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Tell me about Manchester - Prestwich, Chorlton...

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
So we're moving to beautiful Mancunia in two months or less, and we need to pick somewhere to live - renting for a while then maybe buying in a year or so. My OH will be working in Salford, for what it's worth, and I from home for now. We're early 30s, no kids.

So to start with, I do know Manchester from living there as a student, but that was a decade ago and doesn't correlate very well with the real world anyway.

I was favouring Prestwich as on the face of it, it's leafy suburbia with quite a lot of house for the money. The problem is that it doesn't seem be much of a real place. I know there's a nice bar or two (Cuckoo) but as far as the centre goes, it basically appears to be a one road town and a fairly run-down one at that. It's apparently the greenery and parks etc that make it somewhere people like, as well as it being a family area. That's great, but we don't know anyone, and on that basis it seems like a comparatively bad idea as a place to start off.

Then there's Chorlton. You pay about £1000-1100 a month for something that would cost £800 in Prestwich, almost all terraces instead of semis, and you have less space & greenery to boot. But, it has a proper centre, a proper neighbourhood and a whole bunch of middle class boho stuff going on, like Didsbury but not miles away and so full of rich graduates.

Is that a fair assessment? Is Chorlton worth it?
 

chilango

Der Teufel scheißt immer auf den größten Haufen
3 or 4 generations of my family have lived in Chorlton (including me) so obviously I like it. Haven't been there in 15 years though so can offer no practical tips.
 

killer b

Singing on the roof of the Barbican
My mrs lives in Whalley Range - 5 minutes from Chorlton, but quite a bit cheaper. Also a little closer to town. Reckon it's worth looking there if you fancy Chorlton, the distance isn't really noticable. Get somewhere near Alexandra Park and you've loads of lush green space within minutes walk, and the fleshpots and vegan delis of Chorlton are yours to choose from.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
My mrs lives in Whalley Range - 5 minutes from Chorlton, but quite a bit cheaper. Also a little closer to town. Reckon it's worth looking there if you fancy Chorlton, the distance isn't really noticable. Get somewhere near Alexandra Park and you've loads of lush green space within minutes walk, and the fleshpots and vegan delis of Chorlton are yours to choose from.
Yeah, some nice stuff out there, but almost nothing for rent - possibly because it's lumped in with Chorlton property - and what is available seems to be at a similar premium.
 

moose

like some cat from Japan
You've missed the boat on Whalley Range, I think - 3 years ago it was cheaper, but then Chorlton lost all sense of perspective and people moved up the road. Prestwich is better for a Salford commute, and is allegedly 'the new Chorlton', so there will be lots of other new arrivals who don't know anyone, too. There are bars and cafes opening up all the time, and it's only a quick dash into town.
 

Red Cat

Well-Known Member
I've lived in Chorlton and Whalley Range but left 17 years ago. Chorlton had become very expensive to buy, but there was still a lot of people on the dole there, I'm sure that's changed now. I liked Whalley Range, its easy enough to get into Chorlton.
 

binka

!!!!!!!!!
I live in Hulme which is about halfway between the city centre and Chorlton. Chorlton's ok but I really don't think it's worth the extra expense. Stretford, Old Trafford and Hulme are much more reasonable and you can walk to the centre of Chorlton in about 20 minutes.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
I live in Hulme which is about halfway between the city centre and Chorlton. Chorlton's ok but I really don't think it's worth the extra expense. Stretford, Old Trafford and Hulme are much more reasonable and you can walk to the centre of Chorlton in about 20 minutes.
Hulme I can't really figure out to be honest. When I lived there last, ten years ago, it seemed to be being gentrified by force in the same way that, say, Ancoats is more recently/now - i.e. put up a load of premium flats and new builds on what was wasteland and call it an exciting new urban development or whatever, despite the fact that there's actually nothing there in meaningful support of it. And the product of that seems to be a really weird clash of new/old, really meaning affluent/poor, side by side in this jumbled up way.

Is that a fair assessment of what's actually become of it? Not that this necessarily makes it a terrible place to live, or anything, just difficult to fathom.

I know basically nothing about Stretford & O/T.
 

binka

!!!!!!!!!
Not sure what you mean about nothing there to support it? I live just off Hulme High Street and theres the big shops like Asda, Argos etc but quite a few small independent shops selling fresh fruit, veg, an independent butchers and all sorts of other shops. Also there are about a dozen shipping containers outside Hulme market (now a b&m) which I'm guessing are all 'pop ups' but all seem to be run by locals. Also the leisure centre and library, community garden centre, they close the high street off once a year for a community event.

I actually really like living here, i can walk to Deansgate in 20 minutes or the centre of Chorlton in the same time. Alexandra Park is 10 minutes down the road as well
 

fdc

New Member
Hey mauvais, I'm in almost exactly the same position as you: we're moving back to Manchester after some time away, both in our early 30s, and have been looking at Prestwich as a cheaper alternative to south Manchester after a few recommendations, as we want to buy fairly soon too. Our first impressions were similar to yours i.e. New Bury Road isn't all that, and there didn't really seem to be all that much going on, apart from having Heaton Park and Prestwich Clough on your doorstep (nice for the odd Sunday stroll no doubt, but probably not enough to keep us interested). I'm currently trying to work out whether there is maybe a bit more to the place than our couple of brief drive-throughs have revealed so far; although Chorlton and Didsbury etc have concentrations of bars and restaurants with outdoor seating on the main roads and which are therefore quite obvious to spot, I'm wondering if the decent places for a drink and a bit to eat in Prestwich are away from the main road. I've had a friend who lives there send me some recommended drinking holes and plan to do a bit of a day-time crawl soon to get to the bottom of things!

I did pop into The Ostrich last week after looking at house on that side of Prestwich, on Old Bury Road across from Heaton Park; that's a decent olde-boozer style boozer, with a big garden which I could imagine being a good place for a few beers during Manchester's two and half hours of summer. And I hear The Church Inn, tucked down Church Lane is similar in vibe -- I think I remember someone telling Mark E Smith and Guy Garvey drink in there.
 
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mauvais

change has become unavoidable
Well, I've still not decided anything. We're going to go and scope out areas soon.

I'm trying to keep my opinion fairly open until then. I think I probably favour Prestwich for now, even though it might be less than perfect. That's on the basis that all the stuff like bars & restaurants that I really want is in central Manchester anyway, so perhaps the locality is less important in those terms, as long as you can get into town easily enough. You have to decide if you'd rather have more space and a few hundred quid a month or whether you want stuff on your doorstep.

I don't think you're missing anything in Prestwich, no hidden street of great bars or anything, although the shops etc are more randomly spread about the place than in most areas, so it's worth an extended look around.

The flipside to all this may be that it's far more easy to develop a social life - active meets, groups, societies etc - in somewhere like Chorlton than it is in the family-oriented suburbs. I don't know yet. Again it may turn out that everything is central anyway.

As a wildcard, we've also been told a few times that Moston (Eccles) is developing into yet another Chorlton, though I have my doubts about the sustainability of all this development/gentrification/whatever it is (if, say, the economy tanks) to be honest.
 

Tom A

Goat among sheep
Levenshulme seems to be the latest popular place to be, I know three friends who live there and it has a few decent bars and community groups (especially if you are into campaigning and activism) and will be cheaper than Chorlton (which IMO tends to be overpriced and up its own arse). Maybe a bit of a pain for commuting to Salford if you don't have a car although there are trains to Salford Crescent and a bus to Salford Precinct from Longsight, the next district along going into town.

Prestwich is a fairly decent area, direct bus to Salford and frequentish buses to Manchester city centre as well as the tram (which also goes to Chorlton), so you can't really go wrong there, if there isn't anything you can get there, you can easily get into town.


Hulme I can't really figure out to be honest. When I lived there last, ten years ago, it seemed to be being gentrified by force in the same way that, say, Ancoats is more recently/now - i.e. put up a load of premium flats and new builds on what was wasteland and call it an exciting new urban development or whatever, despite the fact that there's actually nothing there in meaningful support of it. And the product of that seems to be a really weird clash of new/old, really meaning affluent/poor, side by side in this jumbled up way.

Is that a fair assessment of what's actually become of it? Not that this necessarily makes it a terrible place to live, or anything, just difficult to fathom.

I know basically nothing about Stretford & O/T.
I live in Hulme as well, but I'm in social housing - private renting is expensive for what you get around here, and there aren't that many pubs now until you get into town, all the radicalism of yesteryear has gone to ground somewhat although it does have a fairly interesting garden centre and also the Zion Arts Centre, it's main advantage is that one can easily walk to most parts of town within 30 minutes. Stretford and Old Trafford are okay areas but do not have much in the way of things to do there other than a quirky bar called the Sip Club in Stretford (I knew two sets of friends who lived there), but they will be much cheaper than Hulme or Chorlton.
 

Patteran

A nowadays excuse
We live in Prestwich - I've been here five years, the missus has been here since she was a kid. We've both lived all over Mcr & Salford, & settled here with the baba. Happy to answer any questions.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
So we went up there last weekend, visited Prestwich then Chorlton then Monton then scoped out SE Manchester.

The short version is that they were all acceptable places to live, which is no surprise really.

I liked Prestwich. The high street is better in practice than it would appear from Street View. People are quite enthusiastic about all the change - Grape to Grain, Solita's second project, etcetera. The leafy suburbs are nice.

Chorlton was OK. The main streets are much more coherent as places but also a bit hard to understand - hipster bars mixed with properly run down old man pubs. All in all, the main bit felt super busy (terraced houses = cars EVERYWHERE) and a bit alien, in that I found it hard to visualise how we'd fit in. Probably just me. Prestwich was calmer and felt a better fit. Then separately there was Chorlton Green & Beech Street which made more sense to me.

Monton was quite nice, again cars everywhere, but the high street punched above its weight for where it was. The trouble with that one is distance - a 15 minute walk to Eccles and then 30 minutes on the tram, as opposed to much less in the other two.

So now we have a priority order and just need to find somewhere to actually rent.
 

Fez909

toilet expert
A big plus for me living in Chorlton as a kid was the proximity of the meadows by the Mersey. Felt like countryside.
Yep, when I lived there I spent a lot of time in the 'waterpark'. It's great. You get wild mushrooms and sloe berries growing in the autumn, and in the summer it's just great having so much green space nearby. There's a pub over towards the Sale motorway exit with a nice beer garden full of dogs which I liked (shit beer though).

You're right, it does feel like the countryside, except for the constant presence of the M60 humming away in the background. :)
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
A big plus for me living in Chorlton as a kid was the proximity of the meadows by the Mersey. Felt like countryside.
It is countryside, just a thin slice of what's left after places like Sale - which was once distinctly separate, apparently - expanded outwards.

It is a bit unusual though - I remember going down there when I lived there last time and being surprised by it.
 

Fez909

toilet expert
It is countryside, just a thin slice of what's left after places like Sale - which was once distinctly separate, apparently - expanded outwards.

It is a bit unusual though - I remember going down there when I lived there last time and being surprised by it.
It's thin, but long. I think I read it's about 8 miles. Or maybe km. There's a lot of it, anyway. :)
 

Patteran

A nowadays excuse
Gardener Rd is the equivalent of Beech Street - so it's either a happy, community-spirited neighbourhood for nice people who work for the BBC, or an over-priced enclave of busybody cupcake fascism, depending on your perception. Or a bit of both. Instead of the Water Park, we've Heaton Park on one side, & on the other, The Clough that leads into the Irwell Valley - miles of greenery from Salford all the way up to Ramsbottom.

We may have different perspectives - I've no enthusiasm for the recent cocktail bar/burger joint ventures, don't want to see the Longfield 'regenerated', don't want older residents priced out of the precinct's shops (as customers or retailers), or out of the high street's dozen pubs, & don't want stable streets destabilised by concomitant increased rents/house prices. It is a leafy suburb, & it's affordable - the amenities, the green spaces, the play areas are accessible, not out of reach. Kids can still afford to live where they grew up, & that creates/maintains genuine communities. That's why - & how - we live here.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
Well, there is that.

So on the one hand, I'm your classic middle class gentrifier these days. I'm all for turning your gran's front room into a wine bar TBH. So real urbans!

On the other, I much don't want to see the realisation of what you're concerned about either. That's community, which is not maintained via a revolving door of media types, and all of what you describe is inescapably the pattern of gentrification. I'm not going to defend that - it can't be done. However, simultaneously, I would like to have some things locally that I can enjoy. A total lack of anything but traditional pubs isn't community either, it's long term self-flagellation. I don't know what the right balance is to be honest.

I'll add that some of this is about long term under-investment by Bury and the government. Regeneration in that sense is not necessarily the same as regeneration and displacement by an influx of more affluent yuppie types, although they may have become inextricably linked.

Also there's one element to this that I confess I don't quite get, on the face of it: whilst much of it is clearly accessible and affordable, much of it surely must not be. In large part it appears to be, historically and now, an affluent MC neighbourhood where the most surprising thing is that this stuff doesn't already exist en masse.
 

Tom A

Goat among sheep
Monton was quite nice, again cars everywhere, but the high street punched above its weight for where it was. The trouble with that one is distance - a 15 minute walk to Eccles and then 30 minutes on the tram, as opposed to much less in the other two.
There is a bus to town (the 33), but it's not the most frequent (especially in the evening) and is one of those that switches bus companies halfway though the day.

Well, there is that.

So on the one hand, I'm your classic middle class gentrifier these days. I'm all for turning your gran's front room into a wine bar TBH. So real urbans!

On the other, I much don't want to see the realisation of what you're concerned about either. That's community, which is not maintained via a revolving door of media types, and all of what you describe is inescapably the pattern of gentrification. I'm not going to defend that - it can't be done. However, simultaneously, I would like to have some things locally that I can enjoy. A total lack of anything but traditional pubs isn't community either, it's long term self-flagellation. I don't know what the right balance is to be honest.

I'll add that some of this is about long term under-investment by Bury and the government. Regeneration in that sense is not necessarily the same as regeneration and displacement by an influx of more affluent yuppie types, although they may have become inextricably linked.

Also there's one element to this that I confess I don't quite get, on the face of it: whilst much of it is clearly accessible and affordable, much of it surely must not be. In large part it appears to be, historically and now, an affluent MC neighbourhood where the most surprising thing is that this stuff doesn't already exist en masse.
Prestwich has never seemed to me to be that deprived, like you I would argue it was middle class and certainly more affluent than several of the neighbouring areas, and is probably still cheaper than most parts of South Manchester, which traditionally is where most incomers to the city end up (at least IME). The issue is that prices are going up at an accelerated rate throughout Greater Manchester, even in the outlying towns, and the only "cheap" parts of town are going to be those that are still seen to have a dodgy reputation, places like most of North and East Manchester, Longsight (properties on the M12 postcode side of Matthews Lane are significantly cheaper than on the Levenshulme (M19) side) and to an extent Moss Side if that hasn't already happened - it certainly is nowhere as bad as was in the 1990s and I would choose there over several other parts of Manchester. Also neighbouring areas tend to feel the effect of being next to popular areas, e.g. Whalley Range and Stretford now being called "Chorlton Borders" by estate agents :mad:, and I feel it's only a matter of time till Longsight and even Gorton become people with those that have difficulty finding somewhere affordable in Levy.

The issue with gentrification is not your ordinary folk that move to somewhere that has become "popular" because of various interesting things happening there. It's the landlords that drive up the rents to price out said ordinary folk, the greedy developers who tear down the places where these "interesting things" happen (so the traditional communities are replaced with bland Lego sets - Hulme used to have three to five times the number of pubs it does now), and the government that steadfastly refuses to regulate the market and create proper social housing. They are the real villains of the piece here. However whilst this climate stands there will always be resentment between the traditional inhabitants of a community and the "incomers" sadly.
 

Patteran

A nowadays excuse
Well, there is that.

So on the one hand, I'm your classic middle class gentrifier these days. I'm all for turning your gran's front room into a wine bar TBH. So real urbans!

On the other, I much don't want to see the realisation of what you're concerned about either. That's community, which is not maintained via a revolving door of media types, and all of what you describe is inescapably the pattern of gentrification. I'm not going to defend that - it can't be done. However, simultaneously, I would like to have some things locally that I can enjoy. A total lack of anything but traditional pubs isn't community either, it's long term self-flagellation. I don't know what the right balance is to be honest.

I'll add that some of this is about long term under-investment by Bury and the government. Regeneration in that sense is not necessarily the same as regeneration and displacement by an influx of more affluent yuppie types, although they may have become inextricably linked.

Also there's one element to this that I confess I don't quite get, on the face of it: whilst much of it is clearly accessible and affordable, much of it surely must not be. In large part it appears to be, historically and now, an affluent MC neighbourhood where the most surprising thing is that this stuff doesn't already exist en masse.
I'd describe it as predominantly respectable working class - old fashioned, even. Working class people in decent full-time work - always been a lot of trades/self employed living up this way, many of irish descent. The proximity to Salford 7/Cheetham/Kersall tended to keep the aspirational middle classes away. There are big houses on Poppythorn Lane & Guest Road & Sheepfoot Lane, but they don't dominate. Similarly, the estates on Polefield & Butthill don't dominate, either. It's not unique, it's a fairly typical Mcr neighbourhood - it's only special to us because we've three generations of extended family round here. We enjoy the traditional pubs & curry houses. We also enjoy the smarter special-occasion food places - Chroma has always been good for kids, & cocktail bar Cuckoo has become a daytime favourite, particularly with a strata of local mums. There's room for both.

We live on the Heaton Park side - there's a great playground, known locally as The Rec, surrounded by the terraces of Recreation Street. If it was in Didsbury, the houses would be worth a fortune, & the park, although officially public, would be restricted. Currently, it's an affordable area. That's the side of community life that I worry about losing if prices increase atypically.

There's one element I don't get - the desire to change an existing neighbourhood to suit the personal tastes of newcomers. Didsbury & Chorlton already exist. Cheaper, I guess. They used to say you could change a house but you couldn't change a location. That's out of date. But it grates when someone's been here six months & starts blogging then campaigning to get the precinct dropped. A facility that's used daily by hundreds, maybe thousands, & employs dozens, deemed not fit for purpose. Its functionality hasn't deteriorated - what's changed is the gaze, the perception - & ultimately, it's perceived impact on housing prices.

I realise that historically, realistically, i'm on the losing side here. And despite our different taste in pubs, I'll still answer any specific questions about the area (or others, if i can).
 
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Patteran

A nowadays excuse
There is a bus to town (the 33), but it's not the most frequent (especially in the evening) and is one of those that switches bus companies halfway though the day.



Prestwich has never seemed to me to be that deprived, like you I would argue it was middle class and certainly more affluent than several of the neighbouring areas, and is probably still cheaper than most parts of South Manchester, which traditionally is where most incomers to the city end up (at least IME). The issue is that prices are going up at an accelerated rate throughout Greater Manchester, even in the outlying towns, and the only "cheap" parts of town are going to be those that are still seen to have a dodgy reputation, places like most of North and East Manchester, Longsight (properties on the M12 postcode side of Matthews Lane are significantly cheaper than on the Levenshulme (M19) side) and to an extent Moss Side if that hasn't already happened - it certainly is nowhere as bad as was in the 1990s and I would choose there over several other parts of Manchester. Also neighbouring areas tend to feel the effect of being next to popular areas, e.g. Whalley Range and Stretford now being called "Chorlton Borders" by estate agents :mad:, and I feel it's only a matter of time till Longsight and even Gorton become people with those that have difficulty finding somewhere affordable in Levy.

The issue with gentrification is not your ordinary folk that move to somewhere that has become "popular" because of various interesting things happening there. It's the landlords that drive up the rents to price out said ordinary folk, the greedy developers who tear down the places where these "interesting things" happen (so the traditional communities are replaced with bland Lego sets - Hulme used to have three to five times the number of pubs it does now), and the government that steadfastly refuses to regulate the market and create proper social housing. They are the real villains of the piece here. However whilst this climate stands there will always be resentment between the traditional inhabitants of a community and the "incomers" sadly.
Urmston's the next Chorlton-reach. Gorton a step too far.

Agree Prestwich isn't generally deprived. Working class doesn't have to/never used to mean 'deprived/poor' necessarily.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
I'd describe it as predominantly respectable working class - old fashioned, even. ...
So to these eyes, if you're in the market for a three bed house, then Prestwich offers up a bunch of semis in places like Rectory Lane, and to me that is classic and historical M/C. Because that's what we're looking at, that's what Prestwich is like to us to some extent, so I suspect we're talking at cross purposes as far as housing stock goes (or have differing ideas of class definitions tbf)

Funnily enough if you try the same in Chorlton then it's all smaller terraced housing that I would guess - but don't know - would in the longer term have been more W/C oriented. Perhaps not. And in this bit of the market at least, Prestwich is generally much cheaper than Chorlton and Didsbury. Post-tram, on the evidence we've seen, Chorlton is actually a little more expensive than Didsbury now too.

I'm not buying a house yet, but from that perspective, one thing I can tell you: you say you're historically on the losing side but I'm not so sure. Manchester's always been a revolving carousel of redevelopment of whatever variety. And, I would think, at some point the wheels have to come off the current national inflation of housing, and when it does, a lot of this movement is going to go into retreat, possibly making 'where is the next Chorlton' the least of anyone's worries. Who knows. That's one of the things I think about: not just what new pleasures are going to appear, but where do I want to be when the music stops and all that 'next big thing' hyperbole evaporates.

Me, all I want is a Cuckoo or two, not another Didsbury :)
 

The Boy

danny la rouge is probably wrong.
Levenshulme seems to be the latest popular place to be,
I started a similar thread to this back in 2012 but asking after advice on Levenshulme. i think it was there that I saw someone remark that it was an area that had been the 'next big thing' since the 1980s without ever actaully taking off. I like it there though. Was a bit rough around the edges and the high street was a bit scruffy but I never felt particularly unsafe walking home from Burnage or Withington late-ish at night. Plus the 192 is always entertaining - my first experience of Manchester was the 192 through Ardwick, Longsight then into Lenvenshulme to pick up the keys. Was a bit of an eye-opener.

We still ended up moving to the Disdbury/Withington borderlands though.
 
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