Star date: 21st November 2012

A Salford Star Exclusive


The iconic blue cargo cranes at Salford Quays are set to be demolished, with Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart set to rubber stamp the decision next Monday.

Despite funding being ring fenced by Salford Council for the cranes refurbishment, the Mayor's report states that the repairs would not be `good value for money' and that the cranes "now detract from the Quays vista". Instead, the cranes will be replaced with "new heritage interpretation features".

Full details here…

Salford Quays Cargo Cranes Demolition Salford Quays Cargo Cranes Demolition
click image to enlarge

The two iconic blue cargo cranes at Ontario Basin in Salford Quays are to be demolished, with City Mayor, Ian Stewart, set to rubber stamp their death knoll next Monday.

The cranes were originally Grade A listed on Salford Council's Local List of Buildings Structures and Features of Archaeological, Architectural or Historic Interest. They were described by a Salford Council report back in 2007 as an "important local landmark" that "represent an important link with the heritage and history of Salford Quays"

…But in March this year they were suddenly de-listed when the Lead Member for Planning, Councillor Derek Antrobus, announced a new Local List of Heritage Assets (see previous Salford Star article here).

Now a new report for the Mayor recommends demolishing the cranes…

"Regeneration activity has seen the Salford Quays area reinvent itself and it is now a world-class waterside destination of regional and national significance for a range of business, cultural and residential uses" it states, adding that "In their current condition the cargo cranes are not an asset to Salford Quays and in the current economic climate, it is questionable whether their costly repair represents good value for money."

People may well argue that the cranes are in their "current condition" because of lack of care from Salford City Council. Indeed, in 2007 the Council admitted neglect - "There is clear evidence of the lack of maintenance by the city over the period of time that the cranes have been located in their current position", its own report stated.

Yet, in virtually every Salford Council budget since then, a sum of up to £734,000 has been set aside and ringfenced for the cranes refurbishment. North West Development Agency even paid out £75,000 to build special plinths at the end of the M602 motorway to re-house them, as part of a £3million tart up of the roads around MediaCityUK which never properly happened.

Now, the Council is arguing that "the costs associated with options for their repair are substantial, ranging from £648,500 to £982,990. These costs exceed the council's available 2012/13 Capital Programme allocation for the repair of the cranes, which currently stands at £626,000."

The Council report adds that a search for outside funders has failed because the repair costs are too high, and that the previous owner of the cranes, Peel Holdings (Peel Ports) refused to help out too "in the current economic climate" – despite receiving £multi-millions of public money for its various profit making schemes in the city. Salford Council also has a £2million a year MediaCityUK fund secreted away to spend on the site.

The cranes were inspected in June 2011 and the Report states that the "key issue was the poor condition of the paintwork, which was failing in many areas and exposing metalwork. This has led to extensive surface corrosion which is causing the metalwork to de-bond from the structures."

It adds that the cranes can't be fixed in their current location due to the need for full grit blast cleaning before painting. And that scaffolding for this can't be erected because of "high wind loads" and that it would cover the Metrolink tracks.

The Council investigated saving just the drivers' cabins but concluded that "the costs associated with such works would be prohibitive". Instead, £100,000 is being set aside for the cost of the cranes demolition.

And Salford Council officers are recommending the replacement of the iconic cranes with "the provision of new heritage interpretation features".

The report concludes… "In their current condition, the cargo cranes are not an asset to Salford Quays. They are deteriorating on a daily basis and now detract from the Quays vista. A financial provision has been made for their repair; however, in the face of further budget reductions and the need for the council to prioritise its spending plans, it is questionable whether the use of such significant capital resources to repair the cranes represents value for money.

"In light of the analysis of the options, the lack of available external funding, the ongoing maintenance liabilities associated with their retention and the need to make a decision to remove any risk of their condition posing any hazard to the public" it adds "officers recommend that the cranes be dismantled and permanently removed."

Now the cargo cranes are set to join other Salford heritage assets, like Salford Central Mission (demolished to make way for some flagpoles at Oasis Academy) and the Langworthy Hotel (demolished to make way for a grass croft)...

dj Tank the Manc wrote
at 06:07:38 on 25 October 2013
Once these pieces of our industrial heritage are gone, they are gone forever. Would it not be prudent to take them to a workshop somewhere in Trafford Park? They could be restored by engineers training 'several' local apprentices. This would benefit everyone.It would create jobs for older and younger people alike, it would keep an important piece of heritage alive for years to come, it would give young people special skills and keep them off the dole queue, and further projects could be undertaken in the future, as the young trainees would grow into specialists in their field. Scrapping them is a total waste and very short sighted.
Tone wrote
at 11:44:58 on 28 November 2012
I'm with Wedge on this . We are just paying extortion money to the Salford Mafia. NO MORE ! WAKE UP SHEEPLE !
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:01:46 on 28 November 2012
Do we know who has made the report on the condition of the Cranes and who has said it will cost£1m to put them right. What has happened to the money that was ring fenced for them some years back. This part of Salford has had a lot of development of the last few years and with development comes 106 money from the developers which should be spent within the area. Why can't some of that plus the £250.000+ they have in a draw somewhere up at the civic be used to restore this part of OUR heritage and history.Wonder if they have been in that draw and spent, given or loaned the money out. I also wonder are PEEL exempt from paying 106 money???????????
Thin End Of The Wedge wrote
at 07:01:39 on 28 November 2012
I would want my Council Tax to go toward saving these pieces of heritage, but it goes...where? Not sure what I get out of it anymore, so many good things have gone - has nobody noticed the grassing over of flower beds at the side of roads, for instance? Something that was always a pleasure to see. Stop giving them your money, mass cancellation of Council Tax payments (by those of us that pay) now!
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 20:57:33 on 27 November 2012
That's IT! No 11th Hour Reprieve for the Cranes - So I'm asking our mayor's office One SIMPLE question, What are you replacing them with? Heritage Interpretation Features? Where's the Proposal for the Replacement? This has obviously been a stalling exercise on behalf of your Partners in the Quays Project - so before you start ripping down and building up - Lets see your Proposals!
Liam wrote
at 18:29:10 on 27 November 2012
Salford council disgust me. Ever since they closed the docks, which totally ruined the city, it's no coincidence that in the 1990s Salford had perhaps the highest crime rate in England, that would never have happened where it not for the docks closing. It seems they want to forget it's past and carry on creating a bland city for graduates with no love or connection for the area, it disgusts me it really does.
James Walsh wrote
at 06:58:28 on 26 November 2012
Check out the Save Our Cranes group @ https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/543158852365574
at 13:32:55 on 25 November 2012
Debbie Williams makes a fair comparison between the Harland & Wolfe cranes and those at Salford Dock. The difference being that the Belfast planners and local council understand the significance of good planning and the importance of retaining the actual artifacts which make up the culture and history of the occupants of their city. To be able to see and touch a piece of living history and hearing the story behind it will forever grab the imagination of young people far more than a bit of conceptual art The planners of this city have destroyed so much of its heritage it make you want to weep. The planners of this city have no soul
number309871 wrote
at 06:40:46 on 25 November 2012
Looks what cadishead and irlam got,marge and steel absolute massive Tourist Feature more culture being squeezed out of Salford
at 15:40:11 on 23 November 2012
Wrote, well done, better than Inspector Columbo you have solved the mystery. Demolish the cranes and use the £200,000 to site the Totem Pole in their place. Now everyone will be happy, can we have all Salford Mayors invited to a ring side seat for the demolition party please, Surely someone will provide sparklers.
at 12:33:16 on 23 November 2012
It might have been a different story if Cllr Coen had got on board-after all didnt he get the Community Committees, City West and Salix homes to sponsor & refurb the Totem Pole? Where is it anyway-I thought it was going to be re-sited down around the Lowry somewhere?
Another cynic wrote
at 10:30:46 on 23 November 2012
And what is the betting that they end up paying about £200,000 for some modern art montrosity that is a parody of the cranes and "represents the heritage of the docks"?
Salford Star wrote
at 06:11:52 on 23 November 2012
See The Cynic's comment below... How very cynical you are, Mr Cynic. If you put the word `cranes' into the site's search engine you will see that the Star has been consistent on the need to preserve the city's real heritage. The only cynical moment the Star had was when they wanted to move the cranes out of context to the M602 as part of a £3m roundabout tart up. This money to do up the cranes has been ringfenced for a number of years. Meanwhile, well over £1m has been spent on `heritage' projects on the Quays, most in payments to outside artists and co-ordinators to `re-interpret' what was once there. They are proposing to do this again with the cranes. One can get cynical from time to time...
The Cynic wrote
at 06:01:49 on 23 November 2012
Let's face it, if the council had spent money on saving the cranes, Salford Star would have been against it. The council decided not to spend money on the cranes and Salford Star is against it.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 17:53:19 on 22 November 2012
And while i think on - given the monstrosities placed in the cathedral quarter - and Mr Mayor's eagerness to use New Tech wherever possible...Could his office (or whoever is responsible for the cranes replacement) inform the locals who are paying for it what exactly we'll be getting for our money (seeing as most Peel Projects are paid for out of the Authorities Purse). Perhaps an initial document/artists impression could be placed on the council web...over to you Mr Mayor.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 17:52:49 on 22 November 2012
Just had another thought on this, remember how Peel were going hell for leather to use the cranes as some part of a grand entrance to the quays? They were knocked back not because of the obvious safety concern but of spiraling costs of the overall project. Head there now and you'll see all sorts of coloured pathway lines on the ground and beacons lining the subway routes - I just wander - was that the groundwork for the cranes before Peel threw their dummy out of the pram?
Amanda Bickerton wrote
at 15:58:32 on 22 November 2012
The 'heritage interpretation features' will probably resemble the delightful 'installation' near Manchester Cathedral. Which cost how much? More than enough to restore and care for the cranes for decades. And the restoration and maintenance of the cranes would require workers - jobs are involved in saving our heritage. I would rather see money invested in the cranes than projects like the Manchester city centre improvement (oh it is in Salford, so they can pay for it) fiasco or to fund orchestras, or offshored businesses (Peel anyone?). This city's heritage has been hocked too many times - surely the time has come to draw the line. Save the big blue cranes!
Steve wrote
at 11:25:24 on 22 November 2012
I'm afraid Salford Council has form on this one. The Mining Museum in Buile Hill park was closed some time ago so that link to the town's heritage has gone. Monk's Hall Museum in Eccles was closed even before that. Both buildings now stand derelict and in poor condition. Heritage doesn't seem to feature in the Council's priorities and, sad to say, neither does imagination nor energy in finding new uses for the old museum buildings.
Red Eccles wrote
at 09:49:39 on 22 November 2012
How much is Mr Stewart's "provision of new heritage interpretation features" going to cost I wonder???
Michael Felse wrote
at 09:48:52 on 22 November 2012
Pleased to see Salford Council gets its priorities right for once. The Mayor getting ready to demolish the heritage dock cranes that symbolise the life of Salford workers while choosing to fly the Transgender Flag to mark Transgender day this weekend. Salford is treading an unusual path on its new road to image definition. So this is what voting Labour is about! Wake up Council, Grade A heritage must be protected.
at 09:48:03 on 22 November 2012
It is dissappointing, and will upset many who see this as further sad erosion of their heritage, but jobs will and should always come first.
Eddie Smith wrote
at 07:09:19 on 22 November 2012
Heritage… What can’t the council understand regarding our desire to preserve our great City’s history???.... Sorry, it’s cheaper to demolish and cash in… That is their attitude. It’s time we had a council who actually cared about this City’s past, present and FUTURE, IMHO.
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:08:48 on 22 November 2012
Heritage and Salford council don't mix. Lets be honest they don't fit the image and if Peel don't want them, well off they go.I wonder what they are going to replace them with, what price tag and who will foot the bill. What will happen to the money that has been ring-fenced for the cranes some 3/4 years ago. I heard the Mayor last night saying it was "health and safety" now where have I heard that before. Why did they allow them to become a H/S issue in the first place. He also said the council had to put PEOPLE before the cranes.Yes I totally agree. But then they give Million after Million to a Rugby club and may hand out more. We need to protect what little heritage we have left. But I am sorry to say this Council don't feel the same
pete the hat wrote
at 07:05:37 on 22 November 2012
what a shower of w----rs scc are they ruined the community when they cpo,d ordsall and other communities,now they want to get rid of our once proud memory of times past,this council,stewart,and the 2 fat bastards whose names i cant even put on paper want what shud av been done to tony blair,who has destroyed our country and communities,all they are concerned about is lining their own pockets.
Debbie Williams wrote
at 20:20:01 on 21 November 2012
I grew up in Salford and can clearly remember the tears sobbed by family members when the old Silos on the docks were demolished. I now live in Lisburn Northern Ireland. Reading this article has made me think of the trouble it would cause in Belfast were the Harland Wolfe cranes to be earmarked for demolition. Why? Because they are part of the cities heritage. To demolish the cranes in Ontario Basin would be like erasing a very large chunk of Salfords history. As mentioned by Brian Kirkham, what will be next? Ordsall Hall!
joe oneill wrote
at 20:19:56 on 21 November 2012
Funny i was not born in this city but i have spent most of my life here,i married and raised two children so in reality i suppose a can say i have a stake here.I came from a working class background my mum worked in a sweat shop making coats and my father worked as a Docker, i spent like many Dockers kids a lot of time sitting in the Dockers club,going on the outings and meeting some of the greatest characters you would wish to see,all with the strangest names,still today those that still live i know by their nick names ,i suppose most people in Salford would know where the docks are sited, the iconic Dock gates and of course the cranes, not much left of our past really, they must stick in most Salfordians minds and offer the greatest memories.It was with great sadness today i read that a Council of Labour members have decided to destroy one of these great LANDMARKS THE DOCK CRANES. The past labour leader came from out of this city and the present was born across the border so to them i suppose they mean little but to us they mean a lot. I have spoken with colleague's today and they agree with me that we must offer some resistance to labours planed destruction,they have destroyed our homes and those which were meant to rehouse people turned out to be out of the reach of many, they have wasted so much of our money just to take for example things like the Langworthy hotel and many others, and today they attack what's left. I wonder are the finances so bad under Mr Stewart they have to plunder ring fenced cash? i don’t know i could be wrong but i really think they have gone to far,the city was built on hard work and many of those people in their 70s will remember growing up around many of this past sites and those coming in to the city would like to get a grasp of it’s past, under Mr Stewart and Labour i fear we will have no past left to show.
Mike Kelly wrote
at 20:19:31 on 21 November 2012
Peel,Peel,Peel,Stewart,Stewart,Stewart sick of hearing about these people are ruining our heritage, I wonder how much the city will be expected to put in to Port Salford yet another Peel development !!! Our Councillors need to realise that they supposedly represent the people of Salford. Make your feelings known at the ballot box.
at 19:15:24 on 21 November 2012
Peel holdings seem to run rings round this council. Anyway, would they take the cranes on? Their maintenance & up keep would cost a substantial amount of money (although theyre that sharp Im sure they could find a way of getting a massive subsidy from SCC, so we would end up paying for it in the long run). Sadly, the cranes would need a massive amount of money to refurb.. add to that the relocation and ongoing mainenance costs and you are talking millions. Three years ago when the council knew there was no money to invest in the cranes they should have advertised for sponsorship,gone for a heritage grant or asked the businesses on the quays to invest in the cranes. Instead they took it to hard pressed community committies to try to bankroll the scheme through the public purse. CC were told there was no way the cranes could not stay in situ, due to poor planning decisions they were too close to new developments built around them, thereby unsafe to the public, it looks like they would have to be moved either way. If its jobs or cranes, it will always be the first option for most people.
at 16:37:14 on 21 November 2012
As much as I think the cranes are a bit of dock history, I would rather see money used securing jobs. The quango that was Salford URC were I believe tasked with securing the independent match funding to re site the cranes on Regent Rd. This they failed to do-no odds to them now because the URC dont exist-but its senior staff-Chris Marsh, Jonathan Drake etc survived the cull by being offered positions in other SCC quangos. At one time the cost was estimated at getting on for a three quarters of a million pounds. That was without the ongoing maintenance costs, which would be SCC funded, yet another yolk around the neck of the taxpayer. If money is tight, I prefer it used to save core services and jobs
Winston Smith wrote
at 14:05:58 on 21 November 2012
Detract from the vista?!? Oh no, can they still see a bit of old Salford from their penthouses? It must be terrible for them
A.P. wrote
at 14:05:51 on 21 November 2012
Salford Clowncil should be demolished ! Preferably whilst Mayor Greedy Bastard and his inept army of assistant wasters , and Spicer , are all in the wretched place , busily stuffing thir fat , greedy faces with OUR money . What a thoroughly loathesome bunch of shysters .
Lee Craven MBE wrote
at 13:43:27 on 21 November 2012
What is it with SCC, the history our city is dissapearing before our eyes,a historic landmark is there with a blink of an rye it's gone, Why does this city council not care anymore about our history, To me demolition and land is all this council care about because it means £££££, and no investment.
Brian Nelson wrote
at 13:43:22 on 21 November 2012
Ineptitude is to kind a word for this council, the only interest they have is to keep them self on the gravy train and find their friend and family plum job with big pay day! Never mind about the infrastructure of Salford or the heritage of this great city going down the pan they can just blame that on austerity or the Government!!! How many mayors and assistant mayors do we have now? Work out the cost and expenses over the year, a lot more than it would cost saving the cranes refurbishment I bet you!!!!!!
Paul wrote
at 11:03:39 on 21 November 2012
Councillor Derek Antrobus,seems to be clueless, First the crescent road fiasco and now this. This council also did the same with the Langworthy hotel and wasted £750,000 of public money. We should mount a campaign to save them, i am sure someone like English heritage would help save them. Could they not be painted and sponsored ?
Peter Tully Snr wrote
at 11:03:09 on 21 November 2012
Well done Mr Stewart! It is about time someone demolished you and your totally Conservative beliefs. What next, The ugly system of your politics. Stewart P#ss off and leave Salford and it's history alone.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 11:02:06 on 21 November 2012
Question for the Assistant Mayor in Charge of our Heritage Sites: Is this the Norm now? You say no to Peel so can't justify the cost? I can see Demolition Red Flags going all over our city (God help Ordsall Hall) if this is true. And i know i'm only a simple resident of our city but can somebody tell me what the hell are Heritage interpretation Features? Answers to the E-Mail above please.
James Walsh wrote
at 11:01:35 on 21 November 2012
Where is the vision from Salford City Council ? The cranes not an asset to The Quays ? I'm sure most places in the world would find creative ways to make such an important heritage icon into a tourism asset, the cranes could be made into an iconic Salford Quays logo as a representative of a tourism site that respects it's heritage (& also produce income from merchandise). I'm writing from a personal perspective here, my Uncle was a crane driver for many years on the docks, Salford City Council show some respect to the people who built this city
Morgan Fisher wrote
at 11:00:55 on 21 November 2012
The inept clowncil should give the cranes Peel , as they have already given this Dead City away to Peel . The betrayal of this City's Heritage by the inept , arrogant , ignorant clowncil cretins is unforgivable , and the Greedy Taxpayer-Looting Bastards will answer for this .
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