‘Rashford 2 Boris 0’ graffiti site set to be redeveloped into flats

The site of a demolished pub in Openshaw – infamously bearing the graffiti ‘RASHFORD 2, BORIS 0’ – might finally be set for development after sitting vacant for five years.

The words were daubed on a hoarding in 2021, when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson had just got off the phone with Marcus Rashford, promising to improve the food parcels that families entitled to free school meals were receiving. It was actually the third time the Manchester United forward had prompted a change of course from the government – so the graffiti was technically out of date.

The site it adorned has sat untouched since then, with the graffiti covered up by posters. But if planning documents verified by Manchester City Council are to come to fruition, this unloved corner of east Manchester could soon be getting a makeover. 

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Proposals by Sterling Investment Projects for 25 new apartments and six retail units on the site were designed more than three years ago, and submitted to the council in July 2022. The application was finally validated by the council on July 3, meaning it is in line for consideration by the planning officer.

How the area could look

The site in question, on the corner of Ashton Old Road and Stanley Street in Openshaw, had been occupied by a pub since at least 1910. First named the Halfway House, The Tower then finally Screwy Hughies, the pub shut its doors in 2009.

Subsequently occupied by a gym and a hardware shop, the building was damaged badly in a fire in 2017, and was finally knocked down two years later.

The proposed building would be five storeys high, comprising 12 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom apartment, as well as 25 underground parking spaces, 35 cycle stands and 6 retail units on the ground floor.

If approved, the scheme would also require the demolition of two existing structures at the back of the site, formerly home to a butcher’s and the old Openshaw Market.

An outdoor market on the site began in the early 1900s. It was covered over some time in the 20th century and, when the M.E.N visited in 2019, there was only one remaining trader.

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