This week, members of the Ordsall Trust were out making a Save The Cranes film on Salford Quays to try and drive home the message to Salford Council that the community will not give up the blue cargo cranes at the Quays without a fight. The cranes are due to be demolished this month
Salford Council wants to demolish the cranes (see previous Salford Star articles – click here and click here) but the Salford Quays Heritage and Nature Group put in a last ditch application under Article 88 of the Localism Act to try and preserve the iconic structures as community assets.
The Salford Star reported last week that the Council had rejected the application (see here) but the group still hasn't been informed of the decision and has now issued a press release* expressing its "shock" and "disappointment" at the way it has been treated…
"We've had no response from the Council and we didn't even get the report on the decision, we had to receive it second hand" says James Walsh from the Salford Quays Heritage and Nature Group.
"We've just not been informed about anything, we've written a letter asking to appeal and we've not even had a response to that" he adds "We're going to contact Don Foster, the guy who sponsored the Localism Act legislation, and inform him of what is going on.
"What gets me is that we're giving Salford City Council a quality PR opportunity to preserve the cranes but getting rid of them is just bargain basement politics" he adds "Mayor Ian Stewart said that it was `people before cranes' but the people want the cranes."
Indeed, Ian Stewart is trying to have it both ways – on one hand saying that it's `people before cranes' but on the other saying that `capital budgets' can't be spent on people.
"The Mayor said `people before cranes' but it's not been `people before bridges, fountains and pea farms'" says James "I think the Council has had a craneiotomy or something."
Meanwhile, this week, as the campaign gathers momentum, the Ordsall Trust was on the Quays making a Save The Cranes film which will be shown as part of the Jane and Mike Show at Deli-Lama Café/Bar, Chapel Street, on Saturday 20th July between 3pm and 5pm.
As part of the film, Jane Wood reads out a poem she wrote about the two relics of the former docks – the dockers' sculpture on the Quay-side near the cranes and the iconic blue cargo cranes…
`Thanks to The Manchester Ship Canal Company for providing employment for the hungry dockers
Thanks to the Blue Cranes, symbol of the affluent Manchester Ship Canal Company, now Peel Holdings
Thanks to the hungry dockers for sharing their stories and spirit and companionable, fun times on the LOW SILVER SCULPTURE near the HIGH ROTTING BLUE CRANES'
* The full press release put out by the Salford Quays Heritage and Nature Group reads…
`Salford Quays Heritage and Nature Group are very disappointed with the apparent decision of Salford City Council/Urban Vision not to grant the community further time to produce a rescue and restoration plan for the Salford docklands cranes, that we consider to be iconic industrial treasures that belong to the people of the city.
The decision of the most recent Salford City Council Report is to continue to neglect the cranes despite significant public support for restoration. It would also appear from the Report that Salford City Council are continuing to pursue the policy of the demolition of the iconic Salford docklands cranes.
We wish for it to be put on record that we are disappointed at the lack of transparency and communication from Salford City Council/Urban Vision throughout the decision making process.
Despite requests to Urban Vision to inform us of significant events, at no time were we informed when meetings were taking place, when decisions were being made, there were no attempts at public consultation, and we weren't acknowledged when we submitted further papers, detailing a wide range of views from the community, supporting Article 88 of the Localism Act.
To add insult to injury, we weren't even informed when a decision had been made and had to rely on local media to inform us of the decision!
We are shocked at the decision, and the logic of the decision, quote "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."
The reason given IS the reason why we submitted the Community Preservation Order in the first place. Through this decision, Salford City Council agree with us and do acknowledge the current benefits of the cranes to the local community, that the cranes quote `further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community'.
Therefore Salford Quays Heritage and Nature Group wish to submit an appeal against the decision to not grant the community further time to produce a rescue and restoration plan.
We aim to ensure that the Community Preservation Order, the new legal framework for folk to challenge the destruction of property deemed by the people to be for the people, does what it says on the tin and works for the people to preserve our heritage.'