Northern Quarter residents call for better protection of historical buildings in wake of collapses

  • Historic builings in the Northern Quarter continue to face collapse or demolition
  • NQ residents feel 'let down' by council
  • Opposition says council is not using powers available to it

Residents in the Northern Quarter have taken to Twitter to say they feel “abandoned” and “ignored” by the council as historic buildings in the area continue to crumble.

It comes as an increasing number of historic buildings face demolition instead of restoration and plans for expensive high-rise apartment blocks are on the rise.

The Northern Quota sat down with Joanne Cross who runs the residents’ group Northern Quarter Forum to talk about the situation. She believes rents have become too high in the area forcing people to move out, leaving buildings empty and able to fall into disrepair.

northern quarter, historic building, manchester, heritage
Image by Sian McGuinness
It’s truly shocking, what’s happened
here in the last few weeks

David Redford-Crowe is a member of the forum and has lived in the quarter for over 20 years. He said: “It’s truly shocking, what’s happened here in the last few weeks.”

He says he is tired of hearing “Manchester is not a heritage city” and believes that the city’s strengths lie in its ability to preserve what it has, but that “political will” is the main problem facing it today.

Mr Redford-Crowe believes that “by coming under this big umbrella of [Northern Quarter Forum] we have much more of a voice, and a much louder voice, and people are starting to listen to us”.

The Northern Quarter Forum have supported a motion by Piccadilly Labour ward councillor Adele Douglas which aims to protect the area’s heritage by looking after buildings that are important to the city’s history but aren’t necessarily listed. But the forum ultimately feel that the ward councillors are not the main decision makers and they still place the blame for the issues squarely on the city council’s shoulders for not using the powers available to them.

Councillor Douglas said: “Manchester has some of the richest cultural heritage of any city in the UK and I am pleased to be able to use my role as a councillor to protect this.”

She said that she feels “incredibly privileged to have been able to speak in council on a topic so important”.

northern quarter, historic building, manchester, heritage
Image by Sian McGuinness

The Lib Dem opposition is backing the motion which they originally proposed but say it comes too late for many of the Northern Quarter’s iconic buildings.

Joe Lynch from the Piccadilly Lib Dem campaign group said: “The council hasn’t used the powers available to it to preserve any historic building in the Northern Quarter.” He claimed new high-rise flats make locals “feel excluded” and do not provide affordable housing.

He said the Lib Dems would impose a minimum of 20% affordable housing in all new developments and would use the powers available to them to preserve historic buildings as well as applying for “Listed Status” for buildings such as Affleck’s Palace.

The Council have declined to comment.