For one night only the Top Streets in Higher Broughton came back to life, with the surreal site of a fully working `Super Catch' chippy opening up in Cardiff Street, next to the only house on the block where someone still lives.
It gave a glimpse of what life could have been like, had Salford City Council gone ahead with their agreement to refurbish houses in the Top Streets. Instead, the authority decided in April 2009 to bulldoze all the homes, and three residents slapped a High Court injunction on the Council to save the area.
The case was due to go to court in November last year but the Council chickened out (`Do you want gravy with that?'), proposing a six week consultation to try and resolve the mess. Now, over six months later, the case is due to go back to the High Court on June 14th.
The Council argued that it couldn't refurbish the houses, despite an agreement with the residents, because the costs would be "up to £130,000 per property" and "these costs are now likely to have increased".
At the time the Salford Star brought in an independent builder who said that the cost would be between £50,000 and £70,000 even for the larger houses. And since then the Council's own joint venture company, Urban Vision, has quoted around £64,000 for the refurbishment of a similar property.
Residents left behind in the Top Streets demolition hell are suffering. Last year, a report from Salford Council stated that a resident still living in the Top Streets was subject to "isolation" and "anxiety" and was at risk of "further injury to her physical and mental well-being". And those who have been forced to sell their houses to the Council through `compulsory purchase' have had their homes undervalued by up to 40%, according to recent Lands Tribunal rulings.
Salford Council Leader, John Merry, says that even though the Council had "made a commitment, in good faith at the time" to retain and refurbish properties, "the level of investment needed in the houses would mean that the price at which they would have to be sold for the council to re-coup costs would be out of kilter with similar and even new properties in the area."
Many of the Top Streets have now been demolished with just a handful of residents holding out. Yet there is still no developer interested in the site and many of the former streets have been left grassed up surrounded by knee rails. The High Court case on June 14th will finally decide the future for this area.
This isn't the first time that Salford's condemned streets have been used for Coronation Street scenes. A few years ago, the few remaining houses in Seedley streets were also used as sets for the soap.
"Is this what they mean by MediaCityUK in Salford; that they're just using our tinned up streets as tv locations?" a Top Streets resident commented last night "It's certainly the nearest we'll ever get to the place!"
For further details see Salford Council High Court Drama here
And see Left Behind In Demolition Hell here