SCOOTER…They said it wouldn’t work after Mobike, but rather than fleeing while counting the cost of an ill-fated attempt to boost active travel in Greater Manchester, e-scooter firm Lime is extending its Salford trial. When the scheme was announced, there were concerns that most of the scooters would end up rusting in the Irwell at the hands of heartless vandals, but it seems the sophisticated geo-fencing technology that prevents the scooters from being ridden outside of designated zones is working. The company has reported 12,000 successful rides since the trial began last year and has decided to extend its parameters beyond the University of Salford’s Peel Park campus to MediaCityUK.
BLINDERS…The region has been overrun with unscrupulous Birmingham gangsters. Filming of the sixth season of Peaky Blinders, a 1920s drama about the ruthless Shelby family, has been taking place at Lancaster’s Ashton Memorial, while in Manchester, the Garrison – the Shelbys’ favourite boozer – has been created on the cobbled backstreets of Castlefield. Tommy and his tearaway brother Arthur have no doubt been enjoying copious amounts of whisky over discussions about how best to dispose of the bodies of their enemies, while we are still being forced to hatch our evil schemes over Zoom, which hardly seems fair.
RE-GROWTH...Green shoots are rising from the ashes in Northwich as Cheshire West & Chester Council starts a project to create a recreational green space where the former Weaver Square outdoor market once stood. The market burned down last January but the council’s plans, which feature trees, shrubs, public seating and space for events, could breathe new life into the site. However, the plans are only a temporary fix – the council is in the process of drawing up detailed proposals for the redevelopment of the wider Weaver Square shopping complex.
FRENCH FANCY…Plans to restore the listed Winter’s building on Little Underbank in Stockport were revealed by Place North West last year and work is now underway. South African chef Ernst Van Zyl had planned to open a fine dining restaurant on the site but his attempts to crowdfund £100,000 generated only £800 and he scrapped his plans in 2018. However, under the proposals lodged by Stockport Council, which include the restoration of the building’s rare Sainsbury Brothers clock, a French restaurant is mooted for the building. Fancy.
NEW HOME...Textiles firm NB Avenue has taken space at Town Centre Securities’ Ducie Street office complex, Ducie House. The firm’s owner Nikita Banga was delighted about the move, and is already eyeing up boozy sessions in the Northern Quarter once lockdown restrictions are lifted. “Being so close to the Northern Quarter, with all my favourite bars and restaurants within walking distance is a huge bonus,” she said. It is not only the proximity to some of Manchester’s best watering holes that make Ducie House an apt choice for NB Avenue, though. The company, which supplies and manufactures clothing to online retailers, is taking residence at a former petticoat factory, so textiles are very much part of the fabric of the building.
MEWS…House by Urban Splash, the developer’s modular division, has created a fresh house typology, designed by Liverpool-based architect ShedKM, and is preparing to launch it at Wirral Waters, which the developer is delivering in joint venture with Peel L&P. The Row House represents a modern mews house, or ‘Urban Cottage’, according to Urban Splash, and comes in a choice of three sizes with the same footprint: two-storey, two-and-a half-storey with a roof terrace, and three-storey. The layout can be customised to suit the buyer, too, like Sims but real life. The first Row Houses will launch for sale at Wirral Waters’ 350-home East Float neighbourhood this spring.