Council swoops to close Strangeways retail

Manchester City Council has shut down four properties on Harris Street in Strangeways, bordering the newly-proposed Great Ducie Street development area, which were being used to sell counterfeit goods.

Council officers have served a premises closure order on the four properties at 1-7 Harris Street, just off Bury New Road, following a raid last month where around £2.5m of counterfeit goods were seized.

This order will be in place until 7 January this year, and during this time, anyone who enters the premises can be arrested. During the raid, the shopkeepers fled and locked the stores, leaving four members of the public trapped inside; they were later freed by police officers who had smashed through a side gate.

The defendant in the case, Dharminder Singh Kasbia, was ordered to pay legal costs of £11,197.50. He had previously been warned to prevent his premises being used to sell counterfeit goods.

The move by Manchester City Council comes as city centre development continues to expand towards Bury New Road, one of the main arterial routes into Manchester.

Although Harris Street is not included, much of the area to the immediate south along Bury New Road is covered by the emerging Great Ducie Street framework, which is likely to see large swathes of the area developed in the coming years.

This framework covers a large portion of land bordered by Bury New Road, Sherborne Street West – only three streets down from Harris Street – and the River Irwell.

Much of the development proposed to front Bury New Road is commercial space, with residential towards the river; there are also commercial units planned to front HMP Manchester along Southall Street, which will connect to the Boddington’s site, subject to its own separate framework and due to be home to the Manchester College’s new campus.

The closure of the shops on Harris Street could be seen as a move by the council to attempt to clean up the area – it is the first time that a premises closure order has been used to shut shops selling counterfeit goods in the city.

However the clean-up may not all be good news. Not mentioned in the SRF are the community spaces and nightlife currently operational in the area, such as creative campaigning group Partisan Collective, and clubs White City Hotel and Hidden. Within the framework these organisations are classed as light industrial or commercial uses. It is understood that these businesses are under pressure to move out, leading to criticism that the regeneration plan could lose some of the character of the area.

The opposite side of the river has also seen extensive development with the first phase of Urban Splash’s Irwell Riverside already complete, featuring 72 modular townhouses. A second phase of 156 apartments across three blocks is set to be brought forward by the developer, alongside Property Alliance Group.

Cllr Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Clamping down on the criminality conducted from these addresses has taken a real partnership effort and I’d like to thank all of the agencies who helped our team to secure this important closure order.

“The counterfeiting of goods is dishonest and puts our residents at risk of harm from potentially hazardous products – we will not tolerate this in Manchester.

“This action makes it clear that we will fight hard against any activities that inflict criminal activity, nuisance behaviour, or disorder on our neighbourhoods.”

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