The campaign to get Manchester’s Metrolink “back on track” has been boosted by a giant banner produced by Scanachrome, a division of Service Graphics.
In August, Oldham Council and neighbouring authorities in the east of Greater Manchester were shocked when the Government announced that the planned extension of Manchester’s Metrolink system would not now go ahead. The reason given is that costs have increased and the project is no longer affordable.
The extension of the Metrolink out to Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside, and subsequently to Manchester airport, was agreed some time ago.
All the local authorities have been planning for the extension, to the extent of buying properties, relocating businesses and organisations “in the way” of the extension and generally preparing sites for the Metrolink and its infrastructure. The cost of Metrolink preparation so far across the county stands at over £200m.
Authorities like Oldham have been building its regeneration plans around the arrival of the Metrolink.
For example, an empty mill which stands adjacent to a proposed Metrolink station is ripe for conversion into apartments. Close to the Metrolink, and therefore just minutes from the city centre of Manchester, the apartments look an attractive proposition. Without the Metrolink, the scheme looks unlikely to succeed. Regeneration in the borough will continue without Metrolink, but plans will have to change and the pace of change may be slower.
When the announcement came in August, the local authorities affected met to discuss a response, led by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.
It became clear that a campaign was needed to bring the matter to the Government’s attention and to engender support from local people. In Oldham’s case, two immediate suggestions were a rally in the town centre and a banner on the side of the 175-feet high Civic Centre – one of the most prominent landmarks in the Borough. With this in mind Oldham City Council turned to Scanachrome, a division of Service Graphics, who specialise in giant media production.
Susan Wildman, Head of Corporate Communications for Oldham Council, said: “We supplied artwork to Scanachrome, who produced our previous banners for the Commonwealth Games, and Scanachrome succeeded by producing the banner in an extremely short period of time. Arrangements were made for installation with particular attention to health and safety issues; all our requirements were satisfied and we had excellent co-operation from Scanachrome.”
Susan continued: “The banner – which is 40M high by 18M wide – can be seen for miles. It is a very visible symbol, not only of the Metrolink campaign but also of Oldham Council’s leadership and support for the campaign. We very much hope that it is helping to galvanise local support and put pressure on the Government to reconsider their position.”