CHEERS…Raise a toast to the good folk at Hive Land & Planning, who fulfilled an urge to give something back to the troubled hospitality industry with some pro bono work. Hive achieved retrospective planning permission for the temporary retention of a marquee in the beer garden at the popular Thomas Egerton pub in Bolton. Once the restrictions are lifted, this will provide much-needed additional covered space that will allow more people to be seated while adhering to social distancing rules. Nice one.
BORDER PATROL… Manoeuvres by the combined Trading Standards troops of Cheshire, Halton and Manchester tracked a conman builder who oversaw a dodgy basement conversion in Didsbury using fake insurance and building regulation notices and costing the resident £60,000, Manchester City Council said this week. Further crimes in Northwich and Runcorn were reported before Adam Routledge, 36, of Stenhills Crescent, Runcorn, was caught and convicted. Over several years, the conman lured customers with flyers for his Gutter Company (indeed) services offering a 10% discount for OAPs, before stinging them for substandard and fraudulent work. He was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.
LAST DANCE… The Beatles, Nina Simone and Laurel & Hardy all played Hulme Hippodrome in their day. The grand old theatre last saw crowds fill its gilded Rococo auditorium in the 1960s, before it became a bingo hall in the ‘70s and closed in the ‘80s. Campaign group Friends of Hulme Hippodrome has tried to buy it before with no joy. Now, owner Gilbert Deya Ministries has put the old music hall up for sale at auction on 10 February with a guide price of £950,000, promising the buyer a residential development opportunity. Campaigners claim the site’s grade two-listed status makes residential use unlikely and the sale is misleading. But the campaigners lack the millions needed to buy and restore it themselves. A swift resolution one way or another seems unlikely.
NOT WAVING… Anyone familiar with the sunny uplands of West Wirral (as this THING-er is) will know the wind of change does not visit too readily. Residents are once again uppity in arms and can be heard proudly proclaiming ‘No thank you,’ this time to council plans for a flood defence wall along West Kirby promenade overlooking the popular marine lake. A petition has even been started. It might save homes and lives but the 1.5km-long, 1.2-metre high wall would ruin local character and views, petitioners cite. Think of something else to alleviate the floods, they say, and point out the estimated cost of the wall has already doubled from £3m to £6m before planning permission has even been decided.
DEFENDERS… The threat of floods became a reality for Northwich residents during Storm Christoph. Now more than 100 runners and riders have formed a club on Strava, the exercise-tracking app, to raise funds in support of local businesses affected by the recent flooding. As well as the sponsored walk, run, ride initiative, people can donate directly on the Just Giving page. The aim is to raise £20,000 for independent businesses by the end of February while raising awareness of staying healthy.
HOLT…Brewery Joseph Holt has taken ownership of two much-loved Manchester watering holes, the Lower Turks Head and the neighbouring Scuttlers Wine Bar. After being placed into receivership last year at the behest of creditor Allied Irish Banks, David Currie & Co has sold the pair of properties for a combined £650,000. The bars, which also feature seven boutique hotel rooms on the upper floors, made a combined £25,000 a week before Covid-19 hit and the new owners will be hoping that the return of punters, whenever that may be, could see the bars thrive once again. Due to their location opposite Manchester’s bustling Shudehill Interchange, the bars are perfect for that swift pint that precedes you missing the last bus home.