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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Games venues 'good for business'
The Gateway to the Games from Manchester Airport
Employment rates are rising near Games venues

The Commonwealth Games are bringing financial benefits to rundown areas close to the sporting venues in Manchester, but experts are warning more must be done to ensure this is a long-term improvement.

Pub landlord Tony Carroll cannot remember a time he has felt so satisfied after a licensing magistrates' hearing.

"We can open for an extra hour every night of the games, and two hours on the opening and closing nights."

His pub is just one of the businesses which have enjoyed a boom since the preparations for the Games started.


We've got to see that the Commonwealth Games will give just a short-term boost to the economy

Professor Alan Harding, Surf

Mr Carroll's pub, The Townley, lies in the shadow of the City of Manchester Stadium, in Beswick at the heart of the regeneration zone east of the city.

"I've been here for seven years, and when we took on the pub this area was totally run down.

"But now with the Games are here it has got to be good for business in the future."

He is especially looking forward to when Manchester City take up residence in the stadium, at the start of the 2003/4 season.

Just a few years ago much of Beswick was a demolition site, with scores of empty factories.

Now, according to statistics released in June, the area's 11.7% unemployment rate of 1999 has dropped by 2% and house prices have crept above 20,000, after dipping well below that just two years ago.

Tony Carroll, outside The Townley pub
Tony Carroll says Beswick is becoming a "goldmine"

The price tag is still less than a third of the average for Manchester as a whole, according to the figures from New East Manchester, indicating how depressed the area has been in the recent past.

But while plans are in place to rejuvenate east Manchester as a whole, areas away from games venues will have to wait for several years yet.

So says Professor Alan Harding of the Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures (Surf).

1m flat

"If you look back to 1999, Manchester got its first 1m flat, but there are still areas in east Manchester where you've got terraced housing that you can't sell for 5,000," Mr Harding said.

He explains that some areas of the city are likely to be feeling cut off, with the Games not feeling relevant for them.

Manchester Town Hall
Taxpayers will not pick up the Games' tab

"Regenerating sites of east Manchester for the Games is obviously a good thing, but it's a long-term issue," he added.

"There are still a lot of other things to be got right, for a good future for everyone."

Richard Leese, leader of the city council, says the pace of change is still increasing and areas that have been stereotyped as rundown ghettos in the past, like Moss Side, have already benefited.

"When the Games stop, the benefits won't," he says, speaking from Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.

Taxes 'unaffected'

"The regeneration programme is ongoing and there are lots of high-profile schemes on the way."

He stresses while there were previous concerns about the Games leaving a legacy of debt for the city, which led to increased funding from the government last year, council taxpayers will not foot any bills.

Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council
Richard Leese says the city will prosper

"The improvements will continue, but council tax payments in the city of Manchester will remain less than the rate of inflation over the next few years," says Mr Leese.

Back at Surf's city headquarters Mr Harding does not want to spoil the party, but warns Manchester cannot get carried away.

"We've got to see that the Commonwealth Games will give just a short-term boost to the economy," he says.

"But the eyes of the world will be on Manchester for its 15 minutes of fame, which has to be good."


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23 Jul 02 | England
16 Jun 02 | Features
26 Sep 01 | England
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