Over the last year or two I've been quietly smarting, watching as loved buildings in my city are swiftly dismantled and removed permanently from the streetscape. Manchester is definitely a better city now in nearly every way than the city of the early 1990's when I moved here. However the rate of development seems to be at a tipping point and I think we are starting to lose the character of the place. Who gets to judge the value of architecture? The most loved buildings often don't win design awards and most worryingly it seems to be money and connections rather than merit or any sense of philanthropy that shapes our built environment.
I feel particularly strongly about a proposed development by two ex Manchester United footballers that will involve the demolition of a large swath of interesting buildings right in the core of the city, to be replaced by a huge structure that feels badly designed and wrong for the atmosphere of this end of town. Please take the time to read and digest, research, and decide for yourself:
This paragraph is the element I find most worrying:
"The Council owns the old Bootle Street police station, and has left it empty and decaying while teaming up with developers to extend and redevelop the site, with funds from the far east. The Council is both partner in the project and planning authority, so is the primary decision-maker for this project"
I've always thought Manchester City Council on the whole make good decisions and have worked really hard to improve the city in a very capital centric country. Now however they have been in power for so long that we have a Labour Manchester hegemony that can't be challenged and they know it. I worry that the consequence will be the citizens of Manchester ending up with a less loveable, liveable city, whilst a handful of people make an awful lot of money.