Why is Salford's population rising so fast?
We speak to some experts about the census numbers. Plus: A first look at photos taken by Manchester's homeless
Dear Millers — welcome to this week’s bumper edition of The Mill, which includes:
A special photography exhibition preview by people who have experienced homelessness.
Some analysis from Jack, who has been poring through the just-released 2021 census data, and trying to understand why his native Salford is growing so fast.
Your weekend To Do list, including an art exhibition that wants you to take your shoes off.
As always, our end-of-week editions are for Mill members, and regular Millers can just read the top of the email. Join up now to read the whole edition, get all our work and support one of the great success stories in British media, built right here in Manchester. We now have 1,395 members, so we’re closing in on our target of reaching 1,500 this summer. The kind of journalism we do takes a lot of time, and our approach involves plenty of editing, fact-checking and sometimes legal advice too, so if you’re on our free list, please think about joining up now for £7 a month.
Your Mill briefing
Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust has been told to make immediate safety improvements by the Care Quality Commission, after an investigation found patients are at risk of harm. The trust's community-based mental health services are suffering from low staffing levels and high turnover rates and are not effectively monitoring patients. The warning comes two weeks after inside sources told The Mill that community mental health teams in Manchester are overrun, causing long waiting times for patients in need of care. Deborah Partington, chief operating officer at the trust, said the pandemic "inevitably puts pressure on the capacity of services" and had made recruitment "increasingly difficult".
Is Sacha Lord running for mayor? He seems to be running for something. On Sunday, Andy Burnham's good friend and (unpaid) nightlife advisor — who made his money as the founder of The Warehouse Project and Parklife festival — bought drinks for punters at the Adelphi Lads Club. And like anyone who gets a round in, Lord then had his media team issue a press release about it, accompanied by photos (see below). "It’s about time I bought everyone a pint, and what better way than to launch a summer hospitality hour across our ten boroughs," he said, announcing that his public generosity will be continuing across Greater Manchester. "I’m looking forward to being at each one to personally thank landlords and staff and the punters who have kept our sector going." Should we prepare for a Lord vs. Neville mayoral race when Burnham heads back south?
The long-running battle between Manchester and the government about an underground HS2 station at Piccadilly — for a long time the subject of negotiations behind-closed-doors and now most definitely happening in public — has moved on another step. Countering intense lobbying from the council and Andy Burnham for the underground option, a report from HS2 sets out why it has opted for a cheaper overground plan. “Three underground models assessed by HS2 were found to be on average £5bn more expensive to deliver than the above-ground option,” reports Place North West, although that calculation lacks detail. Then there’s the extra build time. “If an underground station was to be delivered, it might not be ready until 2049, 13 years later than the estimated delivery date for the current plan, according to the report.” Responding, council leader Bev Craig says: “while HS2 Ltd has shared its estimated cost for an underground station, they have not shared the basis on which this figure was arrived at.”
A human-rights charity has written to city solicitor Fiona Ledden and council leader Bev Craig about conditions at a hotel housing refugees. The letter from RAPAR refers to malnutrition, lack of freedom of movement and suicide attempts amongst refugees there. The hotel — which for residents' safety is not named — is managed by Serco on behalf of the Home Office, but the charity says the council are "hiding behind the contractual relationship the Home Office has with Serco to avoid acting on genuine adult and child safeguarding concerns”.
Reach Plc, the giant media company that owns the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and dozens of other newspapers had a tough time in front of MPs this week. “At a meeting of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee in Cardiff, they [the MPs] questioned whether clickbait articles on local news sites were undermining traditional public interest journalism,” reports the Guardian. A senior executive from Reach “accepted that some of his staff were concerned about the use of click targets as part of their job appraisals, but insisted that many readers liked viral articles.” The executive was quoted as saying: “What sometimes gets dismissed as trivial is actually quite important to a lot of our readers.” If he’s referring to stories like the second most read item on the MEN today, “Mum regrets buying cheaper Morrisons toilet roll after needing ice to soothe pain of 'exfoliating while you wipe'“, then we have to agree.
And finally, as pop concerts bring throngs of music lovers into the city this summer and the Co-op Live emerges next to the Etihad Stadium as the biggest indoor arena in Britain, Manchester is rightly positioning itself as the country’s home of live music. But if you think that rich tradition of public performance began with the Sex Pistols at the Free Trade Hall or Britpop, you need to check out the programme at St Ann’s Church next week. The Mill’s local church is hosting a concert called “Musick in Manchester 1744/45” which recreates the first ever public concert series known to have been given in Manchester, almost 300 years ago. Evidence of the 1744 concert series, which took place on the eve of the Jacobite rising, has been unearthed in local archives. Next Saturday’s concert at St Ann’s features music by Handel and Corelli (played by the superb Manchester Baroque group) and there are still tickets on sale.
Salford is growing at breakneck speed — but what else did we learn from this week’s census numbers?
By Jack Dulhanty
"If you'd have gone back in time 20 years,” says the data whiz Tom Forth, “if you’d have gone back and said Salford would be the fastest growing local authority in Greater Manchester and the whole of the North West of England, people would have laughed you out the room."
And yet, that is what the preliminary census data, published on Tuesday, indeed showed. Salford’s population has grown 15.4% since 2011, the biggest rise in the region and the tenth biggest in England. “It's largely, I think, thanks to huge investment in regeneration,” says Forth, who has built a large following on Twitter by talking about regional development, and is the co-founder and CTO at TheDataCity.com.
The year of the last census, 2011, was the same year the BBC began its move to MediaCity on Salford Quays. Since then, the city has seen a wave of new development; from Greengate skyscrapers to a rejuvenated Chapel Street. The census shows Salford has, in effect, become an extension of Manchester city centre in its capacity to attract investment and people. Manchester’s population has grown 9.7% since 2011, and Oldham’s has grown 7.6%, just ahead of Bolton (6.9%), Rochdale (5.7%) and Tameside (5.4%).
But the numbers also highlighted some interesting trends about population density, ageing, and how Greater Manchester’s growth stacks up against London.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Mill to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.