ON TRACK…The Government has announced an overhaul of the country’s railways and not a moment too soon; hopefully the decision will mark the end of draughty carriages, cramped journeys and unexplained cancellations. In other rail news, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is advancing plans for a new station in Kirkby, complete with a 300-space park and ride and some lawns that are in need of a good trim [above]. The public can now have its say on the proposals, including how long the grass should be, ahead of a planning submission in July.
Milestone meeting today. Maiden one as Mayor. Approving our Best Value Improvement Plan. At a tennis centre….Ace! pic.twitter.com/CvefrSy58g
— Joanne Anderson (@MayorLpool) May 19, 2021
VIRTUAL/REALITY…Virtual council meetings were banned earlier this month in one of the stranger decisions the Government has made during the pandemic. Even though virtual meetings have worked brilliantly throughout the last year – and provided a plethora of hilarious grainy skits for our enjoyment, (Handforth Parish Council anyone?) Whitehall has pulled the plug on Zoom meetings. We are all keen to see life return to some semblance of normality but beckoning individuals from all corners of a borough and forcing them to share a room seems a little silly just now. This week, both Salford and Liverpool city councils were forced to find alternative venues for their full council meetings in order to fit everyone in while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Salford plumped for an empty floor within English Cities Fund’s Two New Bailey, while Joanne Anderson introduced her new cabinet at an indoor court at Wavertree Tennis Club. Salford councillor John Warmisham was not pleased about having to leave the house. “Absolutely ridiculous. Bringing more than 60 people together is nonsense,” he said. Hard to argue.
ISSA EMPIRE…The mystery behind fashion retailer Castore’s move from Liverpool to Manchester has been revealed. It turns out Blackburn-based billionaires have taken a stake in the Liverpool-founded company and wanted to be closer to them. Castore’s move down the M62 raised eyebrows in Liverpool – “why is an up-and-coming, local firm upping sticks and leaving?!” Sadly for those who waved a mournful goodbye to the sportswear brand, there isn’t much that can halt the Issa brothers’ plan for world domination; in recent months they have acquired restaurant chain Leon and are close to finalising their Asda takeover, subject to approval from the CMA.
PAY-AS-YOU-SLEEP…Bruntwood Works has launched an initiative it hopes will fit in with the more flexible approach to working being taken post-Covid. A pay-as-you-go pass will enable workers to access desks at Blackfriars House, Neo and Bloc, from £3 an hour or £12 a day. At Bloc, due to open to PAYG customers next month, there is even a sleep pod for when the prospect of deadlines becomes overwhelming. A nap during working hours seems like money well spent.
NAME GAMES…There was a healthy dose of nominative determinism on display as RHS Garden Bridgewater opened its doors for the first time. Keith Weed, president of the Royal Horticultural Society and Richard Green, the head of the Salford project, were on hand to extoll the virtues of the flowery £35m attraction.
BIG SCREEN…Missed the cinema but don’t want to fork out a million quid for a plastic hotdog and an oversized fizzy drink? Cinema in the City, due to launch in Liverpool in June, could provide the solution you have been looking for. In a series of events, films will be screened at hidden locations across the city. The first venue is Cotton Exchange Rooftop Garden, which will host screenings of Ross Brothers’ Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets and the BAFTA-nominated Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet. As well as the films, Cinema in the City will bring together food and drink stalls from some of the city’s most loved restaurants, including Middle Eastern food wizards Maray. The whole thing is being organised by arts powerhouse FACT Liverpool.