The long running saga to try and save the iconic blue Salford Quays cargo cranes has finally run into a dead end, as a last minute plea by the Salford Quays Heritage And Nature Group to have the structures included on Salford Council's list of `community assets' has been turned down.
The cranes were previously included in the Council's Local List of heritage assets, but were recently omitted when a new list was drawn up. Under new legislation which allows the community to identify Assets of Community Value - Part 5, Chapter 3 of the Localism Act, and Assets of Community Value Regulations - the Heritage Group submitted an application to the Council to give the cranes some protection.
The Group claimed that the cranes have `industrial heritage value as they represent internationally important representations of the original use of the docks and stand as a testament to the dockers who grafted to make Salford the largest inland port in the world'.
Its application added that `the cranes are the last survivors of those which once served the docks of the port of Manchester and that they are iconic, well loved assets of the community who view the cranes with Salfordian pride and that saving the cranes has universal support within the Salford community'.
On the financial front the Group - taking its cue from Spain where similar style cranes are a cherished heritage centrepiece (see here) - reckoned that, with a bit of vision and imagination, there could be jobs created refurbishing the structures, and more jobs created as increased numbers of tourists were attracted to the Quays, especially as 120th anniversary celebrations of the Docks are due to take place in 2014.
While Salford Council "accepted that currently the siting/presence of the cranes has furthered the social wellbeing and interests of the local community as required by Section 88 (1) (a) of the Localism Act and therefore is of community value", it uses bizarre logic to turn down the Heritage Group's application, stating that "in the not so distant future, the cranes will not continue to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community…Whether this is because the cranes have been dismantled and removed from the site or whether they have fallen into such a state of disrepair that they can no longer be considered to be of value to the community."
In other words, `the cranes won't be of any community value because we're not going to refurbish them and we're going to bulldoze them instead'.
Thus, the Council concludes "the cranes do therefore not meet the requirements of Section 88 (1) (b) of the Localism Act and therefore it is recommended that the cranes are not added to the list of assets of community value".
Bizarre or what? And thus ends the six year old fight to save the blue Salford Quays cargo cranes – which will be demolished this summer.
PS: The Council report recommending that the cranes were not listed as community assets was circulated to every councillor in Salford - not even one single councillor bothered to respond.
For the whole Salford Star history of the trashing of the cranes see these articles…
* Cranes to move to M602 roundabout - click here
* Cranes to be moved or scrapped as they `ruin the view' - click here
* Cranes removed from Local Listing - click here
* Cranes to be demolished - click here
* Cranes Hope as English Heritage gets involved - click here
* Cranes Doomed as English Heritage refuse to list cranes - click here
* Council omits cranes from new heritage list - click here
* Did cranes refurbishment funding get swallowed by £300,000 Biospheric `Pea Farm'? - click here