The War on Fallowfield

Over the past few years, a silent war has been waged on Fallowfield by Manchester City Council. This war has affected housing, bars, restaurants and the unique spirit that is our student community. One by one these community hubs are being sniped and our vibrant area is slowly being destroyed.

It first became apparent with the council's attack on student favourite, Antwerp Mansion last year. The club was hit with orders to significantly reduce capacity, resulting in hundreds of tickets sold for popular events being canceled. They were also forced to end nights hours before their advertised closing time.

Rusholme's top rave spot eventually closed last March. It reopened in September but now has to comply with a strict closing time of 11pm.

While this was in play, the council also investigated the licenses and health records of all bars and restaurants in the area. This move meant that The Font had to comply to an earlier close time of 11pm and, in turn, had to reduce their extensive cocktail list. The home of many sports socials, Revs, has also had its opening hours reduced.

The investigation also meant the loss of Fallow Café, everyone's favourite place to take their parents on their visit to our beloved Fallowfield. The health inspection got the better of them, as it did with many Fallowfield businesses.

Rumours, which were confirmed yesterday on Facebook, now reveal that The Font Fallowfield is on borrowed time. The cocktail bar is due to be closing its doors on December 15th, meaning the end of £2 cocktails, curly fries and everyone's favourite pub quiz. The business has not released information regarding reasons why.

The loss of Tesco also hit many students hard. Not only did we lose the only supermarket on Wilmslow Road open past 5pm on a Sunday but also the Post Office. It seems almost archaic to mourn the loss of a Post Office, but it truly is a sign of community, one that is now missing from the war affected streets. Fallowfield students now have to travel over a mile to drop off parcels, large letters and, inevitably, ASOS returns.

This war has not only affected businesses. Last June saw the permanent closure of Owens Park Tower. A staple of Fallowfield culture, the Tower was a disgustingly magical place to live and party in and it will be truly missed. It had always been a fable that Tower was set to be demolished. But alas, that time may have arrived. 

"Where will the students flee to?", I hear you shout. The council has a deployment proposal, one that seems to intend on students moving down towards the city centre, with more moving into private accommodation and city centre dwellings.

This will raise the wealth of the city and create a lot of affordable housing for young families in Fallowfield. Didsbury and Withington have already become gentrified, family havens. How long until Fallowfield becomes the same?

Even if we look back to the architecture of Fallowfield’s past, there is a pattern of the Universities cutting ties with Fallowfield. Allen Hall, for those of us doing a bachelor's degree, is just an abandoned, slightly derelict, halls of residence. It was closed in 2014 and has remained empty ever since. It's scary to think that this may be future for the entirety of the Fallowfield Campus. 

Manchester Metropolitan’s 'toastrack' also shut its doors to academia in 2013. Now, it’s a gym and could potentially become luxury apartments in the near future.

The war is not yet won however. The students of Fallowfield can fight back. We must reclaim what is ours!