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PLACES WHERE poverty, disease and deprivation once ruled are being transformed into desirable places of residence, but beware the mistakes of the past...

THE GREEN QUARTER is a project by 'Hacienda' developers Crosby Homes. The site is located not far from Victoria Station between Cheetham Hill Road, Red Bank and the River Irk. It was formerly to have been developed as the Gateway Centre. As can be seen on the illuminated display, new apartment blocks will be built within a garden setting with trees, avenues and water features. On the right of the picture is the CIS Tower.

EWM says: This development is symbolic of the amazing transformation which is taking place in Manchester. Red Bank was once a place of squalour, bad sanitation, disease, childhood mortality and grinding poverty. The notorious slum dwellings of Red Bank were finally demolished in the 1930's. Visit the Local Studies Unit at the Central Library to see images of this area at the in past times.

ST MICHAEL'S FLAGS is just 5 minutes walk from the redevelopment area around Exchange Square and the Printworks. It's next to the site of St Michael's church, drawn by Lowry and demolished around the 1920's. Known as the Plague Burial Ground, thousands of plague victims are buried here. The site takes its name from the church and the flagstones which covered the site and gave it its unique character until they unexpectedly disappeared in early 2000. Local resident Michael Wingfield has been mounting a campaign to restore St Michael's Flags.

EWM says: The disappearance of the flagstones from St Michael's flags was a shocking event. It would appear that someone came along one night and stole them, though according to another report, they were removed by the Council for Health & Safety reasons. Whatever happened, the unique character and atmosphere of this site has been lost forever.

SALFORD UNIVERSITY, the site of the university tower demolished in the 1990's is an empty piece of grass. In a controversial planning decision, a modernist tower was placed on a very narrow site between two of Salford University's listed red brick buildings . The tower was removed in the 1990's.

EWM says: Most people agree that 1960's saw many examples of bad planning, but it continues today. How many of the buildings currently under construction should, like the Salford University tower, never have been built and be prematurely razed to the ground?

MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE seen from the Inner Relief Road bridge on the border with Manchester and Salford. On the left is the Arndale Centre and just behind it the Sunley Tower. Manchester Cathedral is partially silhouetted, making it look almost as black as it was up till the 1970's. The terracotta tiles of the Shambles West development can just be seen above the line of the former Exchange Station bridge, with the buff-coloured 1970's Lowry House. To the right is the tower of the Royal Exchange. The glass building with the sloping roof is No1 Deansgate. Dominating the centre of the view is Highland House, built on the Salford side of the Irwell in 1962, former home of the Inland Revenue, now a Premier Lodge hotel and apartments. The brown facade next to it is the telephone exchange, and to the right, the sloping outline of the Edge development next to the Irwell. The Inland Revenue building Albert Bridge House, built 1958 is on the far right.

EWM says: In this one image we get an interesting snapshot of the changing skyline of Manchester from an unusual angle. Only two structures visible here pre-date the 20th century. How will this scene look in 5 years time? And 50? Keep visiting Eyewitness in Manchester to find out!

THE CURRENT WAVE of redevelopment is changing the face of the city even more radically than during the 1960's. And while official press releases paint a rosy picture of development in Manchester, many people are highly critical of the way our city is being remodelled. The image on the left attempts to draw attention to the cycle of demolition, redevelopment and bad planning, which has been a characteristic of Manchester in the post war years.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Northcliffe House, demolished to make way for Spinningfields development, 2) Hacienda facade, demolished for Crosby Homes development, 3) Arndale facade built 1970's , 4) No1 Piccadilly Gardens, 5) Picdadilly Edwardian facade and interior destroyed 2002, 6) Salford University tower built 1960's, removed 1990's, 7) the Piccadilly concrete wall, part of council-sponsored 'environmental improvements' around 2000.

EWM says: The time has come to pull the alarm bell on development in Manchester and reassess the entire development process. See the final page for some ideas on how the task of changing, updating and improving the city could be better achieved.

All photos and articles © Aidan O'Rourke

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