Salford City Council and Urban Vision finally unveiled the latest plans for Mocha Parade to shopkeepers last week. Lidl is the latest retailer to be linked with becoming the anchor store on a redeveloped precinct (after Aldi pulled out), with apparently a six week exclusivity agreement to make up its mind.
Today, Lidl told the Salford Star: "As part of our ongoing expansion plans we are exploring various options to improve our retail offering in Salford. We look forward to sharing any firm plans with the community, as soon as we're in a position to do so."
Meanwhile, a redeveloped Mocha Parade will see another middle-sized unit next to Lidl, which could be B&M Bargains, but just five new units for the small businesses that have braved out the floods and degeneration. One shopkeeper told the Star that, based on the new square footage costs, his rent would increase fivefold.
"After redevelopment the rent and rates will go up definitely" explained Doctor Kassam, who hopes to move his surgery into a new health centre being proposed "The small business people might not be able to continue, not only because of the rates but also because of competition from big companies. It's a worry that the family businesses will be wiped out."
And Practice Manager, Patrick Murphy added: "The businesses are separate from us really. It would be nice to continue to have those small businesses because they are local people as well. In the new year we will know more."
Everyone agrees that Mocha needs sorting but the worry is the survival of the small businesses and, even if they are willing to re-locate, one shopkeeper described the compensation on offer as "derisory".
Yet these retailers have put up with water coming in through the ceiling from the tinned up derelict flats above, break-ins, the destruction of the community that provided their customers, the Boxing Day Flood two years ago that washed their stock away and a current site that looks totally run down and desperate.
"Broughton always seems to be the last place in Salford to get anything" Patrick Murphy explained "I don't think any other area would have put up with having no post office for three or four years, while every other area has gateway buildings with libraries etc. Broughton really needs that: it has nothing.
"These new units need to try and retain the community or re-build it as it was but there's a lot of uncertainty" he added "From our perspective we just want health care facilities that are going to serve our patients and that's going to give them access to treatment, quicker."
Confusion still reigns over the future of both a new health centre on Mocha and the fate of the existing Lower Broughton Health Centre. Minutes of the Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) from May state that its Executive Team "rejected the redevelopment of the current site in favour of agreeing to fund a new build for the Lower Broughton Health Centre at the Mocha Parade site."
A report from the CCG's November meeting stated that there are "continuing discussions with practices in Lower Broughton regarding a proposed new site for generation on Mocha Parade".
The general feeling is that the existing Lower Broughton Health Centre doesn't want to relocate to Mocha, so a mini health centre might be built to accommodate Dr Kassam's practice, plus an optician, pharmacy, possibly a dentist and more, as part of the current NHS drive to take more services out into the community.
"It's about improving the wellbeing of Broughton people" Doctor Kassam said, while Patrick Murphy added "Salford CCG has got the local population's best interests at heart, I think."
Lower Broughton Health Centre didn't respond to a Salford Star call requesting a comment on its future. However, Steve Dixon, Chief Finance Officer at NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, did respond to questions about a new health centre on Mocha Parade...
"We are looking into developing a health centre at this site and are currently talking to local GPs about how this may look" he said "Naturally, before any decision is made, we will be talking to local residents for their views on the matter."
The Salford Star understands that demolition of the old post office side of Mocha Parade will begin in the new year, and that once Lidl has confirmed its site, plans will be put forward for planning permission for the redevelopment to go ahead. Where this leaves the small businesses is yet to be seen....
See also previous Salford Star article Ė Mocha Parade Still In Limbo Ė click here