POET FACED… In the battle for regional supremacy, Merseyside must sometimes feel that nothing is safe in Manchester’s quest to claim everything for its own. Last weekend saw the centenary of the death of renowned war poet Wilfred Owen, who died fighting with the Manchester Regiment in WWI. Manchester commemorated the event by sending schoolchildren to the site of Owen’s death in France, hosting talks, and launching a book of poems by Manchester children. All very fitting, while also failing to mention Owen is arguably more the prodigal son of Birkenhead, where he spent most of his childhood. With the Liverpool-commissioned Stephenson’s Rocket recently “returning home” to Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum, is Merseyside being written out of history?
CITY-ZEN... Preston has seen an influx of investment in recent years, and large-scale regeneration is set to continue. What better time, then, to take part in a blue sky thinking, creative open forum, such as the City-zen Roadshow, coming to Preston for five days from Monday. The £22m EU-funded project is visiting 10 cities over the course of 2018, so communities, architects, tech experts and environment specialists can spitball their ideas, however ambitious or zany. It’s a drop-in event being held at various locations. To find out how you can attend, click here.
STAY AWAY… It probably comes as little surprise to some, but Brittania Hotels, operator of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool and Sasha’s in Manchester has once again been voted the worst hotel chain in the UK for the sixth year, according to Which? Travel. Apparently one quarter of all guests make complaints about either the room, food or customer service. In Liverpool, it may come as a relief that the Adelphi is forming part of the regeneration plans around the Knowledge Quarter Gateway, with potential for compulsory purchase orders by the council if landowners involved don’t fall in line. Sadly, it looks like there’s no such luck for Sasha’s. If any philanthropic developer wants to redevelop that one, then please be our guest…
FLYING HIGH… Zip line enthusiasts of the North West rejoice: the Lake District National Park has finally approved plans for a kilometre-long zip wire after seven years of planning back-and-forth. The project, by Aerial Flight, was previously refused planning in both 2011 and 2012, but finally secured approval this week after the National Park Authority’s development committee voted seven to three to allow it to go ahead. The development at Honister slate mine will run in a mountain pass between Buttermere and Borrowdale. There had been objections from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, but the zip line’s job-creating power and tourism boost – as well as the fact it runs below the skyline – won the day for the developer. An opening date is yet to be set.
VIRTUALLY GROUND BREAKING… Developer Moda and contractor BCEGI held a ground-breaking ceremony for their 34-storey The Lexington development at Liverpool Waters this Monday, with dignitaries from the council and from the Chinese Consulate present to celebrate. Perhaps more eye-catching was Moda’s VR tour of the new development, with attendees offered headsets to see what the project will look like once it completes – as well as flying through the apartments and enjoying the virtual view of Liverpool’s skyline from the rooftop. Let’s hope the finished product turns out to be as good as the virtual one.
AT YOUR SERVICED… When is co-working not co-working? Place North West broke the news today that WeWork was eyeing more Manchester sites totalling nearly 100,000 sq ft, and even the BBC has now jumped on the bandwagon with a piece this week on the latest office phenomenon. But taking a closer look – who’s actually going in these sites? Lloyds taking 100 desks at No1 Spinningfields, Moneysupermarket getting involved, KPMG taking 50-odd – these aren’t the sort of bearded, sandle-wearing, hipsterific occupiers that the marketing would have you believe. Fair play, the model is working well, the desks are being filled, and it’s expanding at a rapid rate, but have we reached a point where the crossover from co-working to serviced offices is becoming increasingly blurred? Time will tell. At any rate, the sites the operator is looking at in Manchester are bang in the middle of corporate suit-dom – and only a stone’s throw from each other, as the above map will attest. Manchester’s next SRF – the WeWork quarter?