It is by far the country’s most controversial property scheme. A retail, leisure and residential redevelopment of one of Manchester’s true heritage assets, which will cost some prominent local figures their homes. With the planning application already in, objections number in the literal millions.
We are talking, of course, of Coronation Street in (fictional) Weatherfield, where residents are fighting to save their beloved cobbles as part of the soap opera’s 60th anniversary celebrations (if indeed that is the correct word) this week.
Corrie’s latest moustache-twirling villain, Ray Crosby, is behind the scheme, together with – shock, horror – mechanic Kevin Webster’s sister, Debbie (played by Sue Devaney, who readers of a certain vintage may also remember as “our Rita” in Jonny Briggs).
They’ve been busily trying to persuade everyone to sell up on the sly for months, and now that the cat is out of the bag, last week Ray rather rashly promised an extra £50k to anyone who falls in line. Clearly, the property sector is booming in Weatherfield.
However, neighbourhood champions Roy Cropper and Ken Barlow are trying to get a former brewery central to the scheme listed. At time of writing, the bulldozers are moving in, but the cast “shall not be moved”.
With Christmas around the corner, it’s sure to be an eventful time on the Street – after all, carnage and death are festive staples. So, fingers crossed the outcome of this planning wrangle is more explosive than most. But Diary has to wonder… from episodes of Scooby-Doo, to seemingly half of all US crime procedurals, to the world’s longest-running soap, why are property developers always the bad guys?