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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Beth Abbit

The Mancunian Way: Up and atom

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Here is today's Mancunian Way:

by BETH ABBIT - Mon Aug 1, 2022


I hope you had a good weekend and your head isn't too sore after celebrating England’s phenomenal success at Wembley last night.

I spent my weekend mourning the end of Neighbours, but managed to shake off the grief with a visit to Prestwich's tribute band festival, Festwich. Kings of the Stone Age and Smashed In Pumpkins were great - but I'm afraid their names will never reach the heady tribute band heights of my favourite ever, Slipnowt.

Onto the news. We’ll be discussing the Lionesses, controversial banning letters and the plans for ‘Atom Valley’ in today’s newsletter.

Atom Valley

There are big plans in the works to transform parts of Rochdale, Bury and Oldham into an innovation hub known as ‘Atom Valley’.

Proposals for a Mayoral Development Zone spanning North East Greater Manchester were signed off at a meeting on Friday, as Nick Statham reports. It’s focussed on three sites - the Northern Gateway, Kingsway Business Park, and Stakehill - which leaders say have the potential to accommodate 1.6m sq m of new employment space, create around 20,000 jobs and deliver 7,000 new homes.

The ambition is to create a hub for innovation in advanced materials, green technologies and manufacturing, with world-leading facilities in a bid to boost the economic growth and competitiveness of northern areas of the region.

Andy Burnham has previously admitted there is still a challenge in ensuring young people from outer boroughs can access jobs being created in Manchester city centre's skyscrapers. The MDZ is a way of speeding up the process of levelling up by bringing together authorities to draw up business plans and attract external funding.

“Atom Valley will offer world-class facilities for research and innovation, powering the skills and jobs needed to drive a new industrial revolution in advanced manufacturing and green technologies. It will also be the catalyst for revitalising town centres in the north east of the city-region, with new transport links integrated into our Bee Network,” the mayor says.

As part of that, it's hoped the Metrolink can be delivered into Middleton town centre - something Rochdale Council leader Neil Emmott is particularly keen on. He says new high-skilled jobs for locals will improve their life chances and ‘strengthen the case’ for delivering better connectivity to Middleton, as well as passenger train services into Heywood for the first time since 1969.

Bury Council leader Eamonn O’Brien says the Northern Gateway is of ‘national significance’, while Rochdale Council’s economy and regeneration lead, Coun John Blundell, said the potential of the site to ‘completely transform the north of Greater Manchester’, providing a counterweight to the airport and Media City, should not be underestimated.

Lord Jim O'Neill this week told the Northern Agenda podcast that ‘despite the great success of central Manchester some of the outer boroughs have not shared in it yet’. The crossbench peer and economist - who helped George Osborne mastermind the Northern Powerhouse concept - said the ultimate success of Greater Manchester ‘requires some of this jam to be spread a bit more elsewhere’.

A historic victory

The Lionesses must be on top of the world right now. Thousands are celebrating England’s historic Euros triumph in Trafalgar Square today following their win over Germany at Wembley Stadium. England captain Leah Williamson told fans this afternoon: “I think we’ve partied more than we actually played football in the last 24 hours.”

Ella Toone speaks during the England Women's Team Celebration at Trafalgar Square (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Of course it was a particularly proud moment for Greater Mancunians as we watched Tyldesley’s Ella Toone score the first goal and Rochdale's Keira Walsh received the official Player of the Match award.

Among those inspired by the England team are Ryan and Gemma Grumbridge, from Oldham, who were in the capital to watch the final with their two daughters. Mr Grumbridge - who is a coach for girls’ football club Crompton FC - said: “It’s good for them to get some recognition - I hope it keeps growing and growing, and we’ll carry on getting decent-sized crowds."

Meanwhile, former England star Alex Scott used the success to send a powerful reminder to Premier League clubs. "In 2018 we were begging people to host in their stadiums a women's game for these Euros. So many people said no. I hope you're all looking at yourselves right now because you weren't brave enough to see the vision," she said.

Banned from Carnival

Letters sent out by police banning around 50 people from Manchester Caribbean Carnival have sparked outrage. The correspondence is understood to have come from Greater Manchester Police’s Xcaliber task force.

The letter warns the event is 'aimed at families and children' and there will be a police presence to 'ensure a safe and pleasant atmosphere'. "The organisers have stated that no person who is either a member of a street gang, affiliated to a street gang, perceived by others to be associated to a street gang and/or suspected to be involved in criminal activity will be allowed entry,” the letter reads.

It adds: "This letter has been issued to YOU, based on an individual basis, as it is believed that YOU are either: A member of a street gang, affiliated to a street gang, perceived by others to be associated to a street gang, involved in criminal activity, or arrested at the festival 2019/2020/2021, involved or linked to serious youth violence."

Those issued with letters will not be permitted entry to the event, which takes place at Alexandra Park, on August 14 and 15. As Lyell Tweed reports, the Northern Police Monitoring Project has described the bans as an example of 'racist over-policing'. They said the letters have sparked 'rage'.

"A ‘gang’ (something GMP have no definition for) is a deeply racist construct which finds young people - disproportionately black boys - labelled due to their friendships, interests or cultures," the group said in a statement. "Evidence from groups and organisations such as Amnesty International UK have continued to show that the police, including GMP, label black boys ‘gang members’ with weak or non-existent evidence, conflate ‘gangs’ and youth violence, and build racist ‘gangs’ databases, all with an end goal of securing unjust prosecutions.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Cousen, commander of GMP’s City of Manchester district, said that since 2006, letters outlining the conditions of entry to Caribbean Carnival have been sent to individuals ‘about whom we have intelligence to suggest they may threaten the safety of the event’. “The recipients are wide ranging in terms of age, gender and ethnic background and are considered on a case by case basis,” he said.

Weather, etc.

  • Tuesday: Heavy rain changing to cloudy in the afternoon. 23C.
  • Roads closed: Eccles New Road eastbound due to roadworks from Weaste Road to Langworthy Road, until October 24.
  • Trams: No service on Metrolink between Eccles and MediaCityUK due to engineering works until October 21.
  • On the buses: Arriva services suspended due to strike action
  • Today's Manc trivia question: Which Women's Super League club does Ella Toone play for?

Answer at the bottom of the newsletter

Manchester headlines

Teenager shot: A 16-year-old girl was rushed to hospital after being shot in a drive-by attack in Moss Side. Police are hunting a gunman who opened fire at a crowd at a party outside a house on Quinney Crescent at around 10.30pm on Friday. Detectives say a single shot was fired. It is not thought that the girl was the intended target. Her injuries are not believed to be serious.

Covid rates: Coronavirus infection rates have fallen in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. Salford continues to have the highest rate in the region, with 171.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending July 23, according to data from the UK Health Security Agency. The lowest infection rate is in Tameside, where the rate is 129.4.

Missguided: More than £80m was owed by Manchester-based online fashion brand Missguided when it collapsed into administration and was rescued by Frasers Group, new documents have revealed. The company's suppliers are expected to be paid less than 2 percent of the £30m they are owed according to documents filed to Companies House by administrator Teneo, who say there is 'no prospect' of any funds being returned to unsecured creditors, who are owed £46m in total. Preferential creditors and employees owed wages, holiday pay and pension contributions will be paid. Jon Robinson has the story.

From Hollywood to south Manchester

Hollywood star Vanessa Redgrave had just won an Oscar when she stood for election in Moss Side, back in 1978. But her success did not extend to politics as the actress - who was representing the Workers Revolutionary Party - got less than 394 votes.

Damon Wilkinson has been looking at the unlikely tale, and the moment the actress crossed paths with Margaret Thatcher at Moss Side precinct.

Vanessa Redgrave in Moss Side, July 1978 (Mirrorpix)

Worth a read

Samir Hamwyeh and his wife Fadya cook together in the open kitchen in their modest restaurant in Urmston. The couple and their five children came here from Syria in 2016, after life in their home city of Homs became an impossibility.

When they landed at Manchester Airport, they were welcomed by a group from the St Monica's Roman Catholic Church, in Flixton, who sponsored them as part of a resettlement scheme, found them a house, furnished it, and created an instant support network.

While trying Samir’s kibbeh - deep fried bulgur wheat and ground lamb dumplings - food writer Ben Arnold has been hearing about his life and philosophy on food.

Samir's Restaurant Middle Eastern Food, in Urmston (Manchester Evening News)

That's all for today

Thanks for joining me, the next edition of the Mancunian Way will be with you around the same time tomorrow. If you have any stories you would like us to feature or look into, please contact me at

And if you have enjoyed this newsletter today, why not tell a friend how they can sign up?

The answer to today’s trivia question, which Women's Super League club does Ella Toone play for, is Manchester United.

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