A property development too far

It seems that Manchester’s Afflecks Palace has been saved.

The ‘shopping emporium’ in the Oldham Street area was due to come to the end of its 25-year lease this coming June and for many months it looked as if the small shops that occupy this rabbit warren of a building would be kicked out. Unfortunately some did close in mid January.

Now, as an interim measure, Bruntwood, the landlords of Afflecks have bought the management company and will look for a suitable long-term owner.

As well as a petition, emo kids, students and other users of Afflecks demonstrated against the closure.

Maybe the chorus of negative publicity became too loud or, who knows, perhaps with the downturn in the property market the alternatives didn’t look so rosy? The owners could have been left with empty apartments or business premises on their hands.

Either way, what a shame all the small businesses based in there have been put through this uncertainty for so long. All those responsible for that should be ashamed.

It makes no sense to sweep away the very things that make an area ‘vibrant’ and desirable in the first place. Afflecks Palace is a key part of the area. One only needs to look at what has happened in cities such as San Francisco, where artists and other colourful people have been driven out of town by higher-paying professionals and world famous areas such as the Castro have become a shadow of what they were.

This is a huge victory for Manchester people who are against indiscriminate ‘regeneration’ at any cost.

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