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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Adam Maidment

The Mancunian Way: Pandora's box

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Here's the Mancunian Way for today:


It is seven years to the day when voters up and down the country were tasked with heading to polling stations and choosing one of two options: leave or remain.

As we all know by now, the decision to leave the European Union outweighed the option to remain by 51.89% to 48.11%. In the seven years since, a lot has happened. There’s been two general elections, a pandemic, a cost of living crisis and everything else in-between.

But what do voters across Greater Manchester make of that decision they made in 2016 now? Well, M.E.N reporter Ethan Davies headed to each of the ten boroughs in the city-region to see if residents would change their vote if they had the benefit of hindsight.

Campbell Bishop says he wanted a 'softer' Brexit than what was received (Manchester Evening News)

Campbell Bishop, 30, actually campaigned to leave the EU but he was in favour of a ‘softer’ exit where the UK remained in the Customs Union. Tasked on whether he would change his vote with hindsight, he couldn’t say for sure.

“I do believe we should never have entered the EU,” he explained. “I thought the Conservative party would be more united and I thought David Cameron would’ve stayed and the cabinet would’ve united around it, and we would’ve left the EU on more amicable terms and remained part of the customs union like Norway.”

That being said, he feels like Brexit has led to a swathe of other issues. He went on: “It beggars belief. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be hilarious since then. It’s like Pandora’s box has been opened.”

We’ll get on to more thoughts on Brexit shortly, whilst also looking at new city projects, bakery fury and bakery sadness.

'But have they delivered?'

Amongst those who voted to leave the EU in 2016 is a woman from Reddish. The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I voted leave. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done, because there’s been so many changes.”

She added: “It affects me because my son lives in Spain so I travel a lot though. And they promised us all sorts but have they delivered?”

Such was her disappointment with how the process turned out, she added that she has ‘vowed never to vote again’. “So many people are saying that,” she went on. “I do not even watch anything to do with politics.”

Margaret Thomson, pictured below, feels similar. She said she ‘only voted on the immigration issue’ but feels that she didn’t understand the wider impact of leaving the EU.

Some residents regret their decision to vote leave (Carly Holds)

But not everybody regrets their decision to leave. Sisters Pamela Juskiw, 74, and Carole Hefferon, 77, who were shopping in Stockport, said they think more time needs to be given.

“We were leave and we have stayed leave,” the pair said. “We’ve not had a good chance to do it with Covid and the war in Ukraine, so we don’t know how it’s going.”

Mary Roberts, 82, in Heywood, agreed. “It took a long time and not everything has been sorted properly yet,” she said. “I was fed up of being told what to do by the EU.”

But remainer Jon Kay, 43, from Chorlton, says he always ‘knew Brexit would turn out pretty badly’. Josh Dawson, 33, shares Jon’s attitude. He said: “You cannot predict what things like Covid will do, but any honest assessment of our bargaining position at the time means we were not in a strong position to leave.”

You can read more about Greater Manchester’s thoughts on Brexit seven years on here.

The £1.7 billion plan

Looking further to our future, a whole new district of the city is about to be created near the Mancunian Way and Piccadilly Station.

ID Manchester, as it will be known, will see a wholesale regeneration of the University of Manchester's north campus into 4 million square feet of education, retail, and commercial space.

The multi-year project, costing a whopping £1.7 billion, will also include 1,500 new homes. The plans are set to be approved for consultation by Manchester City Council next week and are expected to create more than 10,000 jobs, according to bosses at the University and Bruntwood SciTech, who are in a 50:50 joint-venture with Legal&General.

Plans also promise to ‘breathe new life into key heritage assets’ on-site, such as the Sackville Street and Renold buildings — plus Vimto Park. It will also adopt a ‘living landscape’ approach to the district’s nine acres of public realm, enhancing existing green spaces, reconnecting communities with nature and improving urban biodiversity by at least 10 percent.

Council leader Bev Craig told Ethan Davies that the development, which is expected to take 15 years to complete, will represent a continuation of ‘Manchester’s innovative spirit’.

"Manchester is known across the world for its industrious history, but Manchester’s economy has been transformed over the last two decades as one of the fastest growing in Europe. A growing economy, with people at its heart,” Coun Craig, Labour, said.

She added: "We welcome this level of ambition to diversify and grow our economy - while creating thousands of new jobs alongside pathways to learning and apprenticeships for Manchester people to realise their potential, sharing in the success of the city."

You can read more on the plans here.

'People aren’t going to get the bus to get a sausage roll'

(John Myers)

It’s not everyday you see residents in Greater Manchester furious at a Greggs, but stranger things have happened.

People in Cheadle Heath say plans to demolish the former Farmer’s Arms pub and build a new Greggs drive-thu in its place are ‘a recipe for a nightmare’. While some, such as Helen Binns, of agents Walsingham Planning, believe the drive-thru could be a ‘beneficial addition’ to the area and see a ‘long derelict site returned to an active and viable use’, others are concerned about the impact of traffic it will have.

Local Councillor David Meller, who refused to support the application ahead of it being determined by the authority’s planning and highways committee next month, said: “I’m not against a Gregg’s on that site, I’ll make that pretty clear. What I’m really quite against is the impact that I think this will have on the highway and that there’s a number of things that haven’t been considered."

As Local Democracy Reporter Nick Statham reports, Coun Meller said he feared a ‘snake of traffic’ would build up in the mornings and lead to a ‘clogging up’ of Edgeley Road. He added: “It’s a recipe for a nightmare on that stretch as it stands. A recipe for a nightmare in terms of traffic.”

Coun Meller dismissed the argument that the extra traffic would be no different to when the Farmers Arms was open.

“I don’t know how you can use pub numbers to justify this,” he said. "Most people will walk to the pub because they want to have a drink. People aren’t going to get the bus to get a sausage roll.

"The clue is in the name, in that it’s a drive-thru. I can’t recommend this for approval.”

A slice of Reddish

From one bakery chain to a local bakery that is sadly set to close its doors for good after more than 90 years in operation.

Hobson's, in Reddish, first opened in June 1929, the day after founders Harry and Marion Hobson were married. Now run by grandson Martin, rising costs have left them struggling to stay afloat.

What’s On reporter Ben Arnold writes that the bakery's Gorton Road home is set to be sold in September, bringing an end to nearly a century of serving the Stockport community.

Martin and Sally at Hobson's Bakery (Manchester Evening News)

“They sold anything and everything,” Martin says of his grandparents. “Traded whatever they could. You did what you had to in those mid-war times. Black market, buying, selling. We still sold cigarettes until about 40 years ago.”

Martin says it will be sad when the bakery finally does shut - putting an end to a traditional eatery that includes a 60-year-old pork pie press - but insists the time has come.

He adds: “94 years of blood, sweat and tears. When you’re running a small business, you find out what sacrifice that takes, and no one can tell you until you’ve done it. So it’s that that we’ll be walking away from.”

You can read more about Hobson’s here.

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Weather etc

Saturday: Overcast changing to sunny by early evening. 26C.

Road closures: M67 Eastbound entry slip road closed due to long-term roadworks at J2 A57 Hyde Road (Denton). Until December 1, 2025.

Manchester headlines

  • Best: Manchester Jewish Museum has been named one of the UK's best buildings. The museum and adjoining synagogue has been praised for blending the old and new and "producing a place rich in detail and delight". Details here.

  • Plane: Police were forced to storm a plane at Manchester Airport after a passenger became disruptive. The woman was said to have 'refused to put a seatbelt on her child' on the delayed flight from Kos.

  • Beer: A summer beer festival is coming to Kampus in the city centre next weekend. It will feature 26 different types of beer as well as frozen grapefruit margarita floats. More here.

That's all for today

Thanks for joining me. If you have stories you would like us to look into, email

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