The intro to the freshly launched masterplan for the Crescent begins dramatically that "Salford is at a pivotal moment in its history, a point where decisions it makes today will have far reaching implications for the shape and quality of the city of the future as a place to live, work and play..."
Some might argue that the 'pivotal moment' was over ten years ago, when Salford decided to bulldoze hundreds of affordable properties and replace them with unaffordable properties...but that's another story...
This latest phase in the transformation of central Salford to 'hipster central' is a plan for the private sector, together with the Council and the University of Salford, to develop five Zones around the Crescent, with a Lego-set mock up of how things could be, and a gnawing 'Soul Not For Sale' video, narrated by some bloke with an American accent.
The Adelphi Development Zone is visualised as new family townhouses and apartments fronting Adelphi Street, with Adelphi House converted to flats and the Adelphi site bulldozed to make way for a new primary school. The 'iconic' publicly funded £2million pedestrian bridge linking the Meadows to the Crescent is also in there, together with a 'tree-lined experience' along Adelphi Street.
The Crescent Development Zone is envisaged as a new 'residential district' to "support the emerging community"... "The area provides an opportunity to create new streets, squares and avenues" the masterplan report states, although the Crescent pub and terraces of Georgian houses are down as "significant retained assets"...
Meanwhile, at the other end of the Crescent, the masterplan goes on about a new 'Civic and Cultural Gateway' keeping the listed buildings, like the Old Fire Station, Peel Hall and the Working Class Movement Library, while putting up hotels, a multi-storey car park, cafes and restaurants, and a 'signature residential tower'. It also proposes more 'traffic calming' and a 'new linear park running the length of the Crescent' which would provide "a convenient and tranquil route from Salford Crescent Station through to Middlewood improving pedestrian and cycle links". The fate of the old Police Station is not referenced within the masterplan.
The Peel Park Development Zone " aims to create a university campus for the future", which would see the demolition of the Newton Building and "further university expansion", with more student accommodation.
The Health Village Development Zone proposes new health, science and teaching facilities, allowing, it states, "greater community use", while an Innovation District will provide "incubation and enterprise space" for businesses, and will see the demolition of current units off Frederick Road.
"Our ambition is to place culture and the creative economy at the centre of place-making in Salford" the masterplan states "...The cultural economy is recognised by investors, developers and communities as a critical part of a city's identity, character and well-being and civic leaders and the University understand that a city's unique cultural life is in fact its Unique Selling Point..." etc etc…
It's a shame that the city's indigenous cultural community has almost been driven out by cuts and a sniffy attitude by 'civic leaders' who didn't recognise its value (see here). Indeed, the masterplan as a whole states very little about the community already living here and doesn't mention the concept of 'affordable housing' anywhere.
The Council is having only two public consultations on the masterplan, conveniently while people are still away on holiday. There's one this Wednesday 8th August, between noon and 8pm at the New Adelphi Building on University Road, and one on Saturday 11th August between 10am and 1pm at The Old Fire Station on the Crescent.
Meanwhile, Salford Council still hasn't responded to a Salford Star request for an internal inquiry, after it refused to disclose under the Freedom of Information Act which private company, or companies, paid for Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, and staff to travel to the South of France and launch the plan at MIPIM earlier this year.
To see the whole masterplan – click here and for more details see the website www.salfordcrescent.com/
The online consultation runs until 3rd September – click here
See also previous Salford Star article on the Crescent masterplan - click here