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Will!

Is Manchester dying?

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I'm not sure whether this should be in the England - North West forum, but I thought I'd start it off here.

I'm waiting on a civil service job in Manchester.  The department has offices in Manchester and London, but it is looking to recruit new staff only in Manchester because of the cost of office space in London and, because this is the public sector, to try to create employment in an unemployment blackspot.  Other than those two reasons there is no inherent reason for the department to have an office in Manchester.

I like Manchester, but I think it never found a replacement for its original reason for becoming a city, textiles, and it is slowly dying.  Public sector employment will keep it going for a bit longer but there's nothing on the horizon to reverse the decline.

When the commercial property market in London reaches the bottom of its crash the difference between the cost of office space in London and Manchester will be much much smaller than it is now.  At this point I expect my job to be moved to London.  I'm not from Manchester so my employment there won't make much difference to local unemployment.

I thought about buying a flat near the office in Manchester, but it looks to me like when the economy crashes Manchester could face an almost Detroit-style collapse.

Any thoughts?

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11 minutes ago, hotairmail said:

Well, Manchester was suffering a huge de-population over several decades - like other northern cities Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Hull etc. (but not Leeds strangely).

Two things have turned it around against this trend - one was the huge investment after the IRA bomb wiped out the centre going onto re-locating BBC, Commonwealth Games, funding for trams etc etc etc.- Manchester was New Labour's favourite client city The other was the general large rise in immigration that has reversed this trend in most major cities in the last decade or so.

Some northern cities like Liverpool are about half their peak population. Can you imagine what that does to things like asset prices, credit in an area, local wealth, upkeep etc. That was the thinking behind Prescott's ill conceived Pathfinder plan to bulldoze our way to prosperity rather than a more joined up national economic and jobs strategy.

 

Liverpool:

2usfozr.jpg

 

 

I just can't imagine Liverpool coping with anything like a return to mid 20th century population, without a significant reorganisation. The extra-urban freedoms brought by private motoring in hugely increasing numbers from the 50s onwards has really had the opposite effect on this city, reducing 'efficiency' and leaving them with inappropriate infrastructure, for want of a better term.

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Manchester looks reasonably affluent nowadays and like what the poster above has said - the money spent on the place really shows.

As for Manchester's purpose, well, I suppose they're trying to create a Canary Wharf of the north....they call it Spinningfields.

Edited by Drummer

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Looks can be deceiving. Lots of building going on but at the same time there's a homeless person in every other doorway. Most money comes from public spending in one way or another; whether that be benefit payments to the poorer than average population, public sector jobs or crucially the huge student population. Its vulnerable to cuts in public spending that will effect any or all of these areas. 

 

 

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If you think Manchester looks bad now, you should have seen it in the 80s. 

It's a real oddity of a city for sure. It's quite spread out, making it not very walking friendly - and while it's been a while since I went - different areas didn't have that much of an identity in terms of their purpose. 

I'd be less sure about job returning to London with a downturn in office space prices.  Instead, I think we'll shortly be wondering why on earth are we bringing all of these people into an office at all (when we/AI can keep an eye on them remotely if necessary). This will be the next big socialisation of business costs in my view - get knowledge workers to work from home and save on office space.  My company is slowly shrinking our office space because employees (myself included) are doing this to ourselves. 

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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47 minutes ago, StainlessSteelCat said:

If you think Manchester looks bad now, you should have seen it in the 80s. 

It's a real oddity of a city for sure. It's quite spread out, making it not very walking friendly - and while it's been a while since I went - different areas didn't have that much of an identity in terms of their purpose. 

I'd be less sure about job returning to London with a downturn in office space prices.  Instead, I think we'll shortly be wondering why on earth are we bringing all of these people into an office at all (when we/AI can keep an eye on them remotely if necessary). This will be the next big socialisation of business costs in my view - get knowledge workers to work from home and save on office space.  My company is slowly shrinking our office space because employees (myself included) are doing this to ourselves. 

Remote working is going to destroy the corporate office space sector. It can't come soon enough IMO. I remote work and it dramatically improves my quality of life - no shitty commute, no office politics, no picking up the latest cold going around the office, no having to use the toilets after someone has dropped a bomb. It's the best thing about the internet. 

The long term plan is to remote work from somewhere cheap in Europe. I know people who remote work from the beach in Portugal.

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16 minutes ago, thisisthisitmaybe said:

Remote working is going to destroy the corporate office space sector. It can't come soon enough IMO. I remote work and it dramatically improves my quality of life - no shitty commute, no office politics, no picking up the latest cold going around the office, no having to use the toilets after someone has dropped a bomb. It's the best thing about the internet. 

The long term plan is to remote work from somewhere cheap in Europe. I know people who remote work from the beach in Portugal.

 
 
 

I'm neutral on it although take full advantage to work mostly from home in the countryside.  Unfortunately, the office politics doesn't go away. I belatedly found out last year that a couple of individuals had been running a campaign against me in our head office.  As a remote worker, I'd picked up some things which felt odd, but had no real idea until my line manager raised it with me. I considered a grievance, but with what evidence? All I had was hearsay and some odd experiences of my own to relate.  Just doing a good job isn't good enough for some colleagues unfortunately. 

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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I grew up in a mill town near Manchester, and visited for 2 reasons.  

1) It had better shops.  What I couldn't buy in my home town, I could get in Manchester. 

2). The music / clubbing scene of the late 80s/early 90s which I was involved in... Eastern Bloc records,  The Hacienda, etc.

Reason 1 no longer exists since we have the internet now, and reason 2 was really just a cultural blip.

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6 hours ago, Will! said:

I'm not sure whether this should be in the England - North West forum, but I thought I'd start it off here.

I'm waiting on a civil service job in Manchester.  The department has offices in Manchester and London, but it is looking to recruit new staff only in Manchester because of the cost of office space in London and, because this is the public sector, to try to create employment in an unemployment blackspot.  Other than those two reasons there is no inherent reason for the department to have an office in Manchester.

I like Manchester, but I think it never found a replacement for its original reason for becoming a city, textiles, and it is slowly dying.  Public sector employment will keep it going for a bit longer but there's nothing on the horizon to reverse the decline.

When the commercial property market in London reaches the bottom of its crash the difference between the cost of office space in London and Manchester will be much much smaller than it is now.  At this point I expect my job to be moved to London.  I'm not from Manchester so my employment there won't make much difference to local unemployment.

I thought about buying a flat near the office in Manchester, but it looks to me like when the economy crashes Manchester could face an almost Detroit-style collapse.

Any thoughts?

Try Leicester.Similar history of textiles and shoes.Currently biggest employers are 3 Hospitals,2 Universities and 1 Council.

Average salary circa £20,000,average house £200,000.................................

20 years of fiscal deficits.......................

Anyone see a problem here?

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Building Surveyor here, based in Manchester for 15 years (live on the warrington side)...  currently working with a number of European firms who are relocating offices into the city centre, taking 10 year leases.  Talent pool, infrastructure and value are the main drivers.   We service the UK from a Manchester office keeping the overheads low in comparison with London.   Great place to work and live providing as a southerner you can adapt to the underlying threat of violence!

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5 hours ago, thisisthisitmaybe said:

Remote working is going to destroy the corporate office space sector. It can't come soon enough IMO. I remote work and it dramatically improves my quality of life - no shitty commute, no office politics, no picking up the latest cold going around the office, no having to use the toilets after someone has dropped a bomb. It's the best thing about the internet. 

The long term plan is to remote work from somewhere cheap in Europe. I know people who remote work from the beach in Portugal.

What is their job?

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5 hours ago, StainlessSteelCat said:

I'm neutral on it although take full advantage to work mostly from home in the countryside.  Unfortunately, the office politics doesn't go away. I belatedly found out last year that a couple of individuals had been running a campaign against me in our head office.  As a remote worker, I'd picked up some things which felt odd, but had no real idea until my line manager raised it with me. I considered a grievance, but with what evidence? All I had was hearsay and some odd experiences of my own to relate.  Just doing a good job isn't good enough for some colleagues unfortunately. 

As I said somewhere before, people WANT to be in the office to see what is being said about them, to suck up to their boss, and to grab any opportunity or avoid losing out, it is human nature.

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Crane survey is positive about the place https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/real-estate/articles/manchester-crane-survey-2016.html

and there are some big office, hotel and residential developments underway between Trafford and the motorway. So I would not write it off yet. As others have pointed out though it's hard to see what productive work all these people are doing, and how much of it is simply bloated government.

Coming from the north of Manchester it's a pretty unpleasant commute. The trains are jam packed and unreliable at peak times. Driving there is even worse unless you set off well before dawn. I drove through the centre last year after some April showers and the drainage was clearly broken with big pools of standing water all over.

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40 minutes ago, dances with sheeple said:

What is their job?

One is a web developer who works freelance (lives 6 months in London, 6 months in Costa Rica), the other has an ecommerce company selling shoes (mainly nr Lisbon, travels to London every two months). You could get by in Portugal on about £20k (rent a decent place, have spending money).

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13 minutes ago, hotairmail said:

The docks closed, the ships are no longer there, the Empire has set, the industrial heartlands of the UK are emasculated. Just what is the point of London?

It's the money-laundering capital of the world. We lost the empire, but replaced it with a money-laundering empire (tax havens in former colonies). 

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6 hours ago, StainlessSteelCat said:

I'm neutral on it although take full advantage to work mostly from home in the countryside.  Unfortunately, the office politics doesn't go away. I belatedly found out last year that a couple of individuals had been running a campaign against me in our head office.  As a remote worker, I'd picked up some things which felt odd, but had no real idea until my line manager raised it with me. I considered a grievance, but with what evidence? All I had was hearsay and some odd experiences of my own to relate.  Just doing a good job isn't good enough for some colleagues unfortunately. 

 

Same thing happened to me. I wasn't remote as had an office base but I tried to spend most my time in the field actually doing the work I was paid for instead of sat on my ass gossiping like the rest of my team. I was pretty young and naive but soon realised that because I was the one person who was out the most I was the prime candidate to have the s**t stirred about me. Realised it was just a fact of life that there's a lot of sad people out there.

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2 hours ago, benbfc said:

Building Surveyor here, based in Manchester for 15 years (live on the warrington side)...  currently working with a number of European firms who are relocating offices into the city centre, taking 10 year leases.  Talent pool, infrastructure and value are the main drivers.   We service the UK from a Manchester office keeping the overheads low in comparison with London.   Great place to work and live providing as a southerner you can adapt to the underlying threat of violence!

Interesting, but are those European firms there because a "pull" factor that draws them to Manchester or is it a "push" factor that somewhere else is more expensive?

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A hotel in Manchester racked up 266 'terrible' ratings

Pictures show the Merchant Hotel in Manchester that guests on TripAdvisor have described as 'something out of a horror movie'. A single room with a shower and sink but no toilet costs £42 - not including an extra £2 for towels. Guests are forced to use a shared toilet at the end of the corridor. Dated decor and old fashioned carpets, disgusting chairs layered in grime, one reporter for the Manchester Evening News - who visited the hotel to see if the reviews were as bad as reported - said it even crunched at the touch. Stained walls and cracks around the bed from what looked like previous water damage and more stains and cracks around the main stairwell. 

Guests also have to endure exiting onto a back street filled with wheelie bins, spilled litter and the foul smell of urine. Added to that there is graffiti on the door and one of the information boxes inside contained  just one very crumpled and dirty looking sheet of paper detailing room prices. Daily Mail

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13 minutes ago, Will! said:

Interesting, but are those European firms there because a "pull" factor that draws them to Manchester or is it a "push" factor that somewhere else is more expensive?

"You're so like Manchester, you've got Strangeways, so don't go Altrincham.

- John Shuttleworth.

 

It's probably something as simple as football. Football is big in Europe, it's a very big shop window for Manchester. Europeans are pretty simple folk really, monkey see, monkey do and what with all the public sector stuff you describe but mostly education and health there's a vast pool of European resource over here already which helps this foreign 'investment'. Europe going down the sh!tter, Manchester booming? Let's all move to Manchester.

 

So I wouldn't say Manchester is dying yet, it's still snow-balling. The feeling I've got in recent years and where I think Manchester is going wrong, like everywhere else, is that it's trying too hard to be like London rather than just being Manchester.

#ImlivingtheManchesterdream

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11 hours ago, thisisthisitmaybe said:

Remote working is going to destroy the corporate office space sector. It can't come soon enough IMO. I remote work and it dramatically improves my quality of life - no shitty commute, no office politics, no picking up the latest cold going around the office, no having to use the toilets after someone has dropped a bomb. It's the best thing about the internet. 

The long term plan is to remote work from somewhere cheap in Europe. I know people who remote work from the beach in Portugal.

Remote work has its drawbacks, no office politics means no networking so reduced chance of influencing decisions or getting promotion. I have worked in a few places where it was an option and it was mainly taken up by those with either no interest in or no hope of promotion. 

  

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8 hours ago, benbfc said:

Building Surveyor here, based in Manchester for 15 years (live on the warrington side)...  currently working with a number of European firms who are relocating offices into the city centre, taking 10 year leases.  Talent pool, infrastructure and value are the main drivers.   We service the UK from a Manchester office keeping the overheads low in comparison with London.   Great place to work and live providing as a southerner you can adapt to the underlying threat of violence!

Ha ha, Southerners maybe ! North and east Londoners we are used to being  light on our toes if approached by some herberts.

I love Manchester worked in South Manchester in the 80's as did my wife in different businesses and sent our daughter to Uni there. I would probably choose a lifestyle similar to my Southern one, I really like Knutsford seems best of both worlds close to Manchester and it's airport but nice feel.

I think people are getting bored with London and a rebalancing will occur so hope you are right

Edited by Greg Bowman

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