‘Depressing and grim’ UK town where shop after shop has shut due £20m revamp

A "depressing and grim" town is fighting to stay relevant as they wait on a promised £20million funding pot while shops shut their doors.

Wythenshawe civic centre is struggling to hold onto their businesses with the stores closing "one by one" according to those living in the largest district of Manchester. Some believe change to the area and its market are "desperately needed".

The Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) is set to transform the shopping centre though how long it takes to implement the cash into the area is yet to be seen.

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One member of the public, Richard, 54, told MEN: "The stores have been closing one by one, including the market. We’ve needed change here for a long time. Hopefully, it's enough to restore and revive the area."

Council plans to regenerate the area include new shops, a new public square as well as promises of net zero carbon arts for commercial, community and cultural spaces.

Around 1,600 homes are also projected in the area, with building work to take place on council-owned land as residents hope the £20million investment will "liven up" the town and bring a wave of new economic activity to the area.

Rabbie Promnat, owner of Rabbie’s Noodle Hut in the town centre, said: "It’s a good idea. It would add to the social, cultural, and community aspect. We need a scheme to attract more people because it's grim at the moment and the area needs real investment to be modernised."

Co-owner and partner, Mike Swatton, added: "We have all the transport links from the bus and tram stations, airport and hotels, the motorway and a heavy residential area. (The investment) definitely would help support businesses, especially those struggling."

Residents appear keen to "brighten the place up", with local Sandra adding: "It can be quite dark and depressing." She hopes also for a "variety of shops" as the area "needs that investment to help the local community".

Council members have since praised the promised investment, with Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig saying: "We want this to be an exemplar low carbon development that makes a real difference to the Wythenshawe community – and this funding is a significant boost to helping the Civic meet its massive potential."

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