Hidden beauty spot in the city center littered by ‘Condom Street’, an abandoned pub and £350,000 ‘luxury’ apartments that don’t exist
Every street is one of those places where ‘old’ Ancoats meets ‘new’.
On one side of the street are modest terraced houses, some of which are still occupied by council tenants.
On the other side is the huge X1 Plaza development with a ground floor gym overlooking Great Ancoats Street and one bedroom apartments from £800 a month.
CONTINUE READING: Life on both sides of the ‘trendy’ Ancoats divide – and what locals old and new really think of all their changes
Both groups of residents have the advantage of being just a short walk from the attractions of the city center.
And as MEN highlighted last year, the Every Street area is also home to Pin Mill Brow, a hidden beauty spot nestled around the River Medlock that offers a rare opportunity to enjoy green spaces and wildlife.
David Bailey, an academic who lives in the area, shared how he discovered the riverside trail during the pandemic lockdown and is among a group of enthusiasts who now want to see it rejuvenated as an urban oasis.
A little over a year since David first spoke up, hundreds of residents have joined a Friends of Medlock Way group to collect trash, improve signage and catch trash bullies.
But the group believes their efforts are hampered by a number of factors, including disreputable buildings, “industrial” fly-tipping and anti-social behavior linked to drug use and sex work.
They are calling on Manchester City Council to do more to support residents’ efforts.
The problem could be one of the deciding factors in the upcoming council by-election in the Borough of Ancoats and Beswick, due to take place on 3 February.
There was a raid on the Dale House on Vickers Street last Saturday afternoon.
It came after former councilwoman Marcia Hutchinson resigned from her role after just six months, amid allegations of bullying and a “toxic culture” in the ruling Labor group.
She was elected in 2021 on a platform that pledged to campaign for up to five new parks in the community and says she still wants to see that as Group Secretary of the Friends Group.
“Virtually nothing has happened since I was elected,” said Marcia.
“There was so much enthusiasm locally for the plans I drew up in April 2021, the proposed Pin Mill Park has really captured the imagination of local residents and a number of people on the doorstep told me they voted Labor specifically for it have to get to the parks.”
Advertising for luxury apartments that don’t exist
Located on the edge of the city center and with large lots of unused land, the Pin Mill Brow area is ripe for development.
Activists believe landlords are allowing buildings to decay knowing land values are likely to rise and lucrative development opportunities are on the horizon – a pattern that has been evident throughout the Northern Quarter over the years.
One example that activist David Bailey points to is the former Church of All Souls on Every Street.
It was built in 1839 and classified as a Historical Monument for its particular architectural interest.
The church closed more than 30 years ago and the building has remained largely unused since then.
It is currently in a state of disrepair and late last year it was surrounded by a yellow ribbon reading “Dangerous Building”.
Manchester City Council says although building inspectors have visited the site in the past, they have not recently and they do not believe the church will need to be demolished.
However, David fears for his future after spotting an advert for “affordable luxury housing” which appears to be related to the site but has not yet been built.
The listing for “Albella House” on RightMove, which has since been deleted, said the two- and three-bedroom properties would start at £350,000.
An artist’s impression showed a building that looks identical to the All Souls’ Church.
And the advert describes the development as “built on the site of the Old Rectory Church…”
The ad goes on to say: “The beautiful residential building has taken the listed former All Souls Church into account and sympathetically integrated it into the exterior design.”
No planning application for such a development has been submitted to Manchester Council.
To complete the mystery, however, an application for a block of flats on the adjacent Rectory site received planning permission back in 2016.
After the MEN contacted agent LPC Residential for clarification, the ad was removed.
LPC did not respond to a further request for comment to explain the ad or why it was removed.
A Manchester Council spokesman said: “Our building inspection team have been called to the properties in the past to assess the condition of the building but as they are privately owned the council cannot compel the owners to bring them into use.”
‘co Ndom street
The sad fate of All Saints Church and the River Inn is a testament to a lack of care and attention in the area, the Circle of Friends believes.
Records show that much of the land in the area is owned by the community and they believe this should make it easier to propose a new park.
“We report [fly-tipping] to the council and nothing happens,” said David.
“Council produced the Our Rivers Our City strategy which outlines ‘pocket parks’ for the Lower Medlock Valley but we would like to see a proper park at Pin Mill Brow which was promised ahead of the 2021 local election.
“Council records show that land tenure plans show that most of the land is owned by the council, so there should be no reason this can’t be implemented quickly.”
Friends Group Chair David O. Rourke added, “I was born in this area and have lived here all my life.
“It’s a shame to see the state of the Pin Mill Brow area.
“Limebank Street is known locally as ‘Condom Street’ because of the prostitution people don’t let their children play in the area.
“I have planted trees and looked after part of Pin Mill Brow for the past 18 years, but it shouldn’t be left to the individual residents alone
“When I was little, the East Area Improvement Program transformed this river valley from an industrial wasteland into the woodland habitat, wildflower meadow, and once again struggling river that we see today.
“It is slowly being neglected and the government is paying landowners across the country to create wildlife corridors, just like the Medlock River valley.
“It will take years and we already have one here, under the nose of Manchester’s growing shadow,
“It needs to be protected. I can only hope that our generation can contribute to its texture, vitality and beauty for generations to come.”
Another group member, Keeley O’Rourke, added, “Viaduct Street is like Bensons for Beds, there are so many mattresses there.
“I love walking my dog Mavis in the area, but I’ve had to take her to the vet so many times because she cut her paw on the torn tin cans (which are as sharp as razor blades) and other drug paraphernalia.
“It ruins what would otherwise be such a beautiful park.”
Eyesore pub once owned by the Mosley family and a Labor councillor
On Palmerston Street, which also runs parallel to the River Medlock, is another building with an interesting history.
According to the Pubs of Manchester blog, the River Inn was licensed as Cronshaw’s Alexandra Brewery House in 1860.
It is believed to have been limping until 2007 before it was eventually closed to punters.
Today it’s in very poor condition, and residents complain that the building is unsafe and often filled with trash and drug paraphernalia.
Its ownership records reveal some of the history of the area.
Land register documents show that a leasehold property was owned by Sir Oswald Mosley, fourth baronet of the Mosley Baronetcy of Ancoats, in the 1850s.
His grandson was the infamous sixth baronet who founded the British Union of Fascists.
In 1609 the Mosley family also built Ancoats Hall, a post-medieval country house near Great Ancoats Street, with terraced gardens sloping down to the medlock.
The building was demolished in the 1820s and replaced by a brick hall which housed the Manchester Art Museum and a University of Manchester dormitory before being demolished in turn in the 1960s.
Land register documents show that the lease on the River Inn property was bought by R&R Properties Mcr Ltd in April 2014 for £100,000.
The sole director of R&R Properties Mcr Ltd at the time was Aftab Razaq, the Whalley Range Labor Council.
Until last year, 58-60 Palmerston Street was listed in Cllr Aftab’s register of interests on the council’s website.
However, according to the company, Cllr Aftab resigned as director of R&R properties in September 2020.
When asked by MEN, Cllr Aftab did not comment on complaints about the building’s deterioration.
“I have asked the city attorney to update the register of interests accordingly,” he said.
What Manchester Council says:
Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighborhoods at Manchester City Council, said: “We strongly condemn fly-tipping in every part of the city and the people who commit these crimes are truly the scourge of our communities.
“The council is working hard to address this issue and we appreciate that local people are reporting these issues so that the waste can be removed as quickly as possible.
“We will always investigate when rubbish is dumped and if we find those responsible we will use the full extent of the law to bring them to justice.
“I have and will continue to work with both local councils in Ancoats and Beswick to address these issues and our neighborhood team is working with local communities to address these issues.
“I also understand the impact anti-social behavior can have on our neighborhoods and I would love to meet with the group of friends to better understand the issues they are experiencing and work together to improve their community.” .”
Council officials are understood to have been monitoring historic buildings in the area – including the River Inn pub and All Souls Church – and understand the properties have “historic value to local people”.
However, both properties are privately owned and it is understood the council believes it has the legal right to intervene only if they should “become a public health risk”.
Building owners are being urged to invest in their properties and get them back into service, it said.