Well first and foremost, if something isn’t done soon the feature will disappear. But there is added historical focus because in 2013 the arcade will be 100 years old. Furthermore in the summer of next year the Metrolink will reach the area and the West Didsbury station over the road from the arcade will come into operation.
Why can’t the landlords and shopkeepers do something?
There are a variety of owners of these properties, some of whom are also the shopkeepers, some of whom let the ground floor to shopkeepers. Where there are leases in place there is inconsistency as to who is responsible for the upkeep of the canopy; in some cases it is the tenant and others the landlord. There is a covenant in place for the whole arcade which places a burden on those legally responsible to keep their portion of the canopy in good order and gives any other arcade owner/tenant the right to force defaulting parties to undertake the necessary maintenance work. However this covenant has been ignored for so long that, according to legal advice, no one owner/tenant could be reasonably held responsible for deterioration that was almost certainly incurred by the negligence of previous owners/tenants. So it seems likely that the covenant is now unenforceable. What’s more the cost of the restoration work is likely to be prohibitive for many of the owners/tenants on their own, given the returns on their businesses in the current economic climate.