PROTEST…Extinction Rebellion, along with local residents, has set up camp on Manchester’s Ryebank Fields in an attempt to prevent the land being redeveloped into housing. The site is owned by Manchester Metropolitan University, which plans to sell it to a developer to build 70 homes. It would be something of an understatement to say that the plans have been controversial – residents use the land for recreational purposes and don’t want to part with it. Indeed, a whopping 44% of responses to the most recent consultation on Manchester’s local plan were voicing objections to the Ryebank Fields plan. The sit-in is the campaigners’ latest attempt to foil the proposals – they claim the land is not fit for development due to the presence of asbestos and the fact that it was previously used for landfill but is the perfect place to walk your pooch, of course. MMU, which THING contacted for comment, probably can’t wait to be well shot of the land but the question of whether any developer would be mad enough to pay actual money for such a headache remains unanswered.
FORE…American Golf is clearly bracing itself for an imminent spike in the number of people taking up the sport. There are few pastimes better suited to the stipulations of modern life than golf – it is outside, nobody shares equipment and social distancing could not be easier – and American Golf is banking on an uptick in club-swinging maniacs over the coming months. The company has just added High Legh Park Golf Club in Knutsford to its portfolio after buying it for £2.7m and is investing a further £650,000 in refurbishing its megastore in Trafford.
MENU…We have all found curious artefacts when stripping wallpaper, or old ticket stubs in second-hand books – they give us pause for thought and provide a glimpse into the past. The staff at Leaf Café on Bold Street in Liverpool know all about that. While refurbishing the venue, workmen unearthed a 98-year-old menu. In 1913, Leaf was called the Yamen Café and you could get yourself a portion of Irish stew for a shilling. A fillet of plaice with anchovy sauce was a bargain at nine pence but came with the added cost to the customer of being single forever.
COUNTY LINES…So much for a joined-up highways and transport system in Greater Manchester. Here is the state of play on Blackfriars Bridge, half of which belongs to Salford City Council and the other half to Manchester City Council. Salford is cracking on with making the one-way system and cycle lane implemented during the pandemic permanent but Manchester clearly didn’t get the memo to make a start on their half of the street…
TOOLBOX…A 15,000 sq ft hub for architects and designers is opening within the Hanover Building in Noma. The facility, called Material Source, is to open in August and will feature exhibits and interactive displays from more than 30 brands operating in the materials and furniture sectors. In addition, it will host a monthly ‘maker in residence’ event, providing a platform for emerging local talent, a 100- seat theatre space, numerous meeting areas for seminars from industry experts and a podcast studio. But what actually is it, I hear you cry. Well, Michael Rogan, operations director at Material Source, describes it as “a creative toolbox: a place where the architecture and design community can meet, share ideas and collaborate.” So there you have it.
BEANBAGS… Plans by Bruntwood and Trafford Council for a 4,600 sq ft events space in the heart of Altrincham town centre haven’t pleased everyone. The project, designed by Planit-IE and called Not So Secret Garden, is due to be approved by Trafford Council next week despite a slew of objections from Altrincham and Bowden Civic Society. The scheme is intended to give local families a place to relax and have fun, but the society is having none of it. The list of complaints features two very specific chair-based concerns around the likelihood of dirty beanbags and the dangers of deckchairs, which present the risk of trapped fingers. Altrincham and Bowden Civic Society aren’t the only ones who have had something to say about the event space. Originally, the venue was intended to show England’s European Championship fixtures this summer, but the authority has since pushed back on the idea, no doubt because it doesn’t want to hire additional cleaning crews to pick up teeth and discarded beer cans when the Three Lions are inevitably eliminated at group stage.