Residents living in the central Ancoats area have spoken out to shed light on the ongoing acts of antisocial behaviour that they believe is ruining their neighbourhood.
Some homeowners have said that continuous loud music being played, littering and street drinking has taken over the area’s popular Cutting Room Square and it is turning one the most desirable neighbourhoods in Manchester into “the new Piccadilly Gardens”.
Antisocial behaviour in the area is reported to have significantly risen during the past few months of lockdown amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
One resident – who spoke to the Manchester Evening News but did not wish to be named – claims that groups of people from outside the area have taken advantage of the open outdoor spaces to get drunk and play loud music all hours of the day.
These claims come after images and videos surfaced on social media following May Bank Holiday weekend, which showed dozens of people congregating in Cutting Room Square – sparking concerns after there appeared to be a visible lack of social distancing – and leaving hundreds of items of litter behind them.
The resident said: “This year I have seen a lot of changes with the way lockdown has affected the type of people coming into Ancoats and being disrespectful. I think it started when lockdown began to ease and people could go outside, probably around late May. We noticed a lot more people being in Cutting Room Square that were perhaps not from round here.”
“It’s the drinking, noise and behaviour to people walking through the square that’s the worst,”
“These people are still coming to the square but may not be buying from businesses who own the square, and are instead bringing their own drinks.
“People have been urinating in doorways and stairways and openly do drugs.
“I understand that I live in the city centre and it’s going to be noisy, but these people are coming in groups of more than six – which is not allowed. They are drinking and then deciding who should drive the car which is dangerous for everyone in the area not just them.”
The resident also said that his friends and neighbours have been verbally abused, and that some have received homophobic abuse, which is behaviour he has “not really seen round here before”.
He said that the behaviour has made him consider moving from the area and he is worried his flat could lose value.
The resident continued: “I work from home and even during the day there are groups of people out there drinking Budweiser at 11am in the morning. It could definitely become the new Piccadilly Gardens and it’s a shame for everyone who lives here, but particularly the businesses.”
“It’s quite scary at times – on a weekend we have gone outside the square for food and drinks because we didn’t want to be involved in that,”
“It has made me consider moving from Ancoats and that has never crossed my mind before.”
Manchester City Council say they are aware of reports of antisocial behaviour in the area, and are working with Greater Manchester Police to tackle the issue.
Councillor Nigel Murphy – Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council – said: “We are aware of reports of antisocial and criminal activity in the Cutting Room Square area and are working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police to tackle this unacceptable behaviour.
“We’re committed to ensuring that residents can enjoy using the square without being subjected to verbal abuse and antisocial street drinking. The council has a dedicated team working with partners and residents to investigate and take appropriate action. We would welcome any new information that would help us to identify the individuals responsible – for example, descriptions, vehicle details and registration plates.”
Residents are urged to report incidents of antisocial behaviour, via www.manchester.gov.uk, or to contact the Police if any criminal activity is witnessed.