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.