I'm going to take a good sharp axe
Shining steel tempered in the fire
We'll chop you down like an old dead tree
Dirty Old Town
Dirty Old Town
In issue 4 of the Salford Star (spring 2007) regulars in the Flat Iron pub told us - to a lot of background wailing of Ewan MacColl's Dirty Old Town - how Salford was fast disappearing before their eyes…
"That song" said John McClusky "is what we're about; it's our heritage, our history. There's a line in the tune that says `We're going to take a big sharp axe and chop you down'…But it's time we stopped the chopping and took the axe off them…I think they want rid of us…"
Now the axe has fallen on their own pub, as the Flat Iron was reduced to rubble recently. The 130 year old pub – legendary for its characters, before breakfast opening hours and regulars-only key fob – has been bulldozed to make way for improvements to Salford Shopping City by owners, Salford Estates.
"Salford Estates remains committed to continually improving the offer at Salford Shopping City" says spokesperson Debbie Illingworth "which means creating new jobs and a better environment for local people."
The Flat Iron wasn't shown on any of the plans for Salford Precinct that Salford Estates released publicly in January this year (see here), the site earmarked for shop units and a car park.
A full, revised planning application for the whole Precinct is expected to be lodged with Salford Council in the near future, following an agreement by Tesco, Salford Estates and Salford Council to settle their differences, after a bitter court action over Tesco's planning application for its new superstore and the land deal surrounding it.
All parties have now agreed to work towards the closure of Pendleton Way which will integrate the Tesco store with the Precinct.
"As we have said from the moment we made this multi million pound investment in Salford, we are wholly committed to investing further to create a better Shopping City that benefits everyone" says a spokesperson for Salford Estates "Shopping habits are quickly established, so we need to work collaboratively to make sure the road is closed as soon as possible."
Salford Council Leader John Merry adds "This scheme has always been about doing what is best for the people of Salford. It is unfortunate that this process has been so drawn out by the legal challenges but now that Salford Estates has accepted the scheme will go ahead, and that the land was sold fairly, we will be happy to work with them to take this scheme forward. Our priority now is to look at closing Pendleton Way to improve the amenities on offer and create a safe shopping environment for local people."
Meanwhile, yet another part of Salford's past has now disappeared. The Flat Iron – flattened June 2011.
* Next to bite the bulldozer dust is the Carlton pub on Camp Street.