SHARK SAGA… Farewell, then, Bill Heine, the man behind the Headington Shark, possibly one of the most bonkers planning-related stories we’ve ever read. The shark in question is a 25-foot long fibreglass sculpture that sticks through the roof of 2 New High Street in the Oxford suburb, installed in 1986. What followed was a planning saga to end all planning sagas; the council tried to get rid of the shark on the grounds it was dangerous to the public, but Heine then submitted a planning application to retain it. The council refused this, so Heine made an appeal to then-Secretary of State Michael Heseltine, who said the shark could stay. The judgement, which can be read here, is something to behold. Sadly, Bill passed away on 3 April, but the house is now owned by his son and is available as an Airbnb. The council has even had a change of tune, and is due to decide whether to list the building as a heritage asset.

Pier 1 Opening 065

TAKE OFF… While it might not have been overwhelmingly well received by Place readers, Manchester Airport greeted the completion of the opening phase of its £1bn transformation programme with much fanfare. MAG wheeled out the big guns for the grand opening, with punters treated to Britain’s Got Talent alumni The NoTTwins and Loose Change Buskers, the latter of which raises money for Cancer Research around Greater Manchester. There was also an outrageous cake that would’ve made Paul Hollywood blush. The first phase of the extension features a 216m-long pier, longer than the Beetham Tower is tall, and will be followed by a full expansion of Terminal 2, due to completed by contractor Laing O’Rourke next year. Will it sort out the airport’s frankly nightmarish security queues? Only time will tell.

PILLING’S PRODUCE… Another venue to open its doors this week was Stockport’s Produce Hall, operated by restaurateur Steve Pilling. Riding the coattails of Altrincham Market and Mackie Mayor, the space certainly looks snazzy, and a few people have mentioned to THING already about the quality of the set-up and the food on offer. However, it’s not all fine and dandy: Stockport Council was criticised at the time of Pilling’s appointment for failing to support independents, particularly the team behind the popular Foodie Friday events in the town, and this could well have been justified. It turns out most of the stalls in the hall are owned and operated by Pilling, and some have even been named after existing brands. Hopefully the food can speak for itself and any more public fall-outs can be avoided.

Royal Daffodil

SETTING SAIL… Mersey Ferries’ Royal Daffodil has been rescued from the scrap yard after an intervention by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. The boat, which has been out of service since 2013 and has been laid up at Birkenhead’s Duke Street Docks ever since, will now be refurbished and re-homed at Canning Dock as a leisure attraction after being bought by Liverpool City Sights. It’s the Mayor’s latest intervention in Liverpool’s ferries, with Rotheram proving a big fan of boats, as THING’s previous coverage can attest. A procurement process for a new Mersey Ferry, launched by the Mayor, is currently under way with an announcement expected in the coming months.

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