about it

The Great GratsbyNovember 27th 2009.

Hmm. Glivett. There are about forty people saying they aren't going to subscribe. ManCon; from the ad page on here, Confidential have 76,600 email subscribers and 250,000 general readers, so I don't think ther are about to close. I have signed up on the Heroes and I am #578, so they seem to be well on their way. like Beefy, i have used Strictly twice in the past week, and they have sent me £20 to my paypal account; As a hero you get £10 further discount on the Strictly Confidential deals. Beefy, I will be at the Hotpot n Beer party as well. Glivert, I would suggest that you be a little less Anglo Saxon and wait and see. I thought, BTW, that the benefits that I saw without knowing about the rebates on Strictly and party invites were enough to get me spending the equivelent of a pint of lager a week.

C 2 the GNovember 27th 2009.

The Great Gratsby - I wish I put it like that! I like people who deal in FACTS. You and Beefy have convinced me to sign up and hopefully i will get an invite to the Mark Addy as well

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

Stockport Council and Merseyway Shopping Centre have organised free parking within the car park all day every day from the from Saturday 12th December up to and including the 24th December. This is in addition to the free parking already offered by the Council in the run up to Christmas.

GlivettNovember 27th 2009.

C 2 the G- I don't think "ploys" are a good idea in this context- I am suspicious of this kind of "lead in" email- there is enough scamming and scaremongering on the net as it is- I don't expect to have to be wary of it from a (until recently, by me, anyway) trusted site like this one. I aloso think that if further reading is required to get the full picture, I'm out! If an email asking for that kind of money can't include all the facts, how can I trust the site any more?!

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

get off the site then? just a thought...

glivettNovember 27th 2009.

OOOooooh! Handbags! Really anon!!! Anyway, must go now- off to live my life.... bye Mancon! xxx

Curry LoverNovember 27th 2009.

@Glivett, blinkineck, how long have you been reading Gordo? he is up to all sorts but always gives value which is why, from when I first started reading him in 2005 with a few hundred readers he now has a quarter of a million. No one likes to admit they are wrong but, chillax for chrissakes! Or would you prefer that he gets tied to a lampost and whipped for the dastardly crime of being a wind up merchant? I haven't signed up, I am waiting to see what this level called 'friends' will cost, I was told in Ithaca last night that it's less than a quid a week and will be discounted prior to launch.

C 2 the GNovember 27th 2009.

Come on Glivett thats going a bit far saying that Man Con are on the scam. Remember they are a business! The people who work there however many dont come to work for FREE its not a charity. Surely if you work in any professional capicity you would understand the business behind it. I think sometimes you have to be creative with marketing and not just do the same boring shit everyone does. Stand up and be counted

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

So, who's covering the cost of the knees-up at the Mark Addy andthe extra £10 discount on the Strictly offers? The establishments or ManCon?

But what about the parking?November 27th 2009.

Wow, had planned on slating the poxy reductions on parking charges before seeing the huuuuge backlash on the ManCon membership scheme.Come on guys, lets face it, it is all well and good getting things for free but this type of thing is coming to an end. We're hearing more and more about pay for content on all types of media so it is just a sign of the times.OK, significant monthly payments might seem quite heavy and in some ways unfair after years of free content and offers, but the reality is that with ad rev's dropping you are going to have to start paying for quality editorial, whether in small bits or large chunks. It's difficult to get the restaurants etc to run big offers which clearly hit their margins, but at the same time ask them to pay hefty amounts for the privilege. It's a bold move for sure, but fair play if they can pull it off. I for one will be giving it a miss as I just browse the site once a week or so and use my City Card for offers but I do subscribe to many paid for media which align with my work and leisure interests. The amount of times that I've seen people on here complaining about sucking advertisers ass - you can't have it both ways!Anyway, the parking issue - it's a shocker! Why when you can pay bugger all after 6pm mon-sat and all day sunday to park on the street would you be interested in these poxy reductions for car parks? Council should bring back Saturday affy free parking as was the case 4 years ago or so.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

I will be sad to have to leave ManCon, the membership fee will be too much. I moved to Manchester 3 years ago and have to give ManCon credit for helping me get to know the city, find my favourite bars and eat out every other week!£10 a month is a bit pricey for my budget at the moment, but I appreciate why they are doing it and would sign up to a lower subscription even if it meant some deals weren't available to me

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

Anon, you won't have to pay anything to simply use the site. The extra is for an extra club if you like.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2009.

I'm looking forward to a redesign. Please say the articles won't be in columns any more - scrolling up and down to read a piece is a bit too much like hard work.

NorthernGeezerNovember 27th 2009.

ANYWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....................... Getting back to what the actual thread was about, anyone know what the parking charges are for new years eve??.

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