Residents rage over 23-storey ‘eyesore’ which could help rejuvenate Eccles town centre

  • Approval of 23-storey tower of 272 residential units angers Eccles residents
  • Development due to be completed in April 2025
  • Councillor Mike McCusker says it could kickstart positive change in town centre

Eccles residents have taken to social media to express their outrage at Salford Council for permitting a 23-storey tower to be built on Church Street.

The development will consist of three interlinked blocks of four, six, and 23-storey buildings, amounting to 272 one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.

According the the construction management plan, contractors BCEGI have been awarded a £41m contract to begin in April 2022 and end in April 2025.

Existing properties on the site will be demolished, including Booths Furniture and The Top House pub.

23-storey tower to be built on church street, eccles, on site of booths, the top house, and scope
The tower will take out the footprint of Booths, The Top House and Scope

On a post submitted to nextdoor.co.uk, some residents have heavily criticised the development and have accused the council of ‘ruining’ Eccles.

They describe the proposed tower an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘monstrosity’ and say the council is ‘destroying the heart of Eccles’.

Nearly 200 further comments were made on the post, some in favour of the tower, some against.

One person wrote: “The dictatorship known as Salford Council in action again. Just think how much extra money they can make with a high rise.”

Another added: “Re-purpose old buildings, stop building ugly shoe boxes and charging the earth.”

Some have said that they have written to the council and local MPs in protest.

Others, however, are welcoming the promise of investment into the town.

One person said: “This could be the catalyst for further developments and improvements for Eccles. I’m all for it if this is what it brings”.

Another wrote: “Eccles has been missing a trick for years – perfect location, only three miles west of Manchester.

“if this tower brings in the young professionals with some income to spend then maybe the shopping centre will be invested in and maybe some new bars and restaurants will open.”

Eccles shopping centre empty units
Eccles shopping centre currently has a number of empty units

Councillor Mike McCusker, lead member for planning and sustainable development, said Eccles was in decline and believes the development could rejuvenate the town.

“One of the key things that’s shown about how you can help to revive town centres is about increasing the number of people living there,” he said.

“I think having those apartments there will change the mix of who’s living in Eccles, and therefore a broader range of people who might choose different shopping options, which might help open up any of the existing empty units on Church Street for other uses.”

He described the placement of the tower as “ideal”, being opposite Eccles train station, providing transport links to Manchester city centre for commuters.

Councillor McCusker said: “Obviously, when you think about where do you build a tower, you try and build it somewhere that’s as sustainable as possible in terms of people being able to get in and out of the building without reliance on cars.

“And then of course, we’ve got the tram, the bus station, and you’ve got the M602 motorway links, so it’s kind of an ideal place that you would build a tower.”

Eccles bus station
Eccles offers public multiple transport options including bus, tram, and rail

He also identified next steps for Eccles, describing the shopping mall as “well past its sell-by date”.

Councillor McCusker said the focus needs to be on building up the night-time economy by introducing more restaurants and bars into the area.

“I think this is an opportunity to increase the number of people living there, which will attract different sorts of businesses, and hopefully lead to some sort of rejuvenation of the town centre,” he said.