MIND THE GAP… Today is Equal Pay Day, which sounds like a good thing but really isn’t. At 3.34pm today, women in the UK will theoretically be working for free for the rest of the year, such is the gap between their earnings compared to their male counterparts. In property and construction, the situation is even worse. The Vertical Salary Review 2017, launched yesterday, shows a whopping 20.4% pay gap on average. This means that the Equal Pay Day in property and construction this year is 18 October. Two and a half months’ less pay. More of a canyon than a gap.
STRIKE THE RIGHT CHORD… The Ordsall Chord bridge connecting Victoria and Piccadilly stations completed yesterday, and it’s unarguably an impressive piece of infrastructure. In numbers, the BDP-designed structure is made up of 14,339 cubic metres of concrete, 4,378 tonnes of steelwork, 500km of cable length, 28,500 tonnes of ballast, 66 LED signals, and 74 overhead line equipment structures. An awful lot of companies were involved in the building of it too: Network Rail, Skanska Bam, Amey Sersa and Siemens alongside Severfield, WSP and Aecom Mott MacDonald. The asymmetrial design and weathered steel is already being given the “icon” mantle, but whatever you do, don’t refer to the ribbon-like shape as a “swoosh”, as Place was told by Skanska’s PR: “We can’t refer to it as a ‘swoosh’, we’ll get in trouble with Nike. It’s a cascade.” Sounds like a sponsorship deal in the making.
Meanwhile, Martin Frobisher, route managing director of Network Rail had a droll way of drawing attention to the fact the Ordsall Chord project has been competed accident-free by its 2,000 strong army of NR staff and contractors. Rail minister Paul Maynard was in attendance to place a final ceremonial bolt on the new bridge which adjoins the 1830 Stephenson bridge, the birthplace of passenger railways. Previous ministers haven’t had a great time at railway opening events in the area, as Frobisher pointed out. “Unlike William Huskisson,” Frobisher declared to Maynard, “I can reassure you that we will return you safely today.” Huskisson was the MP run down and killed by the Rocket train, on its inaugural trip to Liverpool.
START ‘CHRISTMASSING’… What type of Christmas shopper are you? Plenty of us may be online shoppers these days but that hasn’t deterred Intu from launching a new advertising campaign showcasing seven different types of Christmas shoppers, each represented by a different bird, brought to life by puppeteers. The Trafford Centre owner’s campaign features an owl as a ‘wise’ shopper, a duck as a ‘big day out’ shopper, and a peacock as the ‘over excited’ shopper. Intu’s Guide to Christmassing advert is accompanied by the dulcet tones of Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, and launched last Sunday. You’ll have plenty of time to decide what type of giant bird puppet you are in the run up to 25 December.
POPPY APPEAL… Cities and towns across the North West are busy making preparations for Remembrance Sunday, and a number of tributes have already been spotted across the region. In Manchester, a poppy now adorns a sculpture outside Oxford Road station, while the city’s cenotaph has been fenced off to allow preparations for Sunday’s service. In Liverpool, a service of remembrance will begin at St George’s Hall at 10.40am on Sunday, accompanied by Joey, the life-sized puppet from the National Theatre’s production of War Horse. A special reading penned by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo will also be read at the ceremony.
ENVY… Tech types were out in force in Lisbon this week, for the annual Web Summit, which has grown from a humble meet-up in Dublin to a conference attracting more than 80,000 attendees. The downside of all these finger-on-the-pulse digital professionals is they’re too good at making us jealous through their regular social media updates. Tech North was in attendance, with Jazz Hanley giving us serious conference envy. Nice work if you can get it.
— Jazz Hanley (@DigitalJazz) November 8, 2017
SEARCH FUNCTION… The BBC has released a tool which shows how the percentage of land which has been built on, down to a local level. The search function shows for each council area, what land is built on, green urban, farmland, or natural, using codes drawn from the Co-ordination of Information on the Environment. A simple postcode search reveals that Denbighshire, for example, is 64% farmland and only 3% built on, while St Helens is 27% built on and only 2% ‘natural’. Liverpool is 71% built on – more than Manchester at 67%. Enter your postcode here to find out about your local area. The data has been produced by Dr Alasdair Rae from the Urban Studies & Planning Department at the University of Sheffield.