02/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 12:03

Salford Shopping City's post-riots recovery

Category: England

Published: 9th Aug 2012 00:34:10

Raaz Sathwilkar has one very vivid memory of the riots in Salford, which saw his family's flat and computer business looted and torched.

Alerted that his business in the Pendleton district was being attacked, he arrived to find one rioter, who recognised him, carrying a laptop over his shoulder .

"He said, 'Mr Sathwilkar, you are the boss, but this is mine now, not yours'," he recalled. "I was very scared."

The shopkeeper is hoping to reopen his business in the near future, but said the past year had felt like he was "handicapped".

Just down the road, the Lidl supermarket was stripped and incinerated.

But it was Salford Shopping City, a few hundred metres across the road from Mr Sathwilkar's shop, that was a magnet for looters as the summer of rioting spread to Greater Manchester.

One of the first stores the mob headed for in Salford Shopping City - known locally as Pendleton Precinct - was Bargain Booze, as scores of people helped themselves to the bottles and cans.

Twelve months later it all seems a world away, according to some businesses.

David Williams, manager of Wilkinsons, said his store escaped relatively lightly.

"It was the shops on the outside of the centre looking onto the street that had the most problems," he said.

The store suffered minor damage compared with those which were cleared by the looters.

Mr Williams added that business was slow in the days after the riots.

"Some older people did not come for a while, but everything is back to normal now, you wouldn't know there had been any trouble," he said.

The manager of another shop, who did not want to be named, said his business had not recovered from the riots, however.

"I wish we had closed," he added.

The last 12 months have also seen the beginnings of a new phase in the life of Salford Shopping City.

Its owner, Salford Estates, obtained planning permission to expand the centre to 13 more units, with a new market hall and a pedestrianised area linking the centre to a new Tesco.

"After last year's riots, Salford Estates' number one priority has been to ensure all retailers directly impacted by the disturbances are up and trading as soon as possible," said centre manager Les Rylance.

"Thanks to all the hard work and dedication of Salford City Council employees, our traders, Salford Shopping Centre employees and the good people of Salford, the centre was open for business the very next day."

He added: "The riots are now behind us and we are moving forward stronger than ever. We and our traders have consigned the events of last year to history and are looking now to a brighter future."

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BBC News, 2012. Salford Shopping City's post-riots recovery [Online] (Updated 9th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1445251/Salford-Shopping-Citys-post-riots-recovery [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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