THING OF THE WEEK
LET’S GET QUIZZICAL… Place’s Quiz of the Year, looking back at the biggest stories of 2018, has proved popular, with more than 600 of you taking part. The results, though, throw up a few interesting bits and bobs. It was a close-run thing whether Blackpool’s proposed £300m visitor attraction would be based on The Hobbit or Chariots of the Gods – the latter being the correct answer – while almost all of you knew it was Freddie Flintoff, not Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene, who was behind the Arundel Street tower in Manchester. It also appears non-league football knowledge is a little lacking with just over a third knowing it was Southport, not Stockport, that had put in plans for a new stadium last year. There were only two questions that most people got wrong: one on Chester Northgate and another on Anwyl’s controversial housing development in Roby. And it goes without saying that one member of the editorial team is disappointed that only 3.7% of quizzers thought Slayer headlined a festival in Northwich. Same time next year? Check out the 2018 Quiz of the Year here
GOLDEN GATLEY… Hats off to Gatley which has been named as Greater Manchester’s best commuter hotspot for 2019, according to estate agent Jackson-Stops. Measuring factors like house prices, cost of a train ticket, journey time, and whether commuters get a seat, the research puts the Stockport suburb in first place ahead of the likes of Altrincham, Swinton, and Stalybridge, with the latter in second place. Key to Gatley’s success is the fact that there are seats available on the train each morning, although THING assumes the trains would actually have to turn up for there to be seats on them. Nevertheless, congratulations. The research also highlights a few other interesting snippets: house prices are down 14% year-on-year in Cheshire wealth hotspot Prestbury, while Stalybridge looks like another good bet along with Gatley for the next town to get a bit of developer love – 15 minutes from central Manchester with house prices going up by 5% a year looks quite tidy.
ANSTEE’S HONOURS… More congratulations in order, too, to the North West’s New Year’s Honours recipients. Among those familiar to readers will be Sean Anstee, former leader of Trafford Council and now at Node, pictured above, who has been given an OBE for services to local government, while Christine Gaskell of the Cheshire & Warrington LEP has also received an OBE for her services to the community in Cheshire. Rewards for the regeneration community were light this year, with only four figures from the construction industry and one architect – John Pawson – making the list. Tom Bloxham might have to wait another year for his knighthood.
Lytham St Tram… Yesterday saw an outline report published by the campaign group Trams to Lytham arguing for the extension of the Blackpool Tramway to St Anne’s and Lytham via the South Fylde railway line. One of the oldest tramways in the world, the line runs from Blackpool to Fleetwood and extensions are rare; current work to run the line to North Station is the first extension seen in 90 years. While the county council has said 90% Government funding would be needed for such a scheme, the enthusiasm of the campaigners is not to be dampened; politicians across Lancashire may expect the 160-page report to appear under their noses at various points this year.
BEST BUY… The significance of the Queen’s Christmas speech has changed over the years. Preston-based EKM, which provides websites for e-commerce companies, said online sales were up by 10% compared to Christmas Day 2017, with 3pm, the time of the Queen’s speech, recorded as a peak time for online purchases. More and more retailers are seizing on the Christmas Day afternoon slump as a chance to launch their Boxing Day sales. However it’s not just those with an eye for a bargain turning to online devices; 799 dedicated Place North West readers were getting up to speed with property news on Christmas Day, with some even treating themselves to a *free* Place Daily subscription. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.