News

New cycle lanes and beer gardens closed as Northern Quarter building deemed ‘unsafe’

The building work is impacting the brand new cycle paths and several businesses.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 12th August 2022

A section of the new cycleway through the Northern Quarter has been temporarily closed just weeks after opening, after a historic building was deemed to be ‘unsafe’.

Metal fences have now been erected on Thomas Street, blocking part of the cycle lanes and taking over valuable outdoor space for the bars and restaurants along the street.

The building in question stands on the corner of Thomas Street and John Street, once home to the Al Faisal takeaway.

It’s part of a block of 19th century properties in the area that back in 2018 were deemed to be in ”imminent danger of collapse’.

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Councillors now say that the Northern Quarter building is unsafe, and will need to be propped up with scaffolding.

The owners of the building want to protect its historic facade but are unable to begin work immediately due to the high construction costs.

But until the scaffolding can be built, temporary fencing has been erected to protect members of the public.

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It’s understood that the work will take up to 10 working days to complete.

Several images of the fencing have been circulation on social media, with the NQHQ account tweeting: “If you thought the cycleway through the Northern Quarter was sh*t…..well it just got sh*tter.”

Piccadilly Labour have said: “Building on the corner unfortunately deemed unsafe. Cllr @JonConnorLyons met with the owners who are putting up scaffolding and want to preserve the facade of the building – current construction costs are incredibly high for them to proceed with the development plans this year.”

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Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons then added: “Winter weather has made the building vulnerable & cracks have formed which has resulted in the building having to be supported by scaffolding, whilst this happens, these fences have been put up to protect the public. Some reveal in this sort – that is a shame.”

Read more: Manchester City Council defends new cycle lanes through Northern Quarter as they’re branded ‘absurd’

Although the fencing is there in the public’s interest, several local hospitality businesses are concerned about the impact this will have on trade – especially as the fencing has appeared during the heatwave, when punters will be wanting to be outdoors to make the most of the sunny weather.

The Smithfield Social, which is part-owned by the Courteeners’ Liam Fray, has lost a chunk of its outdoor seating – though it does still have space for tables on Edge Street.

A spokesperson for the bar said: “The building works which commenced yesterday have impacted our outside trade significantly.

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“We usually have eight tables out the front but after lengthy talks with councils and licensing we have come up with a solution which means we now have a severely reduced area with only four tables.

“The area seems to be an after thought as we are the only business affected by it. Fierce have moved their area but they do not lose any space.

“I have no doubt that we have lost significant patronage because of this, as who wants to sit outside with heavy machinery next to you and dust being blown in your face? Quite unfortunate timing with the great weather we are forecast to have over the coming days.”

The Manc has approached Manchester City Council for comment.

Featured image: The Manc Group