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Demolition begins on Salford tower block trio

The high reach excavator in action at Pear Tree Court

Demolition has begun on a trio of iconic tower blocks made famous by legendary Salford musician Peter Hook.

Peach, Pear and Apple Tree Court in Pendleton, Salford, are being pulled down as part of the £650 million pound regeneration of Pendleton.

The ageing tower blocks, collectively known as the Orchards, were built during the 1960s as part of the Hanky Park Slum clearance project.

Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook, famously described the area in his book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division as "rotten and horrible, like a concrete wasteland" as part of his recollections of growing up in the area.

In tribute to the musician, social housing provider Salix Homes, which manages the tower blocks, had Hooky’s famous words immortalised on the side of Peach Tree Court after the blocks were emptied and the concrete panel containing his famous quote will be salvaged when the block comes down.

A 100-tonne high reach excavator – one of the largest in the country – has now set to work to demolish the first of the three tower blocks – Pear Tree Court.

The 14-storey blocks are being taken down one at a time and each will take around six weeks to be demolished.

 

Once demolished, the footprint of the buildings will form part of the Masterplan for Pendleton, which is being led by Pendleton Together, a consortium made up of social landlord Together Housing Group and Keepmoat Regeneration, in partnership with Salford City Council.

Mark Foster, head of property services at Salix Homes, said: “The Orchard tower blocks represent an iconic place in Salford’s history, having been home to thousands of families over the years and dominating the city’s skyline.

“Salford is rightly proud of its heritage, but we must now look to the future and the demolition of these three blocks marks the next stage in the creation of a bright new era for Pendleton, which will make the area a much more attractive place to live and work.

“The area is undergoing a major transformation and Salix Homes is very proud to be part of such a pivotal moment in Salford’s history.”

Demolition experts Forshaw Demolition are using a specially modified high reach excavator, which can reach heights of 48 metres, to pull down the blocks. It is the largest machine of its type to have ever been used in Salford.

As part of the regeneration project 1,600 new homes are being built along with a new shopping parade on Liverpool Street, improvements to Clarendon Park, new parks and walking routes, an extra care village, a community farm and state-of-the-art sporting facilities.

Steve Close, chief executive of Together Housing Group, said: “The £650 million regeneration of Pendleton is changing the landscape of the area forever. Transforming it from the ‘rotten and horrible, concrete wasteland’ described into a modern, urban community for people to live, play and enjoy.

“The demolition of the Orchard tower blocks is a major milestone in this transformation and is taking place alongside the multi-million pound refurbishment of Pendleton’s remaining tower blocks.

“It marks the end of an era and the Salford skyline will be changed for the better.”

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