The Northern Quarter has transformed during the pandemic.
And the majority would argue for the better. Finding itself become a Mediterranian-inspired metropolis for outdoor dining and socialising, the popular corner of the city has cemented itself as the summer social hotspot – thanks to a large number of its independent businesses taking advantage of Manchester City Council’s new pavement licenses.
Granting 350 pavement licenses across the city, the Council has fully embraced the opportunity, allowing businesses to boost their custom and create a lively, neighbourhood feel to the centre – as well as turning the Northern Quarter into a traffic-free zone, which in turn, has supported the city’s pledge to become carbon-free by 2038.
Now, after seeing the success of the scheme in the Northern Quarter, in particular, the council is currently considering how the arrangements could be ‘sustained’ in the future, as part of ‘refreshed’ thinking around the city centre and its infrastructure.
Last summer, the Northern Quarter saw ample numbers of drinkers and diners celebrating freedom after lockdown, with many city residents enjoying the increased numbers of beer gardens and outdoor spaces come rain or shine. The concept has proven equally popular this April, too, with many venues finding themselves completely booked up for the duration of the month.
The areas have been heavily monitored by a team of council, City Co and Greater Manchester Police officers to ensure guidelines are being adhered to – particular in response to the government’s COVID-19 regulations.
Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, said: “This last week has felt nothing short of a rebirth for the city. It’s been wonderful to see shops open again and the city really start to come back to life in all this glorious spring weather which has helped ensure cafes and bars in the city centre can trade safely outside.
“Manchester is a city of reinvention, of creating opportunity out of adversity – and we are at our best when we work together, listening and doing things differently. Opening the city up with increased public space, working with businesses to open safely, finding new ways of working to make sure the hospitality industry can operate outside. Innovation has been key.
“Being a city centre resident myself, it has been remarkable to see this work play out, and it’s with big thanks to our fantastic businesses and partners – such as United City group – who have helped us re-imagine the city post-Covid.
“Of course, this is not without major challenges and safety must continue to be at the forefront of our thinking. But for a city of reinvention – and recovery – there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”
[Featured image: Oli SCARFF / AFP]