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First for everything

31 Jan 2013, 09:11 Add Comment

Isn't it great living and working in the North West and knowing that we are generally very good at everything - and where we lead, others inevitably will follow.

Take graphene for example, pioneered at Manchester University by two Russians. Okay may be not the best example.

So how about this - did you know Manchester became the world's first nuclear free city on 5 November 1980? No. Neither did I. And I was never sure how that one actually worked.

Nuclear free? How would you know? Did they audit the leccy coming in to the city: "yeah, you're okay, you can keep the lights on. None of that is from Heysham".

And what about our latest first. The first neighbourhood plan to pass through examination and be recommended to go to a local referendum. Whooooh! In Upper Eden, no less. And before you metropolitan types go rushing for your atlases (Google Maps these days I suppose) yes it is in the North West.

After all these pages are often filled with what is happening in our two wonderful metropolises - but life goes on elsewhere. Upper Eden have actually managed to negotiate the neighbourhood planning process and if approved at said referendum (another first?) will have the first approved neighbourhood plan in England, with a bit of luck.

Getting a little more serious for a while. Looking at the Upper Eden plan, this part of the North West will have a distinctly local planning policy that may well encourage more local housing for local people. The implications for planning and development, if this route is chosen elsewhere, are quite huge. Something local people seem to get, but development and property professionals seem to be ignoring at their peril. Don't forget you heard that first, here, in the North West.

Did I ever tell you Hapton in Lancashire was the first place ever to have electric street lights...and did you know...

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Michael Wellock is managing director of Kirkwells - town planning and sustainable development consultants based in Burnley

Michael Wellock


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