In the 19th century the city of Manchester was at the heart of the industrial revolution; it was a thriving port and the centre of Lancashire’s textile industry. Yet, by 1950 business had declined to an all-time low. The canal journey had become too slow and therefore uneconomical for factories and companies. The port could no longer respond to the pressures placed on it by the changes in technology. The docks lay neglected and derelict. Vandalism and crime rates were high, as was unemployment (the city had depended on the docks for jobs).
However, with the help of government funding, grants and publicity the city began to address its social, economic and physical problems resulting from past industrial decline. In 1985 Salford began its huge re-development scheme, construction continued up until 1993 and now is a perfect example of successful inner-city redevelopment. All the decisions that were made were complex and had to consider what land uses were to be located where and how much land to devote to each competing demand or problem.
The construction work alone provided around four hundred jobs, and the area now provides employment for over 6,000 people, leading to the fastest drop in unemployment ever within the Greater Manchester area. Community Schemes have been aimed at improving the quality of schools has kept the youth unemployment rates low. The new Heritage Centre also provides an educational service to schools, colleges and the public. Primary school pupils through to university students use Salford Quays for learning purposes.
Salford Quays has addressed other problems too such as vandalism, crime rates, poverty and the lack of investment and funding in Greater Manchester. Organizations such as the New Deal for Communities programme and other funding (over i??100 million in lottery funding has been invested) based in Salford Quays have worked at putting money back into the Greater Manchester community. The Salford Partnership also launched a community plan; all of which demonstrates a commitment to working to achieve change. Plans such as these have improved living conditions and lead to a drop in poverty rates.
To keep investment into the area high, over 300,000 feet of office space was built attracting companies into the area. Well known companies such as Kellogg’s, Rank Hovis, Ford Trucks and Konica all have offices in Salford Quays. Facilities at such buildings as the MGM Cannon cinema and Copthorne Hotel, because of their location, car parking and accessibility attract people from the local area as well as other parts of Greater Manchester. In addition, a high of local pride has been generated that, together with higher income (due to greater employment) and places to go, has lead to a reduction in vandalism and crime.
Easy access to Salford Quays via a Metro link, as well as entrances to the region’s motorways, railways and the city centre of Manchester has resulted in a rise of tourism. Places such as the Lowry Museum, the Imperial War Museum North, as well as the overall design of the area attract large numbers of visitors every year. This has increased the amount of money that has been invested into the area. The redevelopment has made Salford Quays an attractive place to visit, work and live; it has also been a model for other cities to follow. The social and economic benefits have been felt throughout Greater Manchester and the North West.
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