DOME…Kier Construction is making solid progress on the First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. The firm completed a mammoth 10-hour concrete pour to build the domed roof of the pavilion, aimed at boosting visitor numbers at the observatory. The £21m project will see the creation of an 8,000 sq ft facility featuring an events space and 150-seat auditorium. The concrete dome will be covered in grass before it opens to the public in 2021. Reports that the building was inspired by the ‘Teletubbies’ house are unconfirmed.
SCARECROWS…Trafford will be invaded by pyjama-clad scarecrows on Saturday when environmental lobby group Extinction Rebellion stages a protest against the council’s “inaction on the climate crisis”. XR will visit Old Trafford, Stretford, Sale and Altrincham with the message that the council is “sleepwalking through the climate crisis” and demand that it “wakes up and acts without delay”. The group plans to express its anger by dressing up early for Halloween following the publication of a Trafford Council report that revealed that the borough will have to reduce carbon emissions by 13.4% a year to stay within its carbon budget for the period until 2030.
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “Trafford Council takes the challenge of climate change extremely seriously and we took a report on the issue to a recent meeting of the council’s executive, setting out a series of measures that are ongoing and planned for the borough.
“While the Covid crisis has understandably attracted headlines for much of the year, none of that diminishes the long-term crisis of climate change and the need for strong and far-reaching action to tackle it. Trafford Council is 100% committed to a greener, cleaner future.”
MULLED WHINE…Sadly, but perhaps not unsurprisingly, Manchester’s famous Christmas markets have been cancelled this year. Fans of the markets will no doubt feel like the very heart of the festive period has been ripped out, while others – whose idea of fun does not include traipsing around in the cold trying to avoid getting third-degree burns amid the congested gauntlet of mulled wine-wielding revellers – will breathe a sigh of relief.
BLACKPOOL FIBRE…Are your Zoom meetings being marred by a shaky internet connection? Are you sick of grainy videos and distorted audio? It could be time to consider moving to Blackpool. The seaside town is now connected to the North Atlantic Loop, a sub-sea, fibre optic cable network that will be able to deliver some of the world’s fastest and most resilient internet speeds. The arrival of the digital infrastructure will give Blackpool a “huge competitive advantage as it seeks to attract more cutting-edge, technology-based industries to the North West coast”, according to Blackpool Council. The network is being built by Irish firm Aqua Comms, owner and operator of the North Atlantic Loop fibres.
BOLTON FALCON…A wise man once said: “Just because you can’t see birds’ ears doesn’t mean they are not sensitive to loud noises.” A peregrine falcon nesting in the bell tower of Bolton Town Hall has caused a five-month delay to the planned demolition of nearby Crompton Place Shopping Centre over fears that the noise of the work could disturb the bird. The shopping centre is being knocked down to make way for a £250m town centre regeneration project, including housing, but the wrecking ball cannot be used until next March now, when nesting season ends.
STOCKPORT SHED…Stockport Homes, the council’s housing management arm, is to transform a former public toilet in Woodley Precinct into a 500 sq ft ‘community shed’ to help tackle loneliness. The scheme, designed by Dash Architecture, will see the lavatory converted into a space for men to meet, talk and work on projects together as part of an initiative from charity Men’s Sheds. The charity aims to tackle isolation and loneliness within the male population by supporting the creation of sheds. There are currently just under 600 such sheds in the UK and a further 145 in development.