‘Ghost town’ shops in Manchester set to be demolished ahead of new homes & tram stop project

Plans to knock down Eastford Square in Collyhurst, which has laid dormant for more than a decade, have now been approved by the town hall.
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A derelict shopping parade in North Manchester is finally set to be demolished this spring. Plans to knock down Eastford Square in Collyhurst, which has laid dormant for more than a decade, have now been approved by the town hall.

Manchester city council now owns the building off Rochdale Road after acquiring the final unit following years of negotiations with its owner. The three-storey structure which has stood on the site since the council estate that surrounded it was built in the 1960s could now be knocked down within a few months.

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It comes as 15,000 new homes are planned in the wider area on the edge of Manchester city centre under the Victoria North scheme. A new tram stop on the Bury, Rochdale and Oldham Metrolink lines is also planned near the site. And although specific plans for the Eastford Square site are still to be decided, the demolition of the ‘ghost town’ shopping parade has been welcomed. The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands work is set to start in spring.

However, Harpurhey councillor Pat Karney is hoping the building will be gone by the end of March. He said: “It’s the biggest eyesore in North Manchester. I can sympathise with the residents for having to put up with this for 15 years. We want it demolished as soon as possible – I’m on to the town hall daily.”

The demolition works are due to last eight weeks and involve making the site safe for the public before a new development is brought forward. But first, all the utilities at the former shops and maisonettes above must be disconnected.

It comes as the land, which is located above the Bury, Rochdale and Oldham Metrolink lines, is prepared for development. This includes a new Sandhills tram stop connecting these lines, serving the new neighbourhoods planned.

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Earlier this week, plans to build 1,500 homes, including 34-storey tower in the Dantzic Street were revealed by developer Far East Consortium. However, Eastford Square is not part of this section of the Victoria North scheme.

Labour councillor Gavin White, who is the executive member for housing and development at Manchester council, said: “Eastford Square has for some time been an eyesore for the community in Collyhurst and has attracted incidents of anti-social behaviour. The approval for demolition will no doubt be a relief to many in the local area – and we are working to relocate the sculptural artwork on the site into the grounds of the nearby Roach and Vauxhall Courts where it will be visible from Rochdale Road.

“In the longer term, we look forward to bringing the site into more positive use as part of the wider Victoria North programme of regeneration. Any such proposals will be subject to community consultation as and when they come forward.”

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