Douglas Green, on the Whit Lane estate in East Salford, has, except for Mo's grocery store, seen boarded up shops for years. The old units used by CREST community centre and its accompanying community computer resource shuttered up ages ago; the Amber Project youth hut and farm was bulldozed along with rows of houses, and the place became a dumping ground for fly tippers.
As far as the £53million ten year Charlestown and Lower Kersal New Deal for Communities (NDC) scheme went, nothing showed its abject failure more than Whit Lane. Indeed, local kids branded it The Forgotten Estate and even Oliver's Youth Club, run by volunteers, closed last year (see previous Salford Star article - click here).
While houses are now finally, slowly, being built in the area, there is still literally nothing for the local kids who have had to put up with dereliction and abandonment for almost all of their childhood.
Now, however, Wesley Piper, who grew up in the area, has, with his business partner Danny, decided to take a chance and open up The Lounge Cafe. They've been busy refurbishing the end unit on Concord Place, a former dilapidated chip shop, into a bright, homely space which will hopefully be open in the next couple of weeks. And it's going to be a 'cafe' with a difference - an eaterie during the day and a milkshake bar for youngsters from 3pm until 8:30pm.
"I lived in Romney Street and on the 'dog track' estate, went to school here and have a lot of friends in the area" says Wesley "I'd always fancied the idea of having a cafe and thought 'Why not bring a bit of life back around here?'. I've had a few stumbles along the way and had a hard time trying to get it all pushed through but eventually I've got here.
"I've got a 15 year old daughter who sits at home in her room or will go out to McDonald's or KFC because it's warm, they've got wifi and they can plug in their phones to charge" he explains "So I thought `Why don't I do something like that around here, somewhere where they can go?'. If they're stood on the corners they are booted out, and any more than three of them and it's a gang. What are they so supposed to do? Why not come in here?
"According to the Council, youth clubs aren't needed, yet when I grew up everyone went to the youth club but there's nothing about anymore" he adds "I don't like the way that Salford is going. This isn't going to be a youth club just somewhere where they can hang out and sit with their mates in the warm, rather than standing on street corners."
Wesley hasn't had a penny of funding from anywhere, just the standard six months free rent for the hard work of absolutely gutting out the place and bringing it up to standard. However, it's community inspired and community centred. There's going to be cheap packed lunches available for pupils attending the two local schools, affordable hot meals for local elderly people delivered to their doors, and basically Wesley is open to any ideas from anyone about how the space or services can be used.
It's called The Lounge Cafe, he laughs, because "it's not a normal cafe so why give it a normal name?
"It is a real community project" he adds "Whit Lane was always one of those places with real community spirit. Let's see if we can get this community going again for Salford people..."
The Lounge Cafe will be opening within the next few weeks: 6:30am – 8:30pm.
To follow all developments see The Lounge café/milkshake bar on Facebook - click here