Neil Higson

My Place | Salford

Salford has all the ingredients to emerge from Manchester’s shadow to be a world-leading city in its own right, writes Neil Higson of Wildbrook CRE. So what’s stopping it?

Salford shaped me in to being very hungry to succeed yet having a tough skin, which you definitely need as a property investment agent. As a working class lad from working class background, it provides a great work ethic if you make it happen.

But what does it need to make it better? MediaCity aside, Salford needs a commercial offering, which would include retail and leisure. Aside from Chapel Street, when you get to Salford Crescent train station and go beyond this, Salford loses its identity. An estate near Salford Crescent train station, a shocking 52% of children were living in low income families in 2016 – the highest proportion in Greater Manchester.

Salford Shopping Precinct is not yet a place to go and sit outside with a coffee, nor al fresco dining in the evening with a bottle of wine, at least on a table. There are lots of local precincts in Salford due to a vast local authority housing provision, but the Councils haven’t invested in most of them since they were originally developed. The shopping precincts are therefore the key to placemaking for the residents in Salford and this term needs harnessing by the local authority and its JV partners. 

Middlewood Locks looks desperate. Located in Salford, we all know it’s in Salford, but it’s sold as Manchester – there’s no pride!

Monton is doing well and Monton Road is a nice ‘gentrified’ little haven, so too is Worsley village and along the canal, but the council and property owners need to do more. It’s as though people in control and making decisions have a lack of confidence as Salford stands in a shadow behind its very noisy neighbour, Manchester.

So what next? To start, build further on the success of the university and also unlock the Cheetham Hill zone. Success of the university helps towards graduate retention and therefore more chance of people looking to stay in the area.

The ripple effect of new development along Bury New Road and around Strangeways would benefit areas on the periphery such as Broughton. It’s locked in between Prestwich and Manchester city centre, each are equally attractive for people to live and work, yet Broughton and Cheetham Hill are the rise between two thorns. This will be unlocked in due course and the former Boddingtons brewery site could be the catalyst.

Development needs to continue surrounding the AJ Bell stadium, opposite to the City Airport & Heliport along Liverpool Road, Eccles. You could argue that retail and leisure will be too much given the nearby Trafford Centre offering, so B1/B8 would be welcomed given the motorway accessibility, additional demand from nearby Trafford Park and a local hungry labour force.

How could Salford move to the next stage? To stop living in the shadow of Manchester and significantly improve the residential living and commercial offering. If you get off the train at Salford Crescent you’ll see a sign with ‘University of Salford – Manchester’. For a start, remove the ‘Manchester’! 

Salford needs to push on following the success of MediaCity. Students can get a bus from around the North West direct to MediaCity and nearby college, but why do they have to be “shipped in”?

Colleges and Schools in Salford should be partnering up more with MediaCity. This has been Salford’s greatest success over the past 10 years and is fundamental in pushing on. The site needs extending further with more B1 office development. Tech and media companies are still choosing Manchester over Salford: the Northern Quarter is sold as the Tech and media hub, despite ‘MediaCity’ being located just less than 20 minutes away. 

What does Salford need to build on its success? Sell itself as the ‘city’ that it is. John Lewis have the slogan, “never knowingly undersold”. The slogan today focuses on a promise to customers on quality, price and service. Salford need to adopt a similar mantra: deliverability, pride and longevity.

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Parochialism on steroids, Manchester’s rather more than the noisy neighbour, the 2 cities should long ago have been one

By kw

So strange to see Salford still being pushed as a separate entity. It works best as part of a “Manchester” brand – there’s a reason the university adds that.

By Low Low Lowry

Salford is dreaming if it thinks it can be a separate entity to Manchester, as if Brixton could rival the City of London. You’re in Greater Manchester, drop the isolationist thinking. Plan for a well integrated area of the ever expanding city and become an active partner within it, not in opposition to it. Successful cities integrate and blur the boundaries between past distinctions of town and village, they become neighbourhoods and quarters of the metropolis. On a long enough timescale, Liverpool and Manchester will be as one, it’s all but inevitable.

By Desseisor

Salford’s biggest problem i believe is it has no city centre so nobody looks at it as a city. Media City views itself as being in greater Manchester, not Salford. Don’t get me wrong i agree with what’s said but it will never happen. Also Monton might be doing well but its not full of local people anymore its full of a new bread of people who wear shorts and flip flops all year round and carry there dog in a handbag. 10 years ago you wouldn’t of lasted 5 mins walking around like that… As sad as i am to say it being born and bread in Salford i agree with the comments above its part of Manchester now and always will be… Fun fact, did you know that Salford and Manchester are the only 2 cities in the country that share a boarder…

By Rob H

Manchester is Salford. Salford is Manchester.

Cities are economic entities first and foremost so there is no need for Salford to have a distinct identity beyond what it it currently has because Manchester and Salford are essentially one and the same thing.

By Obvious surely?

Salford centre is presumably that bit near the cathedral where the best buildings are. Salford is not the same as Brixton. Brixton is a London District and not a separate city. A better analogy would be Southwark and the City of London as Southwark has a cathedral and is across water although not a city and development has happened in Southwark as the City of London became saturated with buildings,hence the Shard being there. Salford needs a signature contemporary building to make it distinct from Manchester.

By Elephant

Living in the South East for many years from where a Salford striving for separate identity seems petty, everyone recognises it as part of Manchester. Far larger London Boroughs towns and cities are nonetheless considered to be part of London

By kw

The problem Salford has is it is too sprawling with no true centre. It’s gobbled up all the towns Manchester and Trafford don’t want on the thinking that because it’s big, it’s better, but I disagree. I am from Swinton (now part of Salford but was Lancashire when I was growing up) but I don’t feel connected with Cadishead or Broughton. And I can’t even get to The Quays from where I am on public transport to take in all that it has to offer. The council needs to consolidate and create a centre, accessible to all with a thriving leisure hub.

By Rewsterhen

Sad to read such a load of wittering nonsense. Lived in Worsley all my life so if you want to be as childishly parochial lets start with that being subsumed under Salford council shall we? Rather than building barriers you and your company need to be expanding horizons. Oh and and if you’d still like a passport control on the banks of the Irwell please remove that picture on your website , you know the one across Manchester city centre, or at least blank out the town hall in the background. That’d be great.

By Nve

‘Middlewood Locks looks desperate.’

I’m sure Scarborough Group will appreciate that comment…

By city centre stroller

I grew up in Salford and moved back to the area a few years ago into one of the newly “redeveloped” areas that Salford council spent millions on. There were a lot of people who moved in but as they were “out of towners” were harassed and a lot have moved out. The biggest problem of Salford is sadly the people. They want to be separate and isolated but there’s no pride or community spirit. There’s rubbish and dog pooh littering the streets and the precinct looks like the zombie apocalypse has swept through it and quite frankly I now see why my parents moved us out of the area when we were little.

By BeeKind

Cities are cultural as much as they are economic. At least, if they are to be successful in the long term, they are. Liverpool and Manchester will never be one (@Desseiesor). The North will be the more successful the greater it retains its cultural diversity. This will prove to be its true wealth over time, and will set it apart from London in a good way. Liverpool and Manchester will inevitably join up and function as linked economies; a mega agglomeration even. But they will be the more successful the more they are distinctive. And for cities so closely linked they are quite different. This will work to our mutual advantage in the future when the richness of our culture will set us apart from creeping global sameness.

By Roscoe

Salford is a curiosity. In some ways it’s Manchester’s “Knowsley”, in that there is nothing there. But at the same time it has a genuine significant history, in a way that Knowsley does not.

But how can it ever emerge as anything other than a borough of Manchester, when it is in Greater Manchester.

Place making needs to have a sense of place, otherwise it’s just fantasy.

By Mike

The future is Greater Manchester not Salford, Trafford, Bolton, Manchester etc but all the cities and boroughers working together for the greater economic, cultural and social benefit much the same way as the London boroughs. The people of the West Midlands envy how Greater Manchester works and would love to have a Greater Birmingham so please stop this outdated parochial nonsense.

By Lenny1968

Nice points neal places like Walkden and little Hulton need help and investment too

By Peter

I was born and raised in Stretford. Salford, Trafford and Manchester are the same place as far as I am concerned.

By Alty

Knowsley’s history is the history of the Earl’s of Derby, the Stanley’s, and their role in Liverpool and in securing the Tudor dynasty. Prescot within Knowsley has a significant history (including links to Shakespeare), the rest is Liverpool overspill.
Salford has a significant industrial history and was the ancient hundred for most of South East Lancashire.
Both Knowsley and Salford are part of Liverpool and Greater Manchester respectively, but the history and character of the two areas should be nurtured as a precious resource which will help them thrive within their greater areas.

By Roscoe

Please tell me this is a spoof article!? If not, how have you managed to learn so little as a property professional?

By Head in hands!

This opinion is quite backwards and is what holds regions back. Parochialism doesn’t build large successful areas. Cutting Salford off and thinking it can do better on your own is a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder Brexit is happening when people think a single borough can go it alone.

When you analyse this argument against the context of London it seems all the more ridiculous. You don’t hear Westminster, Southwark, Camden or any other borough in Greater London pretending they’re not part of London. Look at any other global city and you’ll find exactly the same.

The truth is, most people in the UK outside of Greater Manchester haven’t heard of Salford and don’t know where it is. At the global level, no one’s heard of it all. Trying to attract investment by pretending Salford is not part of Manchester won’t yield anything.

By Mancunian

I’ve worked in Salford for over 15 years now and to be honest, this article paints a very different picture to what I’ve seen. Salford needs to get its own house in-order before trying to sell itself outside. ‘Beekind’s comments below are spot on “The biggest problem of Salford is sadly the people. They want to be separate and isolated but there’s no pride or community spirit. There’s rubbish and dog pooh littering the streets and the precinct looks like the zombie apocalypse has swept through it” – Nail hit squarely on head!!

Driving through Ordsall estate is like driving through the set of Shameless. These estates are where money needs spending if not their decline will just accelerate and as a consequence any pride the residents had in the City of Salford will just evaporate.

By Fake News

Living less than a five minute walk from Salford Precinct, I’m surprised at how run down some parts of this area still is considering the potential (next to Salford Quay and 15-20 mins on the bus to Manc CC, with a potential met extension in the next few years).
Surely they have some wider regeneration/redevelopment plans coming forward soon?

By ET Phone Joan

Totally agree with KW. An increasing number of Salford City Council residents are now living within the inner ring road which is Manchester City Centre. These areas, around Greengate & Chapel Street were previously largely derelict areas, dotted with surface car parks & a few garages/breakers yards.. Logistically, with all the recent residential development, Manchester and Salford have now merged into one City with a population in excess of 850,000. A Salford resident living in 100 Greengate or soon to be completed Anaconda Cut, can walk to Deansgate in no more than 5 minutes.

By Bilderburg Attendee

Salford was a city before Manchester. I know where a sign is located on a wall of a tributary road into the city .it reads you are now entering the township of Manchester

By Simon Andrew

Your right salford does need dragging into the twenty first century but with the council still living in the 17th century there is little hope I live in worsley a nice place and well known as part of salford yet when I complained about some over flowing bins I was informed by the council that we no longer part of salford the trouble is labour have been in power so long with no change they can do or not do what they want

By John mason

Great, another isolationist living in the past… and a bizarre past it is. Salford is a city in name only, like cities in the UK, it’s a title that is just bestowed by the Queen. A city can be a village of 1800 people in this country like St Davids, but that doesn’t make it a city. If Salford is a real city, where is it’s city centre? It’s Manchester of course. It’s been known like this for a long time. Even back in the past the Docks gate in the Quays had the sign Manchester Docks on it. There is nothing wrong with talking about your local community, but if Manchester wants to compete with the world, we need to frame it in the real context of what the city really is.

By EOD

I think Some of the comments about Salford people not caring about their area is unfair. Irlam o’ the heights,Lancaster road and most of the East Lancs the houses are immaculate and the streets spotless. I might add infinitely cleaner than those areas in South Manchester between town and Didsbury, which have whole streets of neglected gardens and rubbish strewn streets. I would rather live in Buile Hill Park than Fallowfield or Withington any day.

By Elephant

Simon Andrew – Salford was not a city before Manchester, it became a city in the 1920’s. it was a hundred, as was Blackburn – which is not a city – despite having a Cathedral. Why can’t Salfordians get their heads around this?

By Loganberry

Having read all the comments I still find your missing the point as to why the city of Salford is still that dirty old town as the song says. Salford council which has been in power for many a years now, have failed the city its people, no new investment in this great place. It’s not the people it’s the council, you ask any Salfordian what they are proud of and they will say being a Salfordian, ask what they want from their council, they will say investment in housing, a new shopping central, great places to eat, yet it’s not moving forward because of the labour council making wrong investments, instead of investing in its city, when media city came along the people loved it its clean spaces, it’s eateries, the entertainment, but it was advertised as Manchester, which I can add was soul distroying for the people who made sure it was not advertised as Manchester but Salford hence BBC here in Salford. No matter what you say this is a council that does not invest in its city or its people

By Jacks

I am 70 years old and have witnessed the creeping decline of a once proud ( great ? ) city. Salford , in the not so distant future , will only exist as a housing estate stuck on the side of Manchester. The wontent destruction of most of our buildings , heritage and our general way of life is testament to the total incompetence of the people sat in city hall. In truth, it’s not a pretty picture…. as a footnote I should like to point out that in a couple of generations the destruction will be complete as most of our young are now either born in Bolton General or the MRI and the tag “Salfordian ” will become a rarity.

By Robert Howard

Well written. Salford wants the identity but doesn’t want to invest in it’s identity.
Yes, the rugby league club is in no-mans land at the AJ Bell Stadium.
I’d love to see alfresco at Salford Shopping Centre, but will it ever happen? The demography is changing.

By Mickey Flynn

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